The 90's - Pushing the Envelope
January 11, 1990 was the day James W. Kinard, Edward L. "Woody" Woodel and Marc Lorenc were hired. Patrick J. Owens and Harry J. Delgado were promoted to Sergeant. The new hires are to fill the slots left by Cannamella's resignation and Cardone's death. The Police Department is now back up to full force.
On January 22, 1990 two K-9 teams complete training, Officer Karpiscak and K9 Terry for narcotics detection and Officer Bevensee and his partner K9 Hennie for patrol. The Department now has two cross-trained teams.
On February 26, 1990 a motor vehicle stop on Route 1 by Patrolmen Kevin Hughes and Kevin O'Brien yielded the arrest of a motorist for possessing 32 grams of marijuana on his person. Hughes and O'Brien became suspicious of the actor and the van in which he was riding in and impounded the vehicle to the Department's Sally Port. It was there that K9 Terry gave a positive indication on the undercarriage of the Dodge Caravan, its spare tire and fenders as to the presence of narcotics or its residual odor. Hughes obtained a judicial search warrant and it was executed at the Department of Public Works. More than 77 pounds of marijuana were found in a false bottom of the vehicle as well as the left front fender and the spare tire. The largest bust in South Brunswick history. The Caravan was seized and is used for surveillance work and stakeouts. It is used for the next 10 years.
On March 22, 1990 Patrolman Mark Domino was named the first ever "Top-Gun" of the Department in a shooting competition designed to encourage officers to spend more time training with their firearms.
On March 29, 1990 Chief Frank College announces that the Department has become a member of the Law Enforcement Television Network, a national satellite television network bringing up to the minute training, news and information 24 hours a day.
In May of 1990, A.F.I.S. the Automated Fingerprint Identification System goes on-line at the New Jersey State Police Division Headquarters to assist all Police Departments in identification of people.
May 21, 1990 was the day Sharon Cramer was hired as a dispatcher.
July 26, 1990... The Department purchases a new "Low-Profile" vehicle to patrol the township's roadways. The vehicle, "952" is not equipped with the traditional light bar on the roof. Emergency lights are instead contained in small boxes on the dashboard and rear deck. The department also purchases Dodge Spirits as unmarked detective vehicles.
On September 13, 1990 The Township adds seven new officers, raising the total to 69. Hired were Leonard Hibbitts, Allen Sondej, Kenneth Drost, Christopher Giampietro, Robert Carinci, Dale Owens and Joseph Halmi.
October 4, 1990 was the day Officer Lori Sannella was fired for insubordination after failing to provide a voice sample in an internal investigation in which an inappropriate message was left on the Crime Prevention Bureau's answering machine. The "police acted properly in policing (their) own"... Central Post.
On October 25, 1990 Vice President Dan Quayle and U.S. Senator Bill Bradley commended Police Auxiliary Sgt. Richard B. Weinblatt for 15 years of volunteer public service.
December 27, 1990... Ptl. Allen Sondej is called back to duty in Operation Desert Shield as an M.P. at the Marine Corps Air Station in Buford South Carolina for staging to a possible trip to the Middle East.
The department acquires a 1980 Green Ford Fairmont from the Water Department. Officer Horinko uses the car on warrant service details.
On January 17, 1991 Captain Michael D. Paquette announces that the South Brunswick Police Officers are ready to protect the township in the event of terrorist attacks, retaliatory hate crimes, vandalism etc., in regards to the conflict in the Middle East.
January 31, 1991 was the day Ptl. Thomas Glapion was called back to military duty as a part of Operation Desert Storm. His immediate mission was within the United States as a Senior Drill Sergeant processing people back into military service at Fort Dix, N.J.
On February 5, 1991 Ptl. Chris Giampietro received a hand-delivered Western Union Telegram ordering him to report to the Picatinny Army Arsenal in Dover Delaware. He is the third officer to be called back to active duty since the Persian Gulf Crisis began. I asked him what his job was, he said “Infantry, Forward Observer". I said, "Are you serious...” He was. The force is now short-handed.
In April the department purchases a Chevy Astro van that is striped a unique way and lettered," Community policing." It was nicknamed "The Happy Van."
July 16, 1991 was the date a horrific motor vehicle accident occurred at the intersection of Rt. 1 South and New Rd. in which a tractor trailer slammed into a line of vehicles and rode up the back of a 1985 Oldsmobile killing a 14 month old girl and a 4 year old girl. The collision is ranked as one of the biggest collisions in the township in the last decade. The accident as well as others recently prompts Sgt. Mark Montagna of the Traffic Bureau to have patrols hit all the major intersections on Rt.1 at morning and evening rush hours.
October 1, 1991... D.A.R.E., Drug Abuse Resistance Education kicks off in the townships schools teaching children a variety of topics, including how to say no to peers, self-esteem, assertiveness and positive alternatives to drug use. A Community Oriented Response Patrol unit, (C.O.R.P.) is started to allow the department to better meet the specific concerns of the community without hampering normal patrol operations. “The unit is flexible and makes us more efficient. It allows us to focus on specific areas and concerns", said Chief College.
