Edison to hire six new police officers

Staff Writer

EDISON — Come July, the Edison Police Department will have six new police officers.

Township officials are currently arranging an advertisement to recruit candidates for the positions. Business Administrator Maureen Ruane said the salaries and wages for the six new officers are included in the 2013 municipal budget.

The township usually advertises through a daily newspaper and the state League of Municipalities, she said.

“It will also be posted on the township website,” she said at the June 10 Township Council meeting.

Ruane and Police Chief Thomas Bryan also said the township has in-house applications that the police department has received over the past couple of years.

The chief said applicants must be police training-certified.

“This way, we can get them on the street right away, rather than waiting for them to be trained four to five months,” he said.

Councilman Sudhanshu Prasad asked the chief what the hiring process would entail.

Bryan said that along with background checks, applicants would appear before an oral board, which is composed of himself, some command staff and members of the township administration.

For the last hiring cycle, the panel consisted of eight members — six members of the police command staff, along with William Stephens, who is the township’s management specialist, and Richard Laird, who was public safety director at the time, according to Bryan.

Bryan said the final decision about the hiring of the new police officers lies with the director of public safety, Mayor Antonia Ricigliano.

The topic of manpower has been discussed at length over the past year.

The department currently has 168 police officers. Eight years ago, it had a maximum of 215 officers. Bryan said that since 2010, 27 officers retired from the force and seven officers were hired. This year, 34 officers are eligible to retire.

The Township Council also worked on the police-hiring ordinance. Last September, the council passed an amendment to an ordinance addressing the entry-level criteria for new police officers.

The amendment added two more options for potential applicants: He or she must have completed four years on the Edison Auxiliary Police Force and be in good standing, or be certified by the New Jersey Police Training Commission and have been a police officer for a period of six months.

A person interested in becoming a police officer must be a high school graduate or equivalent, and possess a minimum of 60 credits from an accredited college or university, or have completed two years of active military service with an honorable discharge.

Councilman Thomas Lankey has said the amended ordinance welcomes the many hundreds of police officers who in recent years were laid off in other towns across the state, as well as people who have served in the military.

Last year, the township came up with various ways to handle reduced manpower. These included the implementation in September of the Coplogic system, an online police reporting system for residents. The Coplogic software allows people to complete police reports on the Internet without a police officer responding to the residence or business.

There also has been discussion of implementing a substation on property along New Dover Road, adjacent to the James Madison primary and intermediate schools. Officials said the substation would be a place where people on the north side of town could fill out a police report or meet a patrolman, rather than going to police headquarters, which is located in the south side of town.

The Public Safety Committee has been reviewing the idea of a substation.