FLEMINGTON, NJ – Borough Police Lt. Jerry Rotella is no longer the department’s Acting Chief of Police.
Borough Council voted unanimously last night to take the “acting” qualifier out of his title.
Rotella started with the department in 1996 as a special officer. He was hired as a patrolman in 1998 and served as a squad leader in 2011-12. Rotella was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 2013.
In September, Rotella was named acting chief in the wake of George Becker’s retirement after more than a decade in that job.
Council members Kim Tilly, Marc Hain and John Gorman voted "yes" for the appointment. Brooke Liebowitz, Brian Swingle and Michelle Oberst voted “absolutely.”
Council members noted Rotella’s openness and said he brought immediate improvements to the department. One of Rotella’s first actions, Hain said, was to remove the window tint from patrol cars that conceal a patrolman from easy view.
In an interview, Rotella said he thinks it’s important for borough police officers to be seen. While some might question whether it’s safe to remove the tint, Rotella said the bad guys already “know where the officer sits.”
When the public can readily see a police officer, Rotella reasons, they can more easily recognize that the officer is a human, too – just like them. Successful policing requires both police and the public to abandon prejudices, Rotella said.
The resolution naming Rotella chief didn’t specify a salary. That will be the subject of a separate resolution, according to Mayor Phil Greiner.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to include Kim Tilly's vote, which had been omitted in error.