After the Township Council passed a new hiring ordinance late last year, the police department will conduct a competitive exam in March open to candidates who have not yet gone through a police academy. In recent years, South Brunswick Police have taken advantage of widespread police layoffs throughout the state by grabbing experienced officers from cities like Trenton and Patterson who found themselves unemployed.
Now, with the economy stronger, the department is hoping to open up the hiring process by giving an opportunity to South Brunswick residents and military veterans. The new process opens up the pool of candidates beyond already certified officers and alternate route officers, who pay to put themselves through the police academy instead of the department assuming the cost to send a recruit.
"Our number one goal is to hire the best possible applicant," said Chief Raymond Hayducka. "We get a lot of inquiries from township residents wanting to be police officers. A lot of academies in the state have closed, and the other academies can still only have a limited number of alternate route candidates per class. We will always hire the best qualified person, but we are going to have heavy recruitment in town."After widespread layoffs and attrition during the recession dwindled the number of officers in South Brunswick down to 70, the department is now back up to 77 officers, with the ultimate goal of getting up to 82 officers. The department has seen 9 retirements in recent years, while 16 new officers have been added since 2009.
Of particular importance for police was reflecting the diversity of the community with a diversified police force.
"From 2009 to the present we had the largest number of minority hires in our history, with 30 percent of our new officers being minorities," said police spokesman Lt. Jim Ryan. "We now feel we have the best of both worlds."
Demographically, South Brunswick's population is 52 percent white, 8 percent black, 36 percent Asian, and 6 percent Hispanic or Latino. The police department is comprised of 92 percent white officers, 3.9 percent black, 3.9 percent Asian and 2.6 percent Hispanic or Latino.
Beyond the diversity, the department is hoping to bring in officers who are familiar with the town through living in South Brunswick.
"Beyond just knowing the town better, officers who don't live far away are easier to recall during emergencies," Hayducka said. "If we have major snow it can take hours to get to work. Back when we had a huge storm in 2002 people physically couldn't get out of their driveways."
Hayducka added that the department hopes to opening up the hiring process will provide expanded opportunities for military veterans looking for a new career path.
The Chief said he anticipates the competition for the new jobs being highly competitive, estimating between 400 and 800 people applying for the jobs. He noted that he typically gets at least one job enquiry from throughout the state, and outside of state, on a daily basis.
"We have a great reputation and people do want to come here," he said. "Law enforcement is a desirable field. If you're the type of person who likes interacting with other people and having some excitement, our pension is still desirable and above all you get to make a difference."
To be eligible, candidates must take the written exam, have 60 college credits or four years of active military service.
The written exam is scheduled for March 10 at 6 p.m.
The department will have two open houses for applicants on Jan. 25 from 9 a.m. to noon and Feb. 19 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Anyone with questions on the process or for an application call 732-329-4000 ext. 7417. Information can also be found at www.sbpdnj.org.
• Is a citizen of the United States
• Age not less than 18 years nor more than 35 years. However, age restrictions shall not conflict with current state and federal law
• Is sound in body and of good health sufficient to satisfy the board of trustees of the police and firemen's retirement system of New Jersey as to the eligibility for membership in the retirement system
• Is able to read, write, and speak the English language well and intelligently
• Is of good moral character, and has not been convicted of any criminal offense involving moral turpitude
• A minimum of 60 college credits from an accredited college or university or a letter from an accredited college or university indicating that the applicant is expected to have 60 college credits by the end of the then current semester is required at the time of hire
• In lieu of 60 college credits, the applicant may substitute four years of active military service in any branch of the U.S. Military from which the applicant has received an honorable discharge
• Resident of the State of New Jersey
• Possession of a valid New Jersey motor vehicle license
Interested applicants are urged to submit the Written Examination Registration Form accompanied by a non-refundable check or money order in the amount of $50.00 made payable to “South Brunswick Township.” In-person returns will be accepted Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. by Police Administration only.
Location: South Brunswick Police Headquarters, 540 Ridge Road (corner of Route 522 & Kingston Lane), Monmouth Junction, NJ
Registration Deadline: March 3, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. Mailed returns must be postmarked no later than March 3, 2014. No registration forms will be accepted after the deadline.