RARITAN TWP., NJ – Many people know township Police Captain Benedict Donaruma for his helpfulness, warm smile and firm handshake.

But as his retirement after 25 years of service was announced by Township Committee yesterday, it turns out that Mayor Jeff Kuhl knows him better than many.

To the Mayor, Donaruma is “Benny.”

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To Kuhl, Donaruma isn’t just a cop. And although the two worked together when both were on the township’s Planning Board, they have a shared past that goes back to when Kuhl’s family owned the old Flemington Speedway, which was located at the former site of the Flemington Fair on Route 31, where Walmart and Lowe’s are now.

At the Speedway, Donaruma raced cars. The number of his car – 35 – matched the number of his Raritan Township Police badge.

Donaruma, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and a Master of Arts degree in Occupational Safety and Health, started with the township police in 1995 after two years of work with the county Prosecutor’s Office. Since then, he has been assigned to the department’s Patrol Division and the Detective Bureau.

Donaruma was promoted to Sergeant in 2016, advanced to Lieutenant in 2017, and was named a Captain this year.

Kuhl said Donaruma earned “respect and admiration from everyone.”

Donaruma told Township Committee he’d enjoyed a “phenomenal career” working with the Police Department’s staff.

And he made a promise.

“I’ll be here,” the Captain said. “I’m not going to be far.”