On October 12, 1991 Officer Scott Bevensee and his partner K9 Hennie competed at a United States Police Canine Association competition earning a 2nd place trophy in the overall Novice Division, a third place trophy for criminal apprehension and a 2nd place team trophy with teammates from North Brunswick, New Brunswick and Franklin Township. They garnered the coveted "PD 1" status by scoring an impressive 625 of a possible 700 points.
On October 24, 1991 "Voluntary Compliance" is the object of a Rt. 1 crackdown on motor vehicle violations. Everyday since September 9, 1991 the police have been cracking down on motorists at major Rt.1 intersections.
November 28, 1991... Patrolmen Robert Chibbaro and Hugh McNeil received the townships National Night Out Award in Trenton as the township is ranked number one in the state for National Night Out.
December 05, 1991 was the day Christopher Kasperski was hired as a dispatcher.
December 19, 1991 was the day that the Police Department hosts more than 130 township children at One Police Plaza as Santa (Ptl. Mark Hiestand) visits the building. Children received candy canes, stuffed animals and small toys donated by local businesses.
On January 9, 1992, the Police Department begins fingerprinting of all township children in grades K through 9 under a state mandated program in response to growing reports of exploited and missing children.
It was on January 23, 1992 that the 1991 crime statistics came out. They show that the crime rate had dropped off 4% in the township.
On February 6, 1992, SBPD, the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, Piscataway Police, Edison Police and Somerville Police Department participated in a joint operation arresting four people including two South Brunswick men charging them with running a marijuana processing plant cranking out more than 7,000 lbs. of the drug a year. It is the "states largest marijuana bust."
On March 19, 1992 the Police Department embarked on another pro-active effort to reach out to the community with the creation of a Police Explorer Post for young scouts, boys and girls, "to reinforce good behavior on the part of our young adults."-- Sgt. Scott Hoover.
On April 23, 1992, the South Brunswick Police Department and the Middlesex County Narcotics Task Force raid a farmhouse in neighboring Monroe Township They arrest three, seizing drugs and raw materials worth more than $170,000.00 and discover a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory. "It is believed to be the largest of its kind in New Jersey."--Detective James Stoddard.
May 7, 1992 was the day that Sgt. Scott Hoover began a "Students Helping Students" program, an interactive puppet show in which older students play with their younger counterparts on issues such as crime prevention and personal pride.
On May 21, 1992 the Police, the community and high school students team up for "Project Graduation". “We want to give our students a fun alternative to drinking and driving and other dangerous by-products of uncontrolled partying" said Sgt. Scott Hoover. After graduation, participating students boarded buses to New York City for a boat ride around Manhattan including a D.J., food, dancing and prizes.
On June 25, 1992 the thin blue line between the police and citizens is erased in South Brunswick. Chief Frank College sets three primary goals to make community-policing work more efficiently: 1. Police - community relations, 2. Traffic planning and management and the implementation of the 9-1-1 computer directed emergency number. With D.A.R.E and C.O.R.P in place, the Department now gears up for a bicycle patrol.
On July 1, 1992 Police Training Supervisor Lt. Anthony Santowasso took to the road to get a glimpse of training methods in three former eastern block countries, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Germany What he learns he shares with the department. Realistic training is his goal.
It was July 23, 1992 that the department began a new police-training program designed to give officers hands-on experience with real life crisis. Five training officers overseen by Sgt. Michael Marosy lead groups of officers through simulated calls, all of which the officer could conceivably face. "The best training we can offer police is real action," said Marosy.
On July 30, 1992 the police kick off a new program designed to fight the increase in stolen vehicles. (Through the first six months of 1992, 45 cars were reported stolen compared to 49 for all of 1991). "Combat Auto Theft" (C.A.T.) participants receive a decal for their vehicle(s) that grant police the right to stop that vehicle(s) if it is seen on the road between 0100 hrs and 0500 hrs.
October 1, 1992: In a move that can only have positive repercussions in South Brunswick, a Police Athletic League (P.A.L.) has been established within the municipality with football becoming the first sport implemented. P.A.L. is designed to prevent juvenile delinquency and was enthusiastically run by Patrolman Kevin O'Brien.
November 07, 1992 was the day Paul J. Miller was hired as a dispatcher.
On November 26, 1992 the South Brunswick Police Department begins sensitivity training in an effort to open lines of communications between police and the community they serve in efforts to tear down cultural barriers.
December 8, 1992 was a very sad for the Police Department. Patrolman Edward "Woody" Woodel died this morning at 0910 hrs as a result of an off-duty November 21, 1992 car accident. He was a well liked, young, fun guy. The loss of Woody was hard to take, but we moved on.
In February, the police seize a 1992 Ford Mustang 5.0. In 1994 it's painted by Reilly’s Collision as the D.A.R.E. car. It has a small light bar and looks very sharp. We also acquired a 1993 red Ford Tempo (labeled 964). The car was used for at least 8 years as a vehicle for the civilian evidence official.
On April 15, 1993 Chief College announces that he expects to retire sometime late this year. Captain Michael Paquette is touted as successor. College took over for Chief Frank Simmons in 1987 and was officially appointed in 1988. An early retirement incentive offer to officers may cause the loss of 12 police officers.
On April 29 1993The Princeton Packet newspaper chain conducts a survey of police salary ordinances and finds that the South Brunswick Police Officers are among the highest paid officers in Central New Jersey.
