Seaside Heights officials swore in five new full-time police officers this week, increasing the size of the force to nearly the same level as it stood before Superstorm Sandy set off a budget crisis.
The emotional swearing-in ceremony was a homecoming for many of the new officers, who either grew up in town or served the borough earlier as a special officer or lifeguard. Chief Thomas Boyd was on hand as his own son joined the department and began walking in the footsteps of his father. All of the officers were sworn in by Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.
“With what’s going on in the world today, to be a cop nowadays, it’s almost absurd,” he said, providing perhaps the first lesson to officers who will often encounter hostility in their work. “That tells you what kind of kids these are. I love ’em.”
Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz said the town has not hired any new full-time officers since 2013, and during that time period, several officers retired or otherwise moved on. The five new officers will bring the department’s full-time roster to 26 sworn officers, from 21. Before 2013, the department was staffed with 27 full-time officers.
All of the newly-minted patrolmen have worked in Seaside Heights in some capacity before, usually as a special officer to supplement the full-time force.
“With all of the great development and all of the good things coming into Seaside, these five officers will help keep us safe and on the right path,” said Council President Richard Tompkins.
“They’ve been around, they know our town, we know them, and wish them well,” said Mayor Anthony Vaz. “It’s not an easy job – in fact it’s a very difficult job. So we wish them good luck and safe health.”
The new officers are:
- Joseph Funicelli
- James T. Boyd
- Andrew Leahey
- Robert M. Wasilick
- Robert M. Sundermann