Government

New Bernards Police Chief Sworn In Along With New Recruit; Eight Officers Move Up in Rank

6fd02b199dc06ae06675_IMG_6043.JPG
New Bernards Township Police Chief Michael Shimsky is sworn in alongside his family at the April 10 Bernards Township Committee meeting. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
5b6df23f1b377f1905c6_IMG_6047.JPG
New Bernards Township Police Chief Mike Shimsky addresses a crowd full of law enforcement officials and their families after being sworn in on April 10. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
e271f0301ec16ef36af3_IMG_6049.JPG
A new patrol officer, Dominick Aboosamara, is sworn onto the Bernards Township police force, having previously served as a police dispatcher for the department. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
16e92f804072630fc3a8_IMG_6051.JPG
Lt. Michael Voorhees was promoted to become deputy police chief in Bernards Township on April 10. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
2997b89351225b159893_IMG_6054.JPG
Eight officers were promoted and sworn into their new positions at the April 10 Bernards Township Committee meeting. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
06b154ac51215a915e75_IMG_6052.JPG
Eight Bernards Township officers were promoted on April 10. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
929e5215ba40fc1dc935_IMG_6055.JPG
Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
414089d2a9e98db850ba_FullSizeRender-81.jpg
Eight Bernards police officers were surrounded by their families as sworn into higher ranks on April 10. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
6fd02b199dc06ae06675_IMG_6043.JPG

BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Vowing to "set our sights high in order to make this the absolute best police agency possible," Bernards Township's new police chief, Michael Shimsky, was officially sworn in to his position at town hall on Tuesday night in front of an overflow crowd of law enforcement officials, their families, and other first responders.

A new member of the police department was also sworn in, and eight more officers were publicly promoted at that night's Township Committee meeting.

Shimsky, a police officer in Bernards Township since 1996, has unofficially been acting as chief and leading the 38-member police department since the beginning of this year.

Sign Up for E-News

Shimsky's promotion -- and former Chief Brian Bobowicz's retirement -- opened the way for other members of the department to move up the ranks, and also for the hiring of a new patrol officer, Dominick Aboosamara, a former police dispatcher for the department. Aboosamara, hired by the Township Committee last month, was sworn in after the new chief.

"I consider it a true honor to have been chosen to be chief of our great department," Shimsky said in an email prior to the meeting. "The men and woman of our police department are truly second to none and I look forward to taking our agency to the next level with their help."

'Law enforcement faces new challenges'

Speaking at the meeting, Shimsky spoke of his gratitude to the municipality, his goals for the department, and his observations on the changing nature of what police are expected to provide to their community.

"As current events we see in the news remind us of the dangers we face in society, our paramount priority remains the safety of our citizens," Shimsky said in a speech before the Township Committee and the crowd. "The police department will be working harder than ever protecting our schools, addressing quality of life issues, protecting the township from liability, and of course fighting crime."

He added, "Every member of this department will be evaluated on their contribution to these core objectives. Rest assured the hard working dedication of every member of this department remains as strong as ever."

"Police work is an ever evolving process and we in law enforcement face new challenges every day, the likes of which we have never seen before," Shimsky continued. "Our police officers have to be smarter and more resourceful than ever in order to protect the department from liability while fulfilling our duties and responsibilities and serving the public at the highest standard, all while making sure that we go home safe at the end of every shift."

Township officials expressed their congratulations to the new officers. Mayor John Carpenter told the assembled officers, "We are grateful for your service and protection."

School safety an emphasis

Shimsky specified in his earlier email that, "Emphasis will be placed on school safety, addressing quality of life issues central to Bernards such as traffic and pedestrian safety, better training for officers to shrink the department's exposure to liability, and a focus on eradicating criminal activity from our town."

In the position of Acting Chief, Shimsky has also spoken at a Board of Education meeting, and has been working in tandem with school and municipal officials to further strengthen school security following nationwide concern after the deaths of 17 students and staff members at a Parkland, Fla. high school on Feb. 14.

While a member of the police force, Shimsky also had served as the township's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) coordinator for a decade. In that role, he helped guide the township through its response to Superstorm Sandy in 2012. "I definitely believe that my years as Emergency Management Coordinator has exposed me to facets of the interworkings of our municipal government that I might not have been able to been exposed to," he said prior to the meeting."

"I always thought a career in law enforcement would be exciting opportunity to provide a public service and offer me the ability to help people. The most rewarding has been the ability to solve people's problems and have a sense of a job well done at the end of the day. "

Shimsky already had been appointed as acting police chief in January, after Bobowicz ended his time on the job on Dec. 31. However, due to paid leave time, the former chief officially remained in that position until his retirement became effective on April 1, township officials said.

Shimsky's salary as the new police chief will be $163,000, effective April 1, according to Terri Johnson, the township's Chief Financial Officer. 

Shimsky previously had been appointed deputy chief in January 2017, in anticipation of Bobowicz's retirement following more than 30 years with the township police force.

Shimsky was the department's deputy chief, but upon his promotion, the Township Committee -- which has been following a policy of grooming and promoting from within for municipal positions -- promoted Lt. Michael Voorhees to move up into the position of the new deputy chief.

