LIVINGSTON, NJ — Two new officers, two police chaplains and four auxiliary officers were sworn into the Livingston Police Department (LPD) on Monday during a swearing-in ceremony led by Acting Chief Gary Marshuetz at the Livingston Township Council meeting.
Many LPD members came to support their new brothers as they received their badges and swore to “faithfully, impartially and justly” perform all of the duties of their individual positions to the best of their ability.
“It’ always a special evening for us when we swear in new officers,” said Marshuetz. “The young men and women who choose a career in law enforcement, they work very hard to get to this point. They have to go through a written examination, a physical examination, a background check, interviews and then if they’re fortunate enough, we send them to the police academy for 22 weeks, where they get screamed and yelled at.
“A swearing in is also a reminder for us seasoned officers of how hard we worked and what a privilege it really is to work in a great township like Livingston. The officers will most likely serve 30 years working for one community, so the community really does become like a second family for you over the years.”
Those sworn in on Monday included Officers Andrew Danielsen and Jarrett Hesselbirg; Police Chaplains Rabbi Lenny Mandel and Father Francisco Mendonca; and auxiliary (volunteer) officers David Drylie, Jr., Mitchell Katz, Emeric Michoud and Parmindar Cheema.
Danielsen attended Morristown High School and received a degree in criminal justice from the University of Delaware. Hesselbirg, a Caldwell College alumnus whose brother is an officer in Roseland, was previously a science teacher at Orange High School before pursuing a career in law enforcement. Prior to the academy, he served the LPD as a dispatcher and an auxiliary officer.
Police chaplains are clergy members from all faiths who are meant to support law enforcement officers in times of crisis. In explanation of the police chaplain program, Marshuetz read the following excerpt from a letter written by Mandel.
“Chaplains are supposed to provide support and to be a comforting presence to anyone, regardless of sex, age, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, or social or economical status,” the letter states. “To do so in a secular manner, police chaplains provide spiritual support and encouragement to law enforcement officers, agency employees and their families, but also provide comfort and assistance to the community in cases of crisis.”
Mandel, the son of Holocaust survivors, went to Yeshiva University Belz School of Jewish Music. He grew up in Brooklyn, and was ordained in 2010. Before joining the priesthood, Mendonca was a teacher and the owner of a Portuguese restaurant in Newark, which he sold in 2010 to become a priest. The LPD now has five clergy members serving as police chaplains.
Marshuetz explained that auxiliary officers must either live in the community or live within five miles in a community that does not have an auxiliary program. He said that these volunteers come out whenever needed, including leaving their families in the middle of the night during large storms when wires and trees are falling all over town.
“The four that we’re swearing in tonight reside in Livingston,” said Marshuetz. “They really help us with public safety…We’re happy to have these officers.”
Drylie’s father was a police officer that served alongside Marshuetz; Katz is a businessman who raised three children in town; Cheema is in the software business and has two daughters; and Michoud served in the military in France and was a police officer for 13 years in Switzerland before becoming a U.S. citizen about a year ago, according to Marshuetz.
The township council joined Marshuetz in congratulating the eight men and wishing them the best in their new positions.