Little did the Guttenberg Town Council know that they would find their new man in the town next door.
Michael Caliguiro, who has spent the last 26 years as a member of the West New York Police Department, working his way up to the rank of captain for the last 10 years, has been hired as the new public safety and police director of Guttenberg.
Caliguiro is currently still employed by the West New York Police Department but is on leave. He is using his accrued sick and vacation time from the West New York police before he retires.
Caliguiro took over the part-time role as Guttenberg police director Feb. 1, after receiving his appointment from the Town Council.
"Guttenberg is a good community and I really felt like I could help them out," said Caliguiro. "I heard that Guttenberg was interviewing for a new police director, so I made a call. I was fortunate enough that they selected me for the job."
Caliguiro handled a variety of duties during his career in the West New York Police Department. He served as the commander of the administrative services division and the juvenile division, and the emergency management coordinator.
The 55-year-old Caliguiro holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from St. Peter's College and a master's degree in criminal justice from New Jersey City University, where he still currently serves as an adjunct professor. Guttenberg Mayor David Delle Donna thought that hiring Caliguiro was the right move.
"We were looking for someone with municipal police experience," Delle Donna said. "We also wanted someone with administrative experience. Mike comes with both. He worked in West New York, so he's familiar with the kind of problems that may arise in Guttenberg. I don't think there's much of a change between 68th Street [where Guttenberg ends] and 67th Street [where West New York begins]."
Caliguiro is looking forward to working closely with Lt. Joel Magenheimer, the highest ranking uniformed officer in the Guttenberg Police Department.
"I never met him before I took over," Caliguiro said. "But I can tell we're going to have an excellent working relationship together. He's an excellent lieutenant and handles his job professionally. I'm coming into a very well run police department and will perhaps offer some new ideas."
Caliguiro still resides in West New York with his wife of 24 years, Annette.
"My family has been in West New York since 1909," Caliguiro said. "So if something happens in Guttenberg, I can be right there."
Magenheimer still resides in Guttenberg, so the two leaders of the police and public safety units are nearby in case of an emergency.
"I see positive steps in the department," Delle Donna said. "It's only going to get better in the coming months. We have two men who have a good rapport, who are on the same page, who are local and who are dedicated."
Delle Donna believes the town has made the right choice in a new police director, considering that they have gone through six directors in Delle Donna's seven-year term as mayor.
"I think early on, we learned a little about police directors," Delle Donna said. "We thought we knew what kind of support the police director needed. We thought we needed someone who had to concentrate on the men on a daily basis. I don't feel that way anymore. I think we needed someone now who can handle the administrative duties more. I think the members of the department want to respond to someone they can relate to. It's very obvious that Mike is strong in those areas."
Caliguiro said that he's still learning the ropes.
"The first month is always a learning process," Caliguiro said. "I'm looking at the department and seeing how it's run. I'm looking at ways to see how it can be improved. I can then also teach things I've learned and things I teach at NJCU while the officers are on the job. I think the challenge is to continue the professionalism and the ethics of the department." Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org