May 8, 1993 was the day 1,545 people took a written test required of prospective South Brunswick Police Officers. Chief College set the passing figure of 80% due to the unusually high number of applicants. 2,029 people had registered for the test by the April 16 deadline. The department tested applicants as a precaution against the large-scale retirement expected next year due to the early retirement incentive program passed by the state legislature.
May 16, 1993: South Brunswick Police Department and Explorer Post 166 holds its first annual "Rally against Drugs" featuring a 20 mile bike tour, a 5 kilometer road race and a 1-mile support march led by Police and Explorer graduates. A picnic and games followed all of this.
On June 21, 1993 Diana Blair was hired as a civilian dispatcher.
On July 1, 1993 Gov. Jim Florio and Attorney General Robert DelTufo visited with the South Brunswick Police Department and members of the Domestic Violence Response Team to release statistics showing a decrease in domestic violence incidents statewide. The Governor acknowledges the pioneer work being done to combat domestic violence by the South Brunswick Police Department. "Under Chief College here and the South Brunswick Community Relations Bureau, this town is really making a difference,” he said.
July 6, 1993 was the day the department hired Melissa Crawford as a civilian dispatcher.
On August 5, 1993 the police quit the new 800 MHz-radio system and returned to the old 400 MHz system due to a high number of "blind spots" or "shadows". $250,000.00 was set aside for repairs to correct the system.
September 23, 1993 was the day that the Crime Prevention Bureau began residential and commercial building security checks. The checks offered valuable tips on how to keep your home or business secure.
On October 7, 1993 SBPD and the DEA sponsor a two-week drug education school. 41 officers from 25 police agencies attend the school, which is one of six general DEA schools offered throughout the year. It is the first school sponsored by the South Brunswick Police Department.
On November 11, 1993 Captain Michael Paquette gets advanced training attending the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA. The Captain said the contacts he made with leading police officers from around the world would benefit the entire South Brunswick Police Department. The eleven-week program was "the best thing that has ever happened to me since I've been a police officer."--Capt. M. Paquette.
On December 1, 1993 Steven Kanca was hired as a civilian dispatcher.
On January 3, 1994 Capt. Michael Paquette took the oath of office as the township's new Police Chief, calling the occasion the "culmination of a life long dream." Frank College retired after more than 29 years of service.
On February 10, 1994 the township committee reveals its preliminary budget for 1994 which calls for the reduction of 12 police officers to preserve the tax rate. 12 officers will retire in 1994 and not be replaced. "The South Brunswick Police Department will still be here on December 31, 1994, but much of what we do now will not be done as of December 31." said Chief Paquette. The department will cut its Narcotics Bureau, and reduce the Traffic Bureau. All programs that have been implemented over the years would have to be abandoned. These programs are Community Relations, C.O.R.P., D.A.R.E., and the Crime Prevention Unit as well as all services and programs provided to civic groups.
On February 23, 1994 the Chief submits a proposal to the township committee to replace seven of the twelve officers retiring. "...If I get seven officers, I think I can maintain the level of service for the year," said the Chief. No programs would be cut.
March 24, 1994 was the day the township reorganizes and the Fire Prevention Bureau now falls under the supervision of the Police Department.
On April 23, 1994 Patrolmen Jeff Karpiscak and Jeff Flanders find a "missing" child alive in an inoperative freezer in the basement of a Dayton Center residence. The child was thought to have wandered away from the home. The incident caught the attention of the media and sparked the interest of the producers of the Rescue 9-1-1 television show. A short time later Rescue 9-1-1 came to South Brunswick and taped a segment recreating the incident that was broadcast nationally.
On May 19, 1994 police forces around the county face "downsizing." The police force drops to 60. "If the officers are not hired back, people won't get the service that they're used to," said 16 year veteran Chief Paquette.
On May 26, 1994 the South Brunswick Police Department joins the New Jersey Adopt-A-Highway Program. Officers remove litter along a 2-mile stretch of Rt. 130.
July 2, 1994 was the day Mary Alice Linhart was hired as a dispatcher.
On July 10, 1994 Sgt. Harry Delgado a 14 year veteran was unanimously chosen by the Board of Education to fill a vacant seat. Ptl. Michael Kushwarra unsuccessfully vied for the position.
August 11, 1994: The overall crime rate in South Brunswick fell last year by nearly 9% as violent crime rises 8% in the county, 16% in South Brunswick alone. Chief Paquette said it's too early to tell if the diminished force will cause South Brunswick’s crime rate to increase for 1994, but he's trying to prevent that from happening.
On August 25, 1994 Chief Paquette promoted three sergeants to upper ranks of the force, Sgt. Luck to Lieutenant and Sgt. R. Hutchison to Lieutenant. Sgt. M. Marosy was promoted to Captain.
On September 20, 1994 the township lifts its hiring freeze in the Police Department and the force may have one more officer in the next two weeks. Current starting salary is $32,171.00.
On September 23, 1994 the Chief promotes three patrolmen and one detective to the rank of Sergeant, Patrolmen Mark Hiestand, Kevin Hughes, Raymond Hayducka and Detective Pat O'Brien.
