NEWTON, NJ—The council chamber was filled with Newton’s finest, the Town of Newton Police Department during the Monday, Town Council meeting, but they were not there to learn about tick safety in Sussex County.
Colleagues, friends, and family members of Officer Tom Tosti were present to watch as he was promoted from Detective to Sergeant.
Tosti a life-long resident of Stillwater Township and a graduate of Kittatinny Regional High School class of 1989. He attended Sussex County Community College and then transferred to East Stroudsburg University, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice. After college, Tosti was hired by the Sussex County Juvenile Detention Center, where he worked for six months before being hired by the Stillwater Township Police Department in 1997. He worked there until February of 2003, when he transferred to Newton’s department.
According to Chief Michael Richards, who read a bit about Tosti before he was sworn in by Mayor Helen LeFois, Tosti performed well and earned his assignment to the Detective Bureau in 2005. While a Detective, he completed training to become a School Resource Officer and a D.A.R.E Officer.
For the last 14 years, Officer Tosti has been the department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education or DARE and later Law Enforcement Against Drugs or LEAD officer. He has taught many students who have passed through Halsted or Merriam Avenue schools.
“His work in the schools has helped him to form and maintain many valuable relationships for the police department,” Richards said. Newton High School Principal, Jeff Waldron and Vice Principal Dr. Samantha Castro, along with former Newton High School principal Jim Tasker, were there to support and congratulate Tosti.
Tosti is also the department’s Community Relations/Crime Prevention Officer. In addition to the schools, he has worked closely with such agencies as the Center for Prevention and Counseling, even painting their C.L.E.A.R room for them, according to Richards, Project Self Sufficiency and the Division of Youth and Family Services.
“Tom has been invaluable in all our community engagement activities and I know that he honestly believes that the connections we make in our community help us to be more effective in our law enforcement duties,” Richards said.
While serving as a detective, Tosti was “always reliable and genuinely caring, and saw every case through to the end, leaving no stone left unturned,” Richards said. He was the lead detective in numerous sexual assault investigations, as well as working all kinds of major crimes from kidnapping to homicide and aggravated assaults.
According to Richards, “throughout it all, one of Tosti’s most outstanding qualities is his often-self-deprecating sense of humor.”
“I’ve many times found that a quick stop back in the Detective Bureau when Tom was working would serve as a good little pick me up in the late afternoon, as you’d always leave laughing or maybe at least just smiling and shaking your head. Humor is important in this line of work,” Richards said.
For the last few months, Tosti has been tasked with coaching the newest Patrol Officer Steve Kneidl, who is undergoing Field Training.
“It is for all these reasons that I recommend without hesitation Tom Tosti’s promotion for Sergeant and I look forward to his continued leadership and supervision of a patrol squad for many years to come,” Richards said.
After being sworn in by Mayor LeFois with his family by his side, Sgt. Tosti said a few words of thanks to the council, all those in attendance, his family, his colleagues and Richards.