SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Mayor Al Smith swore in Michael Baltazar as the SPPD's newest police officer at Tuesday's meeting of the Scotch Plains Township Council. 

Baltazar, a native of Elizabeth, graduated from Old Bridge High School and later spent six years as a police dispatcher in Old Bridge. He later served on the Helmetta Police Department, which disbanded a few months ago. 

"Everything happens for a reason, and I'm in a good place in the end," Baltazar said in his brief remarks following the swearing-in ceremony. 

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"We are very fortunate to have him," said Captain Paul Belford. "He had many accolades in Helmetta."

Before he was even officially a member of the SPPD, Baltazar helped two Scotch Plains women change a tire in the Municipal Parking Lot on Park Avenue. He also volunteered for the "dunk-a-cop" dunk tank at National Night Out on Tuesday evening in Scotch Plains. is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily paper. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and twitter @SPF_TAP. Download the free TAPinto App for iPhone or Android.