On October 20, 1994 The Township’s first Narcotics Officer, Sgt. Harry Delgado, creator of the Narcotics Bureau and D.A.R.E. initiator puts his police background to good use by spearheading a new committee called the "Safe Schools Committee." Its aim is to provide a safe school environment for both students and staff.
October 24, 1994 was the day Joseph DeProssimo Jr. was sworn in as the township's first- and so far only- replacement for the 15 officers retiring. He transferred from Franklin Township Police Department.
January 10, 1995: calling it a "new birth" for the Police Department, Chief Paquette oversaw the swearing in of six new officers. "Tonight we take a giant step toward replenishing the department. This is the second largest hiring we have ever had in the department at one time," said Chief Paquette before swearing in John Avalone, Peter Burdick, Frank Lombardo, Daniel Olsson, Scott Reeves and Michael Rogers. The new hires represent a 12% increase in manpower bringing the force to 60 men.
On January 12, 1995 a state arbitrator decides overwhelmingly in favor of the township to cut starting salaries nearly $10,000.00 from $32,171.00 to $22,500.00, “A ridiculous level," said a P.B.A. official. The F.O.P. may face a similar situation. The P.B.A. appealed the situation and lost.
On January 19, 1995 the police are authorized the purchase of 17 new patrol cars. 10 new "police packaged" Chevrolet Caprices under a state contract and 7 under a lease agreement with the Middlesex County Improvement Authority. The life of a patrol car is 3 years or nearly 100,000 miles. With 31 patrol cars in the fleet now 7 are completely out of service and 9 are at or near 100,000 miles. The last purchase was in 1992 for 19 vehicles.
January 27, 1995: The latest round of promotions to fill in the gaps in the command staff created by a rash of retirements in 1994 was on January 27. Sgt. Mark Montagna and Sgt. Harry Delgado became Lieutenants, and Patrolmen Jeff Flanders, Allen Sondej and Detective Mark Domino became Sergeants. This is the last phase of the restructuring.
On February 9, 1995 the police receive a $150,000.00 federal grant to help offset the cost of hiring two new police officers this year under a 1994 crime bill program known as "COPS FAST" (Community Oriented Policing Services, Funding Accelerated for Smaller Towns) signed into law last year by President Clinton. Starting salary for a patrolman is $22,500.00.
On May 3, 1995 the Police Department opened its doors to a 19-member inspection team of residents in hopes of gaining a fresh perspective as to how the department should run. It ran for a month. The team saw every aspect of the department including a closed-door session with patrol officers to hear various issues.
May 16, 1995: The Chief is "stunned" and sparks flew as the Chief blasted the Mayor and the township committee for creating a new ordinance pertaining to promotions within the Police Department without his consent. The Chief demanded to know the origin of the ordinance, which officials later confirmed was designed as a political maneuver to ensure that a black officer would be next in line for a promotion on the force which is dominated by whites. "What I saw tonight, while it didn't border on insubordination, was not right. If any other department head had ever come in to do something like this, I think they would have been bounced out on their ear. I don't think I've ever seen this type of behavior before, and I hope I never see anything like this again", said Mayor Hoffman of Chief Paquette's conduct. Township residents agreed with departmental insiders that the ordinance smacked of political maneuvering. "WHETHER IT BE BY ACCIDENT OR DESIGN, I WAS NEVER CONSULTED! IT'S NOT RIGHT! IT'S BAD BUSINESS! IF YOU WANT ME TO RUN THE DEPARTMENT, LET ME RUN THE DEPARTMENT!" said Chief Paquette. Deputy Mayor Ted Van Hessen added, "THIS COMMITTEE DOES NOT ANSWER TO ANY DEPARTMENT HEAD!" That's when it hit the fan. The Chief never got his answer.
On June 23, 1995 The K9 Unit is disbanded over a lawsuit filed against the township by the three officers who worked in the unit. The suit alleges that the township "willingly and/or knowingly" violated the Federal Fair Labor and Standards Act by failing to pay the officers for overtime work performed in relation to caring for the dogs.
August 1, 1995 was the day three new officers were sworn in, LaVaughn Dillings, Kevin Demeo and Bryan Hughes. Dillings was later terminated and Demeo resigned.
August 10, 1995: Statistics show violent crime drops 44% from 1993 figures in South Brunswick.
August 15, 1995 was the day Eugene Rickle III was sworn in as a patrol officer.
On August 30, 1995 James Ryan was sworn is a patrolman.
On August 31, 1995 the Township Committee awarded a $21,420.00 contract to Slauco Construction Company of Paterson N.J. to tear down the old police station at the corner of Kingston Lane and Ridge Rd. The old building was once the Municipal Building. Demolition was scheduled for mid-September. A new rescue squad building to be shared with Robert Wood Johnson Hospital as a "community oriented facility" is considered to occupy the lot.
On September 19, 1995 the civilian inspection team releases its 50 page written report to the Township Committee. The Chief does not release the entire report to the public.
In October of 1995 Sgt. Scott Hoover is asked by "Good Housekeeping" magazine to do a consumer information piece about alarm systems for its "Shopping Strategies" column. They picked Hoover because his Crime Prevention Unit won the states Law Enforcement Agency Award for being the outstanding crime-prevention program in New Jersey.
