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Manchester Police Auxiliary Holding Information Session, Wednesday Nov. 16

Volunteer department of local police seeking new membership

A volunteer force of Manchester Township’s Police Department is seeking new members, and all township residents interested in serving this auxiliary detachment are asked to attend an information session at 7 p.m. tonight, Nov. 16, in the courtroom of the municipal complex.

Sgt. James Komsa of the Manchester Police Department explained that this auxiliary unit acts as the “eyes and ears” of the local police, and that examples of their responsibilities would include routine community patrols, acting as courtroom security and re-directing traffic in case of car accidents or storms where traffic signals have been disabled.

“I want to be clear that (auxiliary officers) would not be doing anything which would put them in harm’s way. They will not be conducting traffic stops or investigations, responding to calls, writing tickets or have any enforcement power,” Komsa said.

The sergeant further stated that this is “an ideal opportunity to volunteer, and not just give back to the police department, but to the community itself by being a visible presence.”

“What makes this (auxiliary unit) different is its selectivity. There are background checks that have to be completed and a lot of training is involved,” Komsa added. “We want longevity from applicants. This unit is for those who are dedicated and who have drive, and are willing to make a long-term commitment.”

The sergeant outlined that 36 hours of instruction comprise the auxiliary unit’s training, which must be completed before an applicant is able to officially join the unit.

To qualify, applicants must meet 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 – retirees are welcome)
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Possess a valid New Jersey Driver’s License with no significant MVC history
  • Be of good moral character
  • Have absolutely no criminal record or prior arrests, (with no exceptions, 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

Although it's not necessarily a requirement, Komsa also stated that the auxiliary unit would prefer that members weren’t already a member of another emergency response unit or similar active volunteer commitment like the fire department, to avoid time and activity conflicts in a situation where their services were required.

The department requests that residents with questions before tonight’s meeting do not call police headquarters, but rather email Sgt. James Komsa.

Mac November 16, 2011 at 04:28 PM
Sounds like a worthwhile program. The only thing I don't understand is the 'no prior arrests' condition with 'no exceptions, including traffic warrants.' Throughout one's lifetime experiences can result in arrests and traffic warrants for very minor and irrelevant offenses. Many times, these arrests and traffic warrants are meaningless, incorrect or improper, or completely false resulting in not guilty or dismissed outcomes. I don't think any of these mentioned situations would be a proper condition to deny a good citizen the right or desire to serve his/her community in a responsible manner. In Brick, they just elected a dude that was busted 40 years ago for smoking pot as a teenager (like mostly everyone else did at the time.) Under these conditions for serving in Manchester, this councilman could be the liaison for the police department but not a member of the volunteer traffic direction detail. That doesn't make much sense to me. It would seem both more reasonable and more responsible to make such events subject to review rather than blindly unacceptable. However, that is something the citizens of Manchester have a right to decide on their own.
Michael Glenn November 16, 2011 at 05:01 PM
They should look for no convictions instead. No arrests includes too many variables to be used as the sole criteria. If you were young and dumb, and got swept up in a protestor arrest, then you are not eligible. Arrests could be looked at for the merits of what occurred. It is not for a sworn police position. They could say felony arrests and misdemeanor arrests will be evaluated. It is unlikely that someone with multiple felony arrests would even be interested anyway.

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