Hopewell Township amends police department command structure; promotes officers from within


The Hopewell Township Committee has updated its command structure of the Hopewell Township Police Department.

The new command structure was created through an ordinance introduced at the June 14 Township Committee meeting.

This change was followed by promotions in the department that would support the new structure.

According to the township, the adopted ordinance includes a provision for a third lieutenant, or a new captain role, to strengthen the leadership team within the department. The township is also adding a new records administrator position to the police department, to handle the increasing number of OPRA requests and other administrative needs.

“As we reflect on the events of the past year and look to the future, we felt it was important to build out the leadership team within the Hopewell Township Police Department and to add the new records administrator position,” Mayor Julie Blake said. “This will not only help better distribute the increasing administrative tasks within the department, but will also enable more opportunities for the training and development of our more junior officers.

This new structure comes out of a thorough review of the evolving policing needs for the community by Police Director Bob Karmazin, who assumed leadership of the department last fall, according to the statement.

“This is a big step forward for our department and I want to thank and recognize Director Karmazin for leading this process,” she said.

In conjunction with the new command structure, the Township Committee announced three promotions within the police department and one promotion into the department: Acting Lt. James Rosso is being promoted to lieutenant; Acting Sgt. Joseph Maccaquano is being promoted to sergeant; Detective Lincoln Karnoff is being promoted to sergeant to fill a recent vacancy; and Jessalyn H. Waldron is being promoted to the new records administrator position. 

 “It’s great to see Lt. Rosso, and sergeants Maccaquano and Karnoff recognized for their long-term contributions to the police department and the broader Hopewell Valley community, with these promotions,” Deputy Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning said in the statement. “I also want to welcome Ms. Waldron to the department and to thank her for taking on the new records administrator position. We look forward to celebrating their accomplishment with a more formal, public recognition ceremony in the weeks ahead.”

Beyond these staffing changes, the Hopewell Township Police Department is also moving forward with new technologies that will enable them to more effectively and efficiently serve the Hopewell Valley community, according to the statement. 

This includes new, upgraded body-worn cameras that every officer will wear while on duty.  Hopewell Township police were early adopters of body-worn cameras and began utilizing the technology in 2017.  

The new cameras have enhanced visual and audio capabilities and will create a public record of officers’ interaction with community members while on duty, providing transparency and strengthening the trust between township police officers and the community they serve, according to the statement. 

The cameras were funded via a state grant of $69,292, which will enable Hopewell Township to also cover ancillary costs, including digital recordings storage, according to the statement.

Beyond the new body-worn cameras, this year’s capital budget for the police department provides for the acquisition of new hybrid SUV police vehicles. These new Ford SUVs are the first pursuit-rated hybrid police SUVs, and provide for improved power and performance, as well as significant increases in fuel efficiency. 

According to the township, on the road, the hybrid police SUVs get 50% more miles to the gallon than traditional police vehicles. But more importantly, while idle, these SUVs can power the vehicle’s electric load using their lithium-ion hybrid battery, allowing the engine to run less and significantly reducing fuel usage as well as engine hours, according to the statement.

“We are continually looking for opportunities to save money and to deliver the services our residents expect, for less,” said Kevin Kuchinski, township committeeman and finance liaison. “Motor fuel is the largest operating expense within the police department, after personnel, and these new hybrid SUVs will deliver significant savings in the short-term through lower fuel usage, as well as a significant reduction in engine hours, which should enable us to extend the service life of each police vehicle.”

In total, the new hybrid police SUVs are projected to save 1,276 gallons of fuel per year, delivering a savings of $3,828 per vehicle each year. These fuel savings translate into a reduction in carbon dioxide output of 25,560 pounds per vehicle, per year, helping protect the township’s environment, according to the statement.

“I’m grateful to Lt. William Springer and Director Karmazin for coming forward with the recommendation and rationale for these new hybrid SUVs in the 2021 capital budget,” Kuchinski said in the statement. “On behalf of the committee, I’d also like to thank and recognize Lt. Frank Tulko for his leadership on and administration of the new body-worn camera program and the department staff for their help in securing the state grant funding for these cameras.”