October 26, 1995: Vandalism in the township parks has reached an all-time high. The Recreation/Community Affairs Department in conjunction with Police Chief Michael Paquette and Township Administrator Donato Nieman take action to curb the vandalism. Part-time park rangers are supplied with police radios. "When they're patrolling the park grounds, they'll have instant communication with the Police Department," said Lt. Ronald Schmalz
On November 12, 1995 Dispatchers Diana Blair and Steven Kanca were 3 hours into their shift when a call came in from a grandfather who said his infant grandson was not breathing. Calmly they instructed the grandfather in infant CPR who relayed the information to his daughter who performed the life-saving procedure. Within 5 minutes, the baby began breathing and regained a pulse. The two dispatchers were honored and presented awards at a Township Committee meeting by Mayor Hoffman.
November 7, 1995: The "Good Housekeeping" article featuring Sgt. Scott Hoover hits the stands. It has a ripple effect. Hoover discusses and demonstrates self-defense on NBC's "New York Today" with Officer Scott Williams playing a bad guy attempting to attack Mary Cevillo.
November 21, 1995: Sgt. Scott Hoover discusses and demonstrates techniques for holiday safety on NBC's "New York Today." The show producers discuss and consider making him a regular feature on the show. Hoover also appears on CNBC.
On December 6, 1995 Kevin Krushinski was hired as a civilian dispatcher.
December 21, 1995 was the day Patrolman Eugene Rickle graduated the police academy earning the Sgt. Joseph H. Dorman Academic Award for achieving the highest academic average of his class. He is the third officer in South Brunswick Police history to receive that honor.
On December 28, 1995 the police receive $60,358.00 in federal grant money to implement several community policing programs. Captain Thompson said the community will use the money to hire two civilians to work in the Police -Community Relations Bureau freeing up the time of the two officers working in there.
January, 1996 for the start of the new year the Chief issues a Mission Statement: "The mission of the South Brunswick Police Department is to promote community, government and police partnerships; to encourage community involvement to address the causes of crime, the fear of crime and other community concerns; and to improve the quality of life in the community of South Brunswick Township."
On January 7, 1996 "The Blizzard of '96" hits dumping 30 inches of snow, Sunday through Monday. Police ride two-to-a-car and step up patrols. “At my house my car was buried, I called into work that the roads were impassable. Julie (dispatcher Weiler) put me on a list for people to be picked up in the south. She said 'We'll get to you as soon as possible.' Four hours later the 4-wheel drive SUV showed up. Angelo Zecca is driving. We got stuck three times, and then finally reached the two other guys, (McNamara and Stoddard.) At this point we headed into work and ran into a white out. Zecca had run us off the road, deep, up to the roof in drifting snow. Mac, Jim and I knocked heads in the rear seat during the crash. There was no damage, we were just buried. I opened a window and crawled out to see what occurred. Lt. Montagna decided he had better take over the wheel before something serious happened. It did. A county front-end loader pierced the roof of the Bronco attempting to push us out. It snowed inside the vehicle all the way to the station. We worked two hours and went home. I'll never forget it."...Ptl. J. Karpiscak.
January 14, 1996 was the day 22 people in two commuter vans were injured in a collision on Herrod Blvd. near Rt. 32. This prompts a Commuter Van crackdown.
On January 15, 1996 the Chief proposes to the Township Committee a new approach to recruitment, a change to the nearly 31 year old ordinance. The Chief requests a four-year college education for prospective officers and he also wants to lift the age limit, which is currently unconstitutional. Ptl. Martin Conte discussed with the Township Committee that military time served should be considered as at least two years of college experience. The Township Committee was interested in that idea and agreed to discuss it later at a workshop.
February 29, 1996: Several community-oriented programs that fell to the wayside during a rash of early retirements in 1994 were re-instated. The bike patrol, the D.A.R.E. Summer Alternative Program and the Park-and-Walk program were re-instituted.
On March 4, 1996 the Township Committee states that a two-year degree is mandatory for new hires.
On March 7, 1996 the police team up with local merchants for a crackdown on underage drinking with an aggressive new campaign. The program called S.U.D.S. (Stop Underage Drinkers) has specifically trained officers holding seminars for business owners who sell alcohol. The seminars focus on the recognition of prospective underage purchasers.
March 11, 1996: The Township Committee voted not to recognize military time as college experience. "If we exclude those who have served their country, we would be doing our department a disservice"...Ptl. Martin Conte, PBA President and four year Marine Corps Veteran.
On April 19, 1996 seven South Brunswick Police Officers and three Plainsboro Police Officers competed at Crossroads School in an exhibition wheelchair basketball game against the semi-pro wheelchair basketball team to benefit those with disabilities. Sgt. Pat O'Brien, his brother Ptl. Kevin O'Brien of South Brunswick and their brother-in-law Ptl. Rich Domotor of Plainsboro along with SBPD's Sgt. Michael Duca, Sgt. Jeff Flanders, Ptl. Hugh McNeil, Ptl. Angelo Zecca and Ptl. Ken Drost participated.
May 15, 1996: A somber day is cast over the community. Ptl. Harold Rule aka "Archie" for his cigar smoking and strong resemblance to "Archie Bunker" has passed away. He had a heart of gold and was well liked. His son Greg of our department carries the torch.
