A new officer has been hired at the Manchester Police Department, as township officials continue to bolster a force that experienced dwindling numbers in recent years.
Michael Guarino, 23, was sworn in during a Monday morning ceremony attended by Mayor Michael Fressola, Chief of Police Brian Klimakowski, fellow officers and friends and family at the Municipal Complex civic center.
"Out of 290 applicants, Michael Guarino finished near the top of the list and after having successfully completed a thorough and extensive background investigation process he was offered the position," Capt. Lisa Parker said in a statement announcing the addition to the force.
In late January, Klimakowski said the bulk of a department restructuring plan that began when he was sworn in as chief in February 2011 had been completed. A restructured pay scale has helped the department grow from 61 officers in 2011 to 66 currently, even with retirements.
Guarino lives in Manahawkin and graduated Bergen County Community College in 2010 with an associate's degree in Applied Science. He graduated the Ocean County Police Academy in 2011 and has a Special Law Enforcement Officer Class II certification from the New Jersey Police Training Commission, Parker said.
Guarino will begin the Manchester Police Department's 12-week field officer training program for new hires, during which time Parker said he will "ride with experienced veteran police officers with specialized training."
"During this time he will be trained and oriented to the township and how police operations are conducted," the captain said.