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New police officer hired in Plumsted Township

By Michael Benavides
Staff Writer

PLUMSTED – The Township Committee has appointed James R. McCaffery as a full-time patrolman in the Plumsted Township Police Department. Officials took the action during a special meeting on Jan. 24.

McCaffery will be paid $35,704 plus benefits, according to a resolution passed by the committee. He will serve a minimum of one year in a probationary period.

Police Cpl. Jason Reilly said McCaffery was previously employed by the Seaside Heights Police Department. Reilly said the department is currently staffed with 14 officers, including Police Chief Matthew Petrecca.

According to the resolution, McCaffery will replace Officer Danielle DePalma, who resigned on Dec. 21, 2016. DePalma had worked in Plumsted since 2013 and had been assigned as a school resource officer.

Mayor Jack Trotta said McCaffery “is an experienced officer, having previously worked in Seaside Heights. I am certain his experiences there will assist him in performing his duties here. I am sure he will be an asset to our police force just as all of our officers are an asset.”

In an interview on Jan. 31, Petrecca said McCaffery will not be assigned as a school resource officer. He said another officer has replaced DePalma in that role. Petrecca said McCaffery will be assigned regular patrol duties.

In a separate matter regarding the Plumsted Township School District, Petrecca said there an no plans to change a security agreement between the police department and the school district for the 2017-18 school year.

Petrecca praised Superintendent of Schools Gerald North for his efforts to assign two police officers to the district’s schools.

“In this day and age we have to help keep the children in our schools safe,” the police chief said. “We are trying to build a strong community with the students in the schools.”

During a recent discussion at a school board meeting, North said it was uncertain if the district’s security arrangement with the police department would be maintained in 2017-18.

In an interview on Feb. 1, North said that as of now the school district has  tentative plans to keep police officers in the schools. He said more definite plans will be announced after the district receives its 2017-18 state aid figure later this month.

North previously said the current agreement between the board and the township regarding police in the buildings calls for the school district to pay for two police officers to work in the schools from September through June. He said a decision regarding 2017-18 will be influenced by state aid, any changes to state policies and the needs of the district.



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