ROXBURY, NJ – Goodbyes aren’t necessarily forever. Former Roxbury Police Chief Jim Simonetti tearfully bid adieu to Roxbury six months ago, but (with no Poltergeist comparison intended) he’s baaack.
The 54-year-old Warren County resident, is returning to Roxbury on Oct. 4 to become security director of Roxbury schools. He’ll be paid $70,000, said Roxbury Schools Superintendent Loretta Radulic. The school board approved Simonetti’s hiring at a recent meeting.
Radulic said Simonetti was chosen from eight applicants interviewed by a 6-member panel. “Mr. Simonetti was our unanimous choice,” she said.
Simonetti will have an office, most likely in the high school, and will be responsible for “everything security related” throughout the Roxbury school system, the superintendent said.
Simonetti said he is happy to come out of his brief retirement to tackle the new job. He’d spent three decades in law enforcement and didn’t really plan on just kicking back and relaxing.
In fact, Simonetti's initial post-retirement goal was to become sheriff of Warren County, but he narrowly lost in a 3-way race for the Republican nomination in June. “I came up just short,” he said.
Roxbury began advertising for the security director position shortly after the election. Simonetti, who said he has friends involved in school security elsewhere and knew what the job would entail, applied. “I thought it was a good fit for me,” he said. “I’d already worked on security issues with the schools … I think it’s going to be a good challenge and a great opportunity.”
Simonetti said he’s viewing the job as a “second career.” Radulic said Simonetti’s hiring couldn’t come at a more crucial time, “in light of everything that is happening these days.”
It’s yet to be decided whether Simonetti will carry a gun while on the job. Simonetti noted he’s certified by the State Police, as a retired cop, to carry a firearm.