Two New Cop Hires Approved for 2013

Officers will be replacements for retired officers.

The loss of an officer due to early retirement, coupled with the Washington Township Police Department’s chief retiring in June 2013 has led the Washington Township Committee to authorize the hiring of two new patrolmen.

In September, the committee gave police Chief Michael Bailey the go-ahead to hire one new officer, replacing officer Peter Cecere who was injured in the line of duty in March and forced into early retirement.

At that time, Bailey requested the approval to hire two officers, but was granted only one.

In the time since, the process of interviewing potential officers has begun, but it would be another few months before a patrolman is ready to operate alone on Washington Township roadways, Bailey said.

The next course of training at the Morris County Police Academy begins Jan. 14, 2013, Bailey said. Once that is complete, the hired officer would then have to travel the roads with an experienced officer for three months before going solo.

The hires won’t be in addition to the force, which now has 27 active duty members, rather to serve as replacements for Cecere and Bailey.

Bailey said he’s spent vacation time this year working over time for road projects because the force didn’t have the manpower to farm out to contractors.

“Overtime has been more than expected (because of lack of manpower),” Bailey said.

Washington Township Mayor Ken Short agreed with Bailey, saying the pace of overtime use could at some point outpace the cost of two new officers.

Waiting another budget cycle to make the hire could be detrimental, according to one committeeman.

“Waiting another year would set us back,” Committeeman David Kennedy said. “We’re trying to cover 45 square miles plus Califon. We need the new officers.”

The committee decided to commit to two new hires for next year’s budget and authorized the move. 

Chuck Ruff December 20, 2012 at 12:57 AM
So what is the basis for your statement that 27 officers is understaffed? Because we used to have 35 officers, so that has to be the right amount??? If the growth rate in the township is slowing to the point where we are discussing eliminating a school, then wouldn't that indicate that a reduction in the police force might also be appropriate?
Nolan December 20, 2012 at 03:41 AM
In 1942 the police department had 19 men at a time when livestock outnumbered people. Sixty years later there are 27 policemen and women, no DARE Program, no Crime Prevention, no PRIDE unit. I wasn't aware an exit of families, or a drop in the burglary rate in the last ten years. Four administrators, three detectives and twenty people in patrol. With time off, sick time, no OT paid out for coverage, trials, mandatory training, training and surprise events I'm sure it's difficult to provide minimum staffing. If your not interested in effective policing and don't care if your crime is solved, can the whole department and ask the State Police to cover. Ultimately, you get what you pay for.
Kenny Fisher December 20, 2012 at 09:11 PM
^^^^^Well said^^^^^^
12345678 December 21, 2012 at 03:37 AM
The DARE program didn't work based on what I read every day in the Patch and the Daily Record.
Abraham Clark January 02, 2013 at 05:51 AM
Everyone knows there needs to be 5 cops for every deer or snapping turtle in Long Valley!! And another to go to Dunkin Donuts in the $55,000 Ford Expedition. This level of police pressence is not needed in our community. Lower the pay to an hourly wage. Drive a free car, with free gas and you get to retire after 20 years. People would do this job for 10 bucks an hour especially in this economy. The fear monger Bush era is over. We are tired of being lied to as citizens and being prayed upon for tickets. Hiding in bushes at the base of every hill is not what we need. The Dare program was a complete failure, a failed public relations campaign to justify their salaries. Why was the public lied to when there was a gunman in the fields, "a missing person" ? I think not! Make residency requirments for all new police hired. And teach responsibile enforcing. I remember when there was a shootout in Hackettstown and the Long Valley cops were too afraid to send backup when all the other surrounding towns did. Why do we have a mercenary police force? Other towns have a few cops and they patrol thier own town. I have a suspicion that federal money paid for the extra cops we had during the Bush years because the National Guard was sent overseas. Having this many police is unsustainable and costs the town too much money.


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