May 30, 1996: The South Brunswick Police Department may get a little larger if a feasibility study being conducted by the State Office of the Treasury finds that it is economical for it to absorb the nine-man Jamesburg Police Department. Savings and safety will decide the merger fate. Township residents were skeptical and angry over the merger proposal. "What are we now - the police of the world?"... An angry Dayton resident.
On July 29, 1996 Brian Keane was hired as a civilian dispatcher.
August 15, 1996: Current statistics show the crime rate in South Brunswick has dropped for a third straight year. The Police Department credits the drop on good community relations.
September 16, 1996 was the day Howard Furman was hired as a part-time dispatcher on the force. Furman came to us from the Jersey City EMS unit and also worked dispatching at Robert Wood Johnson Med. Central. He is employed full-time for the New Jersey State Police working out of their Princeton barracks as a telecommunications operator.
September 25, 1996: Chief Paquette says the one thing the South Brunswick Police Department sorely needed in the past was a classroom. The dream became a reality as the Police Department opened its new training center on the lower level of the municipal building to the tune of $65,000.00.
On October 10, 1996 after nearly three months of investigation, the possibility of an interlocal agreement between the Borough of Jamesburg and South Brunswick Township is essentially right back were it started. A report issued by a 10-member task force gives the merger a failing grade, citing various reasons. Police dispatching for Jamesburg is called 'feasible', but it will cost Jamesburg $400,000.00 to enter into contract.
On December 3, 1996 Richard H. Schwarz 24, and Laszlo M. Nyitrai Jr. 23, are sworn in as officers. Nyitrai graduated the 21-week police academy under the Alternate Route program. Nyitrai paid for the academy by himself, going on his own time, without pay and without the support of a department. "It takes a lot of initiative and dedication to go through the police academy and to do that on your own without having been hired is a good thing."... Capt. M. Marosy. Schwarz will attend the police academy.
On December 17, 1996 Ptl. Robert Sibert passed away. It again was a sad day. For most of his career Bob was in the Traffic Bureau. At times Bob could be seen telling it like it is or eating a slice of pizza while flagging someone over at a designated check point. Often a bag of fertilizer was in the trunk of the patrol car and large tomatoes would be seen on the front passenger seat. Bob was a good person, well liked and sorely missed.
January 2, 1997: The Chief presents a community policing philosophy that he hopes will re-capture the spirit of 1829 English Statesman, the father of modern policing, Sir Robert Peel who stated, "The police are the public and the public are the police." "We need the public as much as the public needs us," said Chief Paquette. The department will institute three programs that the Chief hopes will give the public a better understanding of how the department works. The first is a check-in program for homebound senior citizens, second is a citizens police academy and the third is a township survey in which residents can outline their major concerns then follow-up with meetings with the Chief.
On January 27, 1997 the Chief and School Superintendent make an announcement at the school board meeting instituting a Stranger Alert Program. Under the program, the police would immediately handle any reports of suspicious individuals on school grounds. In the past, individual schools handled those incidents. "We're just not very good at that kind of thing." ..School Superintendent Sam Steward.
March 01, 1997 was the day Paul Morello was hired as a dispatcher.
On March 17, 1997 The South Brunswick Police Department is among five police departments in the county to take part in a federally funded campaign to crackdown on "aggressive and / or impaired drivers."
On March 19, 1997 a massive fire destroys the building owned by Iron Mountain Inc. on Nicholas Court. The corporation is a provider of business record storage and management services. 40 area fire companies responded, the largest and longest effort made by township volunteer fire departments. With billions of paper documents and electronic records for more than 23,000 customers serving as fuel for the fire, needless to say it burned for days. Iron Mountain Inc. had fire on March 7, and March 17 at different locations on Nicholas Court. And finally the big one, on March 19. Arson is to blame. Chief Paquette stated that the department is working on leads and that "an arrest is imminent."
July 8, 1997 was the day Leon Michael LaPoint, 23 of Wall Township, Tara Fiandaca, 22 of Chesterfield and Robert J. Mazza, 30 of North Brunswick were sworn in as the department’s newest officers. Fiandaca is now the only female officer on the department.
On July 28, 1997 South Brunswick Police team up with Franklin Township Police to improve the quality of life for residents in the village of Kingston Bicycle and foot patrols, marked and unmarked cars will be used to accomplish this goal.
On September 3, 1997 the first Citizen Police Academy is under way. The 12-week academy is designed to give participating residents an inside look at policing. For those not attending, the press covers the academy with zeal.
On August 7, 1997 the annual Uniform Crime Report (an annual report compiled by the New Jersey State Police) is out. It shows that the township crime rate has grown by 10%. The police say the growth is due to an increase in the township population and the business community, which has led to the increased number of, reported burglaries, thefts and motor vehicle thefts.
August 8, 1997: A "clown" was sighted in the woods leaping out from behind trees yelling and frightening township children in Howell N.J. The word hit the press and the next day "clown" sightings occurred in South Brunswick and a rash of them followed shortly thereafter. A township child was allegedly frightened by a "clown" in the woods behind the Monmouth Junction School at 8:50pm who allegedly shouted something at the child who ran home to report the incident. The officers of the department handled all of the calls seriously and each one was unfounded. Some of the "actors" discovered by police upon their arrival: A tattooed taxi driver reporting to work and the color-coded ventilation pipes of the New Rd landfill. After a few months the calls subsided.
