LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston Police Department officially welcomed its newest member, Savino Balducci, during a special swearing-in ceremony held on Monday at the start of the Livingston Township Council meeting. 

Although Balducci has been working for the department since graduating from the Morris County Police Academy as the president of his class in November, Livingston Police Chief Gary Marshuetz felt it was important to celebrate Balducci's accomplishment by having him publicly swear to “faithfully, impartially and justly” perform all the duties of a patrol officer while his family and fiancé, Gina, stood at his side.

“We think, here in Livingston, that it’s important to have a ceremonial swearing in because it’s a chance for us to formally introduce our new hires, our new officers, to the community at large,” said Marshuetz. “Also, it’s a special night for the family and the friends of that officer, who has worked so hard to get to this point…There’s a lot of people behind [Balducci], so this is to create a special evening for them as well.

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“Also, when you become a police officer in Livingston, obviously you become part of a family within the police department itself, but also you’re part of a larger family…When you work here in Livingston, you don’t work with just the other police officers, you work with a larger family of 300 employees.”

Marshuetz also said that the department is extremely fortunate to have Balducci join the force after he emerged as the No. 2 candidate out of approximately 160 others over the last year.

“It’s not easy to become a police officer nowadays, and Livingston is a great community to be a law enforcement officer in, so obviously we can be a little selective,” the chief said. “The process is not an easy one.”

In addition to being the president of his police academy class, Balducci was also selected by his classmates to receive a merit award recognizing him as a “recruit in the highest regard,” which Marshuetz said is a “very distinguished award.” He also received the award for Top Shot in his graduating class.

Balducci was born in Boca Raton, Fla., raised in Woodland Park and played soccer for four years at DePaul Catholic High School. He joined the West Paterson Volunteer Fire Department in 2008 and attended Morris County College and Passaic County Community college, majoring in fire science technologies and criminal justice.

In 2012, Balducci joined the United States Marine Corps as a radio operator, conducting operations on deployment to multiple areas of Southeast Asia and the Middle East. He also served as a range instructor and firearms instructor.

According to Marshuetz, Balducci has been the recipient of the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal as well as two certificates of accommodation, one certificate of achievement and five certificates of appreciation.

As Marshuetz congratulated and welcomed the new officer, he also announced that the department would be saying goodbye to another member of the Livingston ranks, as Lt. Reese Riley has decided to retire after 26 years of service to the Livingston Police Department.

“I’m a little choked up because I consider him a personal friend as well,” said Marshuetz. “Reese has served Livingston well; and I remember the first day he got hired, he said he has a lot of ties in Morris County—his father is in law enforcement in Morris County and his grandfather was—but he said, ‘I want to find my town and I’m going to work hard and it’s going to be a town that I want to be part of,’ and that’s exactly what he did for the last 26 years...Reese is going to start a new chapter, but he’s always going to be part of this family.”

A second goodbye was said to former Livingston Fire Chief Charles "Charlie" Schilling, who died last week only one year after Jan. 28 was proclaimed as Charlie Schilling Day in Livingston upon his official retirement. The lifelong Livingston resident would have turned 99 years old in March and served the Livingston community for 77 of those years.

“The entire community is mourning the loss of one of our beloved retired fire chiefs, Charlie Schilling,” said Marshuetz. “I just want to say that he was definitely a great mentor to me, personally, and to many members of the Livingston Police Department as well. He truly was a selfless individual, and in my opinion, he’s one of the reason why emergency services work so closely together in Livingston, which is kind of unique because you don’t always see that in every community.”

A moment of silence was held earlier in the meeting to remember Schilling and his loved ones.

Schilling is survived by his daughter Susan Erstling and her husband Christopher; his son Chuck Schilling and his wife Sue; his grandchildren Emily and Kate Erstling, Briana Potter and her husband Jay, and Christian Schilling and his wife Jamie; his great-grandchildren Sydney, Hannah, Arlo and Rowan; his brothers Robert Schilling (and his wife Pat) and Herbert Schilling; and his sister Barbara Van Arsdale (and her husband Bill).

He also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, extended family members, friends and colleagues as he joins his late wife Marie Elizabeth Schilling; his late sisters Dorothy Rimelis and Ruth Lovenguth; and his late sister-in-law Jean Schilling (wife of Herbert).

Schilling’s full obituary can be read HERE.