BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater Township’s police chief may no longer have to live within 25 miles of the municipality, according to a proposed new ordinance if it is ratified by the Bridgewater Township Council later this month.
The ordinance was introduced at the council’s Nov. 7 meeting, as requested by council president Matthew Moench. It would eliminate the current requirement that the police chief reside within a 25-mile radius of the township’s police headquarters, on Commons Way.
“It doesn’t set a hard rule,” said Moench, “in selecting a chief.”
Theoretically, the council could therefore no longer discard future candidates for the police chief job if they live more than 25 miles away from Bridgewater. Moench said he didn’t want to eliminate potential candidates due to mileage.
Councilman Allen Kurdyla asked if the new ordinance was setting a maximum.
“My concern is response time,” he added, including the paying of highway tolls and the like.
Moench replied that township-issued vehicles and tolls couldn’t be considered. He also said that the police department employs two captains, and that there are no restrictions on the captains, who rotate every third week with the chief as the on-call senior police officer.
Police chief Al Nicaretta was not present at the council meeting.
The ordinance was introduced by a unanimous vote of the five council members. The public hearing on the ordinance will be held Nov. 25.
Also regarding the police department, the council unanimously approved a resolution for an agreement with the Bridgewater-Raritan board of education to authorize the placement of a second school resource officer at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. The total cost of the officer will be paid by the school board, although the officer who will fulfill the role will actually be selected by the police chief.
Kurdyla said that potential pushback from the school board would be that a senior officer might cost more. Moench said the board would pay for what it got, and if that turned out to be a sergeant with 24 years on the force, then that was who it would be.
Moench also said that the potential for overpaying an officer wouldn’t happen now.
“They’ll pay for the person who’s there,” said Kurdyla.
The agreement will be for one year, and Moench said it will take the school district and township through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.