December 9, 1997 was the date Susan Gerdes was sworn in as police officer.
The Chevy Caprice was slowly being phased out for the Ford Crown Victoria.
On January 29, 1998 the Township Administrator is looking to set up a pistol range on local land rather than commute to Ft. Dix or renting another facility for training and qualifications. The lease on the range constructed in the rear property of Weldon Asphalt on Fresh Ponds RD in 1984 expired at the end of 1997 and was not renewed.
March 1998: The Police Department goes on-line with their own web site, www.twp.south-brunswick.nj.us/police
March 13, 1998 Det. John Klemas proposes adopting a "Straight Up" program. The program is designed for high-risk youths. The Chief approves the program and it is implemented.
April 23, 1998: The Juvenile Bureau gets a makeover. A large TV, couch, wall units adorned with children’s games and books are moved in. Two large aquariums flank them, one with fish, lizards, frogs and plants. The walls are covered in framed posters of cartoon characters and sports figures. The room was the idea of Detective Don Varga, to create a more relaxed atmosphere for children who have gone through a family crisis such as domestic violence. The makeover was funded by Pierre's Deli / Restaurant / Bakery and Pets, Pets, Pets, a pet store and hobby shop.
On May 20, 1998 Jon Maistrow was hired as a civilian dispatcher.
On June 10, 1998 Frank Schuessler former Patrolman passes away.
On July 17, 1998 Alfred B. Oschner Sr., 83 passed away. He was a South Brunswick Police Sergeant with 42 years of service.
July 17, 1998: The UCR is out, and the overall crime rate in South Brunswick is down 7%.
On August 31, 1998 the Chief proposes that five School Resource Officers (SRO's) be placed in the township schools. The SRO is a certified police officer who is permanently assigned to a school or group of schools specifically trained to perform three roles: police officer, counselor in law-related matters and a law related education teacher. The school board unanimously voted to endorse the program but did not give it final approval. If they do approve it, the Chief still has to go before the Township Committee to request moneys to hire five new officers. "This is prevention at its finest."..School board member Bryan Laurita.
September 8, 1998: Township Committee member Deborah Johnson wants to know the "bottom line" on the SRO cost to the township. She also has issues on the roles that the officers will play.
On September 15, 1998 the High School Senate voted 48-11 to ask the Township Committee not to approve Police Chief Paquette's SRO proposal. The students don't wish to feel that they are being educated in a police state. The vote was taken before the Chief had the opportunity to discuss the program with the School Senate. The Chief then met with students to discuss a way the student body could learn more about the SRO program. "I've seen both sides of this case and it can benefit us. Not everyone at the Senate meeting had a chance to see both sides."...Davelle Allende, Senior Class President. (He originally voted against the proposal.)
On September 17, 1998 Captain Michael Marosy graduated the FBI National Academy at Quantico, VA.
September 29, 1998: The Chief submits a "final draft" of the SRO program to the Township Committee. It has a $250,000 price tag. Democratic Mayoral candidate Deborah Johnson opposes the program. She says it seems unnecessary and deals with issues out of the township's jurisdiction. She says she has seen little evidence there's a need for police officers in the schools. Her Republican counterpart Warren Monroe believes the plan is pro-active and not reactionary. He would "go ahead with it."
On October 20, 1998 the Board of Education approves the SRO program only if the Township Committee approves its funding. The township reviews the police departments 1998 - 1999 budget request to see if money will be available.
December 1, 1998 was the day Steven Booke was hired as a civilian dispatcher.
December 3, 1998: It’s been one year since the "aggressive driver" campaign kicked off. So far it's a success.
The Ford Crown Victoria is still the patrol vehicle of choice.
January 15, 1999 the Chief states that officers can carry "Stinger" flashlights and collapsible PR-24 side-handled batons on their gun belts. Also, the Smith and Wesson .9MM will be phased out due to age, so the department proposes the new Glock .40 semi-auto. It goes into field evaluation.
On February 6, 1999 a family crisis room is established in headquarters as a place to comfort families who may be in trouble for a variety of reasons. The room is a short-term comfort zone equipped with couches, a large screen television, computer games, books and a plethora of toys. The room was put together by Juvenile Detective Donald Varga.
On February 11, 1999: The New Jersey Regional Community Policing Institute holds its second graduation at Felician College in Rutherford. Graduates are Sharon Zeltakalns (Police), Peggy Kelly (Police), Ptl. Joseph Charmello and Sgt. Pat Owens.
On February 14, 1999 John J. Lindner died at the Princeton Medical Center at the age of 81. He was a police officer for the township and served as chief from 1958 to 1960.
March 16, 1999 was the date Jeffrey Russo was sworn in as a police officer. He is a 29 year old Class 2 officer form Newark, N.J.
April 22, 1999: Some 200 residents attend a town meeting dealing with the April 20 killings at Columbine High School in Littleton Colorado (two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered Columbine High School on April 20 at 11:21 am Denver time shooting and setting off pipe bombs killing 12 students and one teacher before turning the guns on themselves) to voice their concerns that a similar tragedy could happen in their community. The Mayor, Deborah Johnson who has opposed the Police Chief's School Resource Officer program in the past said that the issue now needs a second look.
