BERNARDS TWP., NJ -- Three recent promotions in the Bernards Township police department moved up officers into top ranks to complete reorganization in the department following three new hires, a resignation, and the retirements of two top officers earlier this year.

Moving up within the department to fill vacant positions were officers Christopher Hurst, promoted to lieutenant; Alexander McKnight, promoted to sergeant; and Corporal Christopher Baxter.

The promotions last month complete the department restructuring following the earlier retirement of Deputy Police Chief Michael Voorhees on July 1. Another veteran, Capt. Mark Leopold, retired in May, and a recently hired younger officer resigned this spring.

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The three vacancies created in the 38-member department were followed by the hiring of three rookie officers. Voorhee's departure also resulted in the elimination of the position of deputy police chief, creating room for another lieutenant in rank.

New lieutenant started as a police dispatcher in 1995

Hurst is a lifelong township resident, who joined the Bernards Township police department as a dispatcher in 1995. He became an officer in 1999. 

McKnight joined the department in 2003, and Baxter started with the township police force in 2009, according to information from Police Chief Michael Shimsky.

According to township figures, Hurst will be paid an annual salary $145,455 as lieutenant, McKnight, $125,705 as sergeant, and per the PBA contract, Corporal Baxter receives a $1,600 stipend on top of an annual base pay of $117,992.