The current police force of 29 officers – from rookies to the chief – is about to take a staffing hit.
On Nov. 1, both Lt. Art Adams and Officer Susan Gilligan will no longer be on the squad. Adams is retiring after 25 years of service, while Gilligan has been forced to resign for medical reasons.
In addition, Chief Michael Bailey has reached his 25-year mark, making him eligible to retire when ready, and Sgt. Earl Barnes will be able to retire in July of 2014, according to Bailey.
Two new officers were brought through the academy and hired earlier this year, and have just recently begun operating alone during their shifts. One officer was meant to replace Peter Cecere, who was injured in the line of duty in March 2012 and forced into early retirement.
The second hire has essentially taken the place of Gilligan, who has been off the road and on medical leave for about six months, Bailey said. Gilligan has served on the force for more than a dozen years, Bailey said.
“I’m asking the committee to put through two officers in the January academy and another next summer,” Bailey said. “But that still puts us behind the eight ball.”
It takes about six months for a new hire to go through the training academy, and another three months to learn the jurisdiction and work alongside an established officer. That would make the two January hires road-ready around September of 2014, Bailey said.
The third hire being requested for an academy starting in the summer of 2014 wouldn’t be road-ready until spring of 2015, nearly nine months after the retirement of Barnes.
All these hires are dependent upon the Washington Township Committee’s decision to move forward, however. Township administrator Andrew Coppola said the governing body is scheduled to address the issue at its Oct. 21 regular meeting.