Those promoted, and their new positions, also include Captain Mark Leopold; Lt. Jon Burger; Sergeant Timothy King, Corporal Steven Matthews, Corporal Alexander McKnight, Corporal Raymond Gizienski, Corporal Robert Herndon, OEM Coordinator Christopher Hurst, and OEM Deputy Coordinator John Neiman, in their new jobs.

"The most important asset in any organization is the people, and we are no exception," Shimsky said in his speech. "We could not exist if were not for the hard working individuals that make up our agency."

One officer leaving department

During the meeting, it was also announced that one member of the force, Det. Bill Seiple, will be resigning to take a position with the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office. Seiple, a veteran who served in Iraq, had started with the department in 2006.

Afterwards, Shimsky said that the township is in the process of seeking an additional officer to replace Seiple's position as the 38th officer on the force.

Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson, a Bernards Township native, and retired Bernards Township officers and police from neighboring municipalities were also present for the meeting, which was followed by a celebration at the Liberty Corner firehouse.

Such promotions are "always a joyous occasion," Robertson said. "This one is particularly special because it's my town."

Other police chiefs and top law enforcement officials in attendance on Tuesday night included retired Bernards Township Chief Tom Kelly, John Fodor of the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office, Chief William Keane of Warren Township, Raritan Borough Chief Ray Nolte, retired Bound Brook Chief Tom White, Long Hill Township Chief Ahmed Naga, retired Bridgewater Township Chief Richard Voorhees, and Tim Fitzgerald, retired from the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office, Shimsky said.

The new officers and those being promoted were sworn in by Township Clerk Denise Szabo.

Shimsky also released bios on the new and promoted officers:

New Hire - Dominick Aboosamara
Bernards Township Police Dispatcher 2007 to 2011
Maryland Transportation Authority Police, 2012 to present
BA, Emergency Management, American Military University

Deputy Chief Mike Voorhees
Start: Feb. 1993
First school resource in Bernards
Detective
Patrol Sergeant
Lieutenant – Patrol/Admin
Accreditation Manager
BS, Law and Justice, Trenton State College
MA, Administration and Supervision, Seton Hall University

Captain Mark Leopold
Start: January 1994
Detective
Detective Sergeant
Patrol Sergeant
Lieutenant - Detective
BS, Criminal Justice, University of Scranton
MA, Administration and Supervision, Seton Hall University

Lieutenant Jon Burger
Start: November 1998
Kean College PD
Detective
Detective Sergeant
Patrol Sergeant
SWAT Team
200 Club, PBA and State Chief’s Valor Award recipient
BA, Criminal Justice, John Jay College
MA, Human Resources Training & Development, Seton Hall University

Sergeant Tim King
Start: December 2000
School resource officer
Detective
Senior Patrol Officer
USAF - 4 years active duty 
Re-activated after 9/11 served in Washington DC and Saudi Arabia

Corporal Steve Matthews 
Start: December 2002
Traffic Division
Senior Patrol Officer
DARE Officer
BA, Criminal Justice, Kean College

Corporal Alex McKnight
Start: June 2003
Previously officer in Montgomery Township
Traffic Safety Division
Senior Patrol Officer
BA, Business Administration, Bucknell University

Corporal Ray Gizienski
Start: October 2003
Previously New York Police Department
Senior Patrol Officer
BS, Health Care Administration, University of Scranton
MA, Human Resources Training & Development, Seton Hall University

Corporal Rob Herndon
Start: July 1999
Former Bernards Township Police Department dispatcher
US Immigration Officer
Detective – BTPD
Senior Patrol Officer
BS, History and Political Science, Rutgers
 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Basking Ridge

Piscataway Man Identified in Pedestrian Fatality on I-287 in Bridgewater Wednesday

June 7, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Piscataway man was identified as the tow truck operator killed when he was struck by another vehicle on I-287 in Bridgewater Wednesday afternoon, according to NJ State Police Sgt. Lawrence Peele.

Nicholas Coble, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene after he was struck by a vehicle while clearing another car from the roadway at 1:44 p.m.

According to Peele, Coble was in ...

Sleep out at Covenant House

June 18, 2018

I can enjoy the same movies over and over like it were the first time to see them.  My kids roll their eyes at this.  Well, many unimaginable things happen as you become a certain age, and you tend to learn to accept those things graciously as gift.   But I remember the movie “The Blind Side.”  Until I saw that movie, I didn’t know homeless children ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, June 19, 9:00 AM

The Wayrick Gallery, Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: NJ Audubon Photography Instructors’ ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, June 20, 9:00 AM

The Wayrick Gallery, Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: NJ Audubon Photography Instructors’ ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, June 20, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

The Masterwork Chorus Launches 19th Summer Sing ...

Arts & Entertainment

Horse Care Workshops at Lord Stirling Stable Start June 23

June 17, 2018

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable is offering Horse Care Workshop 101 for adults and youth seeking to gain experience and confidence around horses through a combination of non-riding activities and hands-on practice.

Horse Care Workshop 101 will be held at Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, NJ beginning Saturday June ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...