BELMAR, NJ — A standing-room-only audience yesterday witnessed the swearing-in of Tina Scott as Belmar’s first female police chief — and the only woman to currently lead a municipal police department in Monmouth County.
With son Nathan by her side, Scott took the oath of office from Mayor Mark Walsifer, bringing a resounding round of applause from several hundred people who packed the Belmar Elementary School’s auditorium for the promotion ceremony.
A 19-year veteran of the Belmar force, serving for nearly four years as captain, Scott now is among 13 other female police chiefs in New Jersey. She takes the helm of this Jersey Shore community’s 25-member police force, which also provides police services to neighboring Lake Como and adds another 80 special officers during the busy summer season.
In addition to Scott’s appointment, which was approved with advice and consent from the borough council, two other Belmar officers were promoted — Detective Michael Yee, who was elevated to sergeant, and Special Officer James Groome, who became a patrolman.
Retiring Police Chief Andrew Huisman was also presented with a special proclamation by Police Chief Scott, recognizing his 27-year career with the department.
In her first remarks as chief, Scott turned to the group of Belmar police officers who lined the back of the stage where she stood, saying, “I work with the best men and women behind me. I can’t wait to finish my career with them.”
In proclaiming February 9 as “Tina Scott Day” in Monmouth County, Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone also acknowledged that her history-making appointment in Belmar came on an important day for women in New Jersey — the 100th anniversary of the state’s ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
In addition to Arnone, other Monmouth County officials attending the ceremony were Sheriff Shaun Golden, Freeholder Deputy Director Susan Kiley, SPCA Executive Director Ross Licitra and First Assistant Prosecutor Lori Linsky. Law enforcement personnel from throughout the region, as well as former Belmar police chiefs, also joined Scott in celebrating her milestone achievement.
A three-time graduate of the Monmouth County Police Academy in Freehold, Scott got her start in law enforcement as a special officer in Belmar and then was hired full time in Lake Como in January 2001. Upon completion of the police officer's course at the academy, she returned to the Belmar police force in August 2001.
Since then, she has risen through the ranks, spending her first 10 years in the patrol division until joining the detective bureau for two years. In May 2011, she was promoted to sergeant and two years later became a lieutenant before she was elevated to captain in July 2016.
Scott also has completed courses and training in basic patrol techniques, investigative skills, narcotics investigations, drug enforcement and police management, as well as to serve as a school resource officer. She is a 2014 graduate of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police Command and Leadership Academy.
Yee graduated from the Monmouth County Police Academy, attaining Class I and II special officer status and police officer status. He joined the Belmar Police Department in 2011 as a patrolman, joining the detective bureau in 2016.
Groome was a member of the Belmar First Aid Squad before joining the borough police force upon his graduation from the Monmouth County Police Academy in 2017 as a Class II special officer. He serves as school resource officer at St. Rose Grammar School and St. Rose High School.
In the photo that concluded the promotion ceremony, Belmar Police Chief Tina Scott, Sgt. Michael Yee, left, and Police Officer James Groome are pictured, from left, with Belmar Business Administrator Edward Kirschenbaum, Council President Thomas Brennan, Mayor Mark Walsifer, and council members Patricia Wann, James McCracken and Thomas Carvelli.
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