MIDDLETOWN — The final meeting of 2022 for the Township Committee in Middletown saw four officers promoted to a new rank in the Middletown Township Police Department and six officers hired to join the police force.
During the meeting on Dec. 19, Mayor Tony Perry administered the oath of office to the veteran officers and to the new hires. Joining Perry were Deputy Mayor Rick Hibell, Committeeman Kevin Settembrino, Committeeman Ryan Clarke and Committeewoman Kimberly Kratz.
During the ceremony, Erica Weeks and Adam Colfer were promoted to the rank of sergeant, and John Soltysik and Stephen Keller were promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
Municipal officials said Weeks has been employed by Middletown since 2014 and had previously been promoted to the rank of detective.
Colfer has been employed by Middletown since 2005 and had been promoted to the rank of detective in 2018. Colfer is a former president of PBA Local 124.
Soltysik has been employed by Middletown since 2007 and was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2019. Soltysik served as an acting lieutenant during 2022.
Keller has been employed by Middletown for more than 23 years, according to municipal officials, and had previously been promoted to the rank of sergeant.
Following the promotion of the four veteran officers, Perry administered the oath of office to the police department’s newest officers – Chad Bacek, Anthony Bartolone, Joshua Chambers, John Foy, Dana McQuade and Thomas Stone.
Municipal officials said Bacek and Bartolone previously worked as Class I officers in Middletown. Class I officers work on a part-time basis and perform various duties as assigned by the police chief.
McQuade and Stone are former members of the Middletown Police Explorers post. The Police Explorers program gives young people who have an interest in law enforcement careers the opportunity to perform various duties in a police department.
In addition, municipal officials said Stone had previously worked as a Class I officer in Middletown.
“I want to thank Police Chief (R. Craig) Weber for his leadership and for having people who can advance to the ranks of sergeant and lieutenant, and for finding the next generation of officers who will be the department’s future leaders,” Perry said.
Clarke congratulated the four officers who were promoted that evening and said “it takes hard work and dedication” to achieve a higher rank. He welcomed the new police officers to Middletown, saying, “They are going to do very well for us. I truly believe that.”
Kratz added that “we are so fortunate to have dedicated officers who serve us.”
In other business on Dec. 19, the Township Committee members unanimously adopted an ordinance authorizing the sale of property at 37-45 Leonardville Road to the nonprofit Middletown Redevelopment Corporation.
The nonprofit organization will develop a 100% affordable housing project for veterans at that location.
According to the ordinance, on Jan. 21, 2020, municipal officials authorized the acquisition of the property on Leonardville Road for the development of a 100% affordable veterans housing project that will consist of 12 individual rental units.
On June 17, 2021, Middletown officials acquired the property and since that time have been preparing the property for the project by completing environmental remediation work, demolition and securing necessary governmental approvals.
The property is now ready for conveyance to the nonprofit Middletown Redevelopment Corporation (MRC), which is capable of financing and developing the project. The ordinance permits municipal officials to convey the necessary portion of the property to the MRC for $550,000 for the purpose of carrying out the project.
Finally, the committee members announced that Middletown has received a $28,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Highway Traffic Safety, and will amend the 2022 municipal budget to include the grant as revenue. The funds are designated as the Bayshore Driving While Intoxicated Saturation Patrol Grant.