An information session for residents interested in joining the volunteer arm of the Manchester Police Department is set for Wednesday evening.
The Manchester Auxiliary Police Unit, a volunteer unit made up of township residents, assists officers from the police department with special events such as parades, festivals and community patrols, said Lt. Vincent Manco. The auxiliary may also be activated when emergency conditions arise in Manchester, such as during severe weather.
"While some of us join as a stepping stone to a career in law enforcement, others join simply to serve their community," Manco said in a statement. "The unit offers valuable real life experiences as well as excellent training opportunities."
Officers will hold an orientation session on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Complex courtroom. Program questions will be answered and applications will be made available to those interested, Manco said. Applications also are available at the department and online and must be returned no later than Nov. 14. Training is set to begin in January.
Those who join will be required to serve 10 hours each month, time that police consider well spent.
The most recent group of auxiliary police graduates received their badges and high praise from Manchester administrators in May after concluding their 60 hours of training — 24 hours more than is required by the state.
The auxiliary program had been in disrepair when he took over as department leader over a year ago, said Chief of Police Brian Klimakowski at the time.
"We didn't have much of a program left," Klimakowski said then. "We've had officers come and go."
The chief tasked Sgt. James Komsa with rebuilding the unit — Klimakowski said that he wanted to put together "a first class program" for the town, and the sergeant has succeeded thus far.
"He's really put together a dynamic program," Klimakowski said in May. "We're really proud of him for doing that."
This year, Klimakowski said that he hopes to double the number of auxiliary police graduates and keep the program growing.
To qualify, applicants must must the following criteria outlined by the police department:
- Be at least 18 years old (no maximum age is set, but applicants must be physically capable of performing duties)
- Possess a high school diploma or GED
- Possess a valid New Jersey drivers license with no significant DMV history
- Be of good moral character
- Have absolutely no criminal record or prior arrests (including traffic warrants)
- Be a United States Citizen
- Be a resident of Manchester Township or live within 5 miles of Manchester Township if your town does not have an Auxiliary Unit (no exceptions)
- Pass a thorough background investigation
Those selected to join the unit will received state-mandated and ongoing professional training and equipment, Manco said.
Police ask that residents with questions before the orientation date email Sgt. James Komsa rather than call the department.