Maplewood Auxiliary Police Attracts Local Volunteers, Including Mother/Daughter Duo

by The Village Green
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Also known as reserve officers or police reserves, depending on states and jurisdictions, auxiliary police officers are “regular” people who have other careers and volunteer their time to the police department.

In order to become a member of the auxiliary, citizens must receive training, go to classes, become certified, sworn in as peace officers, provide supplement manpower, and participate in special events.

They do this all for free. None of them are paid for their service.

When I began looking into the Maplewood Auxiliary Department, it was to meet the first mother-daughter duo in the history of the Maplewood Police Department. Sergeant Kim Tortoriello and her daughter Daniele.

Kim grew up in Maplewood always wanted to be a police officer but, in 1981, after graduating from Columbia High School, her father, who was an Essex County police officer, discouraged her from following that dream. Instead, Kim went to work for the Maplewood Police Department as a records clerk and has been a member of the Auxiliary Squad for 16 years, 10 of them as sergeant.

At 25 years old, Daniele, who also grew up in Maplewood, is approaching her first anniversary with the unit. She has a BA in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Investigations. Currently, she works full-time at the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan as an administrative assistant to the attorney-in-charge of the Juvenile Rights Practice. As a child, she participated in the Maplewood future police academy for three years. She worked with the Richard Stockton University police department while in college and held internships with the NJ State Police and the Atlantic City Forensics Department, which is what she would eventually like to do full time.

“I got to go to actual crime scenes and help process real case evidence in things such as gun recovery cases, sexual assaults, missing persons, sudden infant death syndrome etc.,” Daniele said. “That was what really gave me the push to join the Aux squad. That, along with the experiences I had with the officers growing up and during the junior police academy and the fact my mom was so good at what she did and how much she loved the job! We work with some of the best people and that just makes the opportunity even more special.”

The mother daughter duo is not allowed to ride together on any calls, and mom can never be her supervisor. Currently, in the Maplewood Police Department there are seven female “regulars” and four female auxiliaries.

Formed during World War II, the auxiliaries have been offering volunteer support to the Maplewood Police Department for decades. All of the auxiliaries have full time jobs and do this because they are passionate about the work. I had the opportunity to meet with Maplewood Police Sergeant Joseph Guglielmo, the liaison for the volunteers, along with many of the Auxiliary Officers and learn more about the organization.

 All of them are volunteers and have “real” jobs as well:

  • Chief Joseph Kelly, the oldest member of the auxiliary, has been with the unit for 43 years.
  • Captain Joe Yacenda, who also works for Homeland Security, is celebrating his 25th year with the Auxiliary.
  • Sgt. John Ceglie, Electronic Systems Integrator
  • Sgt. Angela Baldassarre, Medical Assistant
  • Sgt. Dana Roberts, Security
  • Patrol Officer Fred Philpot, Branch Manager for Armored Car Company
  • Patrol Officer Shaun Chalk, Sr. VP of Finance
  • Patrol Officer Ed Meade, Assistant Principal
  • Patrol Officer Craig Goldstein, Project Manager
  • Lewis Mahaffey, Realtor
  • Benjamin Ero, United Airlines
  • George Curtis, Media Director for Macys
  • Gregory Petronzi, Psychology Intern
  • Jasmine Price, Paralegal

Presently, there are 3 officers on leave.

Some interesting facts about the Auxiliary:

  •  Their uniform is different than “the regulars.”
  • To be on auxiliary, you must live in Maplewood or within five miles of Maplewood with no auxiliary in your town (all members of the Maplewood Auxiliary currently live in Maplewood, South Orange or Milburn).
  • Volunteers must serve at least two nights per month and one Sunday. They must also attend a mandatory meeting once a month.
  • Must be on call during a state of emergency Some of them were out for 18 hours straight during Hurricane Sandy
  • Auxiliaries attend special events, (National Night Out, Harvest Fest, Halloween) and Sgt. Guglielmo told me that many of these events couldn’t take place without their service.
  • On a typical night you will find 2-4 auxiliary officers on duty. They always ride 2 officers per patrol unit. “Regular officers” ride as one
  • They can go out for all calls except domestic abuse and pursuit.
  • They all carry a weapon and must qualify twice a year to carry it. They are one of the few Essex County Auxiliaries that are allowed to carry a weapon.
  • They must have continuing First Aid, CPR and hazardous materials training
  • Shifts are Monday through Fridays 7 p.m.-12 a.m. and Weekends 8 a.m.-1 p.m..

If you are interested in becoming a member of the auxiliary, contact Chief Kelly and pick up an application and the Maplewood Police Department, 1618 Springfield Avenue, 973-762-3400. You must live in Maplewood, South Orange or Millburn. You can also find a link on the Maplewood Police Department’s website.

Click on any image below to see a slideshow of photographs of the Maplewood Auxiliary Police.

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