Edison welcomes 15 police officers, four firefighters

EDISON — A swearing-in ceremony was set for Dec. 17 to welcome 15 new police officers and four paid firefighters to the township.

“The most effective way for Edison to protect public safety is to hire the most qualified, experienced police officers and firefighters at the most reasonable cost to our taxpayers,” Mayor Thomas Lankey said. “I am confident that we have accomplished those goals.”

Since each of the new officers has completed basic police training at one of the state’s 14 police academies, Edison officials estimate the town will save more than $40,000 per officer on salaries, benefits and tuition during what is typically a 20- to 24- week training period.

“Hiring trained officers — including 13 who already work as police officers elsewhere — also means these new officers can hit the streets sooner,” Lankey said.

In addition to academy-certified police applicants, the mayor noted that Edison gives strong consideration to applicants with a dependable record of service on the township’s police auxiliary, military service and specialized skills.

Police Chief Thomas Bryan explained that of the 430 applications his department received, more than 100 were police academy graduates.

“Our officers — new and current — should remember that serving as an Edison police officer is a privilege that carries a solemn responsibility to safeguard our residents. Our mayor and council, and my command staff and I, expect them to take their duties very seriously,” Bryan said.

The 15 new officers are the first to be hired under a new, rigorous hiring procedure, and will bring the Police Department’s complement of sworn officers to 171.

The four newly hired firefighters are filling vacancies due to retirements this year, Fire Chief Brian Latham said. The Fire Department’s number of paid firefighters will remain at 134. The department also has 70 volunteer firefighters.

The new entry-level career firefighters are Patrick Doherty, Devin Russo, Phillip Simone and Glen Seaboldt.

The new police officers are Robert Bertucci, formerly with the Springfield Police Department; John Cercatore, Valerie Laspino and Ayaz Mahmood, all of the Rutgers University Police Department; Joyce Cheung, from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office; Joseph DePasquale, from the Lakehurst Police Department; Michael Haley, from the Raritan Township Police Department; Daniel Hansson, from the Bernardsville Police Department; Brian Hudick, from the Green Brook Police Department; Jermaine James, from the East Orange Police Department; Nicholas Lunetta, from the Madison Police Department; Eric Van Schaack, from the Little Silver Police Department; Joseph Wenskoski, from the Metuchen Police Department; and Matthew Mieczkowski and Kashif Salahuddin, both graduates of the Essex County Police Academy.