April 29, 1999: The Police Department and the Board of Education unveil a plan to place uniformed police officers in the schools through the end of the school year. The plan called - Operation Safe Schools - calls for two uniformed officers to be posted at the high school, one to split time between Crossroads and the Upper Elementary School and two more officers to visit the remaining schools for seven weeks. "Upon completion of the seven-week plan, they (the officers) will be returned to their normal duties." ...Lt. Ronald Schmalz. As a long term measure the police department is seeking federal funding to start a “School Resource Officer’s Program," which would permanently station four officers in the schools. This was spurred in part by the Littleton Colorado School shooting in which 15 people died. However the Chief said the department has been working seriously to address school safety for 10 years. Last fall, the department proposed that five "school resource officers" be placed in schools. The school board endorsed the program, but the Township Committee denied the departments’ request to hire new officers.
On May 3, 1999 the township agrees to help service the Jamesburg Police Department's radio and computer system at a cost of $13,200 per year. Jamesburg purchased its own dispatch system after surrounding townships declined to share theirs.
May 6, 1999 the police announce that starting May 24, 1999 the police will be joining thousands of agencies nationwide in the next wave of the - Operation ABC Mobilization - America Buckles Up Children - declaring zero tolerance for drivers with unbuckled kids. The law requires those children less than 18 months of age be restrained in a federally approved child safety seat. "... We know we need zero tolerance." ...Chief Paquette.
The township has been awarded $225,000 in federal money to hire three new full time officers according to Congressman Rush Holt. The dollars may help Chief Paquette's School Resource Officer (SRO) program become a reality. A second part is the "Cops in Schools" program and would provide $125,000 for the next three years, funding four additional officers. This comes one week after the congressman met with parents and educators at a special town meeting to discuss the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado.
The township turns to public for help with recruiting. The two-year college degree is still a must. The department is now advertising in national publications like "American Police Beat." The department also has an open call for recruits at Jobs.com and they have information including the job application at the departments own web site.
On July 2, 1999 The South Brunswick Police Department graduated its first Youth Police Academy class. 30 students were presented with certificates for the weeklong program.
On August 17, 1999 the Township Council passes a salary ordinance implementing the increases approved by a state arbitrator. The starting salary is now $27,243. The council also passed an ordinance to enter into a lease agreement with the owners of the Brunswick Hot Mix Corp. on Fresh Ponds Road to re-open the police firing range. The township had leased that property for that purpose for many years until the owners terminated the lease two years ago saying they had other uses for the land. For the last two years the Police Department have had to travel to Fort Dix to use the firing range for qualifications.
The South Brunswick Superior officers union settles (F.O.P) their contract. 1999 salaries are as follows: Corporal: $67,302, Sergeant: $70,667, Lieutenant: $77,734, Captain: $86,285...."We are satisfied with the package."...F.O.P. President Sgt. Gary Luck.
September 2, 1999: Three officers will join students when classes resume next week. The three officers, Joseph Charmello, Joe Halmi and Scott Williams are seasoned veterans. The program “will make South Brunswick a better place," said Chief Michael Paquette who proposed the SRO program last year. Williams will be placed in the high school with Halmi splitting his time between the Upper Elementary School and Crossroads. Charmello travels between the elementary schools. The original idea was to have the officers in plainclothes, but that decision was reversed after the Columbine incident.
On September 9, 1999: Maintaining the right balance between traditional policing methods and the newer philosophy of community policing has help reduce crime in South Brunswick, a drop of 9 % between 1997 and 1998.
On October 5, 1999 the township welcomed three new officers to the force. Under the federal grant of $225,000, Richard W. Hutchison, Gary W. Holsten Jr. and Richard B. Roche were sworn in as officers.
On November 10, 1999 the SRO program creates a stir as three students were charged with aggravated assault against Ptl. S. Williams, the high school resource officer who attempted to escort a student to class.
On November 16, 1999 Rep. Rush Holt was at police headquarters to discuss proposed legislation aimed at controlling gun violence. The legislation would assist police in tracing stolen guns and would help keep communities safe from senseless acts of violence.
December 9, 1999: Township residents are invited to participate in a second Police review a follow-up to the original venture undertaken in late spring of 1995.
On December 20, 1999 30-year-old township resident Kyung Ho La was shot in the hip in his residence as he threatened Sgt. Ray Hayducka and Officer Scott Williams with a sword. Mr. La had a history of mental illness and had attacked officers in the past. La died the next day. La's parents filed a 10 million-dollar lawsuit against the township and the officers involved claiming the shooting was racially biased. "The assertion of bias is preposterous."... Former Mayor of South Brunswick Vincent Delucia.
On December 29, 1999 U.S. Rep. Rush Holt announced that South Brunswick will receive $1,403 in federal grants to purchase six bulletproof vests for police officers. Hired as a dispatcher on this date was Louis S. Olcsvay.
On December 30, 1999 the township and the Police Department declare that they are Y2K ready. "We have contingency plans in place," said former police officer and now Township Information Manager Ken Kersch as they prepare for Father Time's odometer to rollover to 2000.