The Guttenberg Police Department hired six new officers, including their first Class III officer for the Ana L. Klein Elementary School, and promoted two as part of yesterday’s town council meeting.
Joseph Holmes, Camille Calupad, and Brandon Sauerwald were hired as probationary police officers, with Amy Escalante and Kevin Ortiz brought on as Class I special officers.
Jose Mojica will oversee school security as a Class III officer, with Sgt. Frank Pelaez named lieutenant and Police Officer Aleksander Ramadanovic promoted to sergeant. Valerie Manzano was also reappointed as a Class I special officer.
“So this is the first time we’re hiring a Class III special, which is a good thing because instead of a regular police officer getting paid an enormous amount of money, or a lot of money, we have a retired police officer that’s trained and can do just as good a job,” noted Guttenberg Public Safety Director Robert White.
“We’d rather spend the money on other things, but it’s important: the school is important.”
White also thanked the mayor and council for their continued support, as well as the officers and their families for adapting to life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two officers have long-term COVID and could go out on medical disability, along with some retirements and transfers to other departments.
“The way I look at it, change is good, change is definitely good, because it means that we’re progressing and we’re growing. We’re moving forward and improving,” he concluded.
Guttenberg Mayor Wayne Zitt commended the officers of the “great department,” noting that “it’s small but it’s busy,” stating that the men and women they interviewed will be a “tremendous addition.”
“School, safety, our town’s safety: everything is a priority to us here. As the director said, whatever they need, you get: you know that already … So continue, please keep growing, do great things out there, be professional, be respectful, be courteous and continue to make us proud because you’re the face of this town.”
The police swearing and promotions ceremonies took about 20 minutes, the bulk of the council meeting, at the Gerald R. Drasheff Community Center yesterday afternoon.