Middletown welcomed a new police officer to its ranks during the township’s annual reorganization meeting last week.
The department swore in Patrolman Jason Andrews, the first of what Chief of Police Robert Oches said will be many in the upcoming year as officers continue to retire.
“We were quite lucky to get Jason when we did,” Oches said in public remarks. “We’ve had some retirements and we’re going to have a number of retirements, unfortunately. Today’s swearing in is going to repeat itself several times this year and Jason is the first recruit this year for the new year.”
Andrews, who grew up in Atlantic Highlands and now lives in Middletown, worked for the Richard Stockton College police force before coming to his new position through an intergovernmental transfer program.
The new recruit was sworn in by Mayor Stephanie Murray during the annual meeting where scores of officials and volunteers took their oaths for the new year.
“He’s going to start his 25-year career here today,” Oches said.
The chief thanked the governing body and Business Administrator Anthony Mercantante for their support as the department looks to keep its ranks properly staffed in 2014.
Oches later told Patch that between seven and 12 officers could be retiring this year, but officials "will know more as the year progresses." The department—Monmouth County's largest—has an authorized force of 104 officers and currently 103 serve.
“As the chief of police, I can tell you how supportive they’ve been of the police department,” Oches said. “We have a game plan set for this year for all the people who are going to come up for retirement.”