Stephanie Campbell has just began training at the Police Academy this week, and is expected to graduate in the Summer, the Chief says.
The officer will be joining approximately 20 other officers recently hired by the Department.
The recent surge in hiring, says the Chief, comes after a heavy retiring year, when many senior and experienced officers left after their 25-year career due to pension cuts.
In 2009, the Police Department had approximately 133 police officers. That number dropped to about 110 over the last two years when the senior officers retired. With the new hires, the police department was brought up to about 125.
The new hire “got us out of the red zone and critical level,” says Police Chief Rob Lawson. “It (the retiring) put a big drain on the department in terms of experience and knowledge.”
The Chief says the department was operating at critically-low levels, especially in comparison to the neighboring towns.
Toms River has approximately 160 police officers, and Brick also has more officers, despite a lower population, the Chief says.
“I’m grateful to the Township Committee,” the Chief said.
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