SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The South Orange Village Board of Trustees praised local rescue squad volunteers and inducted two officers to the police force at their meeting on Monday, Jan. 9.

The first new officer to be sworn into the South Orange Police Department was Frank Auriemma, who is an alum of Nutley High School and Montclair State College. He was followed by fellow newcomer Matthew Dsurney, who graduated from Livingston High School and Rutgers State University. Both men were joined on stage by friends and family as they took the oath of office in front of a large audience.

“South Orange is dedicated to celebrating our police force and its commitment to excellence,” said South Orange Village President Sheena Collum. “We are confident you will make our community proud.”

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Two Proclamations of Appreciation were given to longtime South Orange Rescue Squad (SORS) members in recognition of their tireless service to the community. Melanie V. Troncone, a volunteer of 7 years, broke into tears of gratitude when accepting her award on stage. The Trustees also honored Dan Cohen, a 21-year veteran of the SORS, who has responded to over 5,000 emergency calls, according to Collum.

“Your hard work paid off, since the department now has a full staff and a brand new headquarters on Sloan Street,” said Sheena Collum. “I’m personally proud to work with you as part of the South Orange extended family.”

Police Chief David Kroll also offered his sincere thanks to both honorees. “Your department provides an invaluable service to every member of the community, and our police force is greatly benefited by your cooperation.”

A presentation on the Grotta Fund Grant, which benefits the SOMA Age-Friendly Initiative, detailed how South Orange plans to provide necessary services to older residents. “A study conducted on local residents showed a growing elderly population of 2% annually,” said Naomi Savitz. “Most residents want to age in place, but our cities are unequipped to handle a growing elderly population.” The intent is to offer more recreational areas and activities tailored to the elderly throughout 2017.

Other notable topics from the meeting included:

  • A temporary ice skating rink has been created in the Meadowland Park tennis courts across from the Baird Center. The area is only accessible for South Orange Recreation Department I.D. holders and guests. Hours run from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weeknights, noon to 9 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays (weather permitting).
  • The Board of Trustees recognized January 11, 201, as Human Trafficking Day, which was cited as an international crime which penetrates even New Jersey’s borders.
  • NJ American Water replaced East Orange Water as the South Orange Village water supplier as of January 1, 2017. (More information here.)
  • The topic of South Orange as a sanctuary city for refugees was discussed, but no definitive action was made.