Village Green presents a series called Spotlight, which gives you a chance to get to know your neighbors better. We ask questions. Our Spotlight personality does the rest. We continue Spotlight with a profile of First Responder Niheema Malloy, the first African-American woman to serve as a Captain in the Maplewood Police Department.
Niheema Malloy (Captain/Maplewood Police Department)
How long have you been part of the SOMA community?
SOMA or MapSO?
Definitely MapSo (It feels new and fresh, the term all the younger people use).
What do you do?
I work for the Maplewood Police Department. I am at the rank of Captain, currently in charge of Professional Standards. I supervise our Training Division and Internal Affairs Unit.
Why do you work and live here?
I grew up close to the township and have always interacted in this community. I grew up in a neighboring town in Essex County and went to Undergraduate and Graduate school in Essex County. My family has always loved frequenting events, businesses and parks in Maplewood.
Which book will you read when you have a chance to read for pleasure again?
I have found a little time lately since being quarantined, I am currently reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
If you could say one nice thing to the residents of MapSO, what would it be?
It is truly a pleasure working with this community. I appreciate all the residents over the years that have been so kind and appreciative of our service. The involvement in the neighborhood associations and community groups should be a model for other areas. All of the volunteer efforts will continue to make Maplewood a sought-after community for families and young professionals.
What can the MapSO community do to help you?
The Maplewood Police Department wants to stay in touch with the changing needs of the community. It is most beneficial to us when residents contact us directly and advise us of their concerns. We also appreciate knowing when they see the officers going above the call of duty and providing them with exceptional police service.
What is the best part about being a first responder?
The best thing about being a first responder is the adventure of every day being different. I enjoy the challenges of conflict resolution and problem solving. If I did not become a police officer, I probably would have pursued a career in social work or teaching.
Do you have all the protective gear you need? If not, what are you lacking and how can we get it to you?
Yes, due to high unforeseen demand, biological PPE was slow to arrive, but we are now stocked and have what we need. There has been a great outpouring of community support. Residents have dropped off masks that they have sewn for us, they have also donated food, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer to us as well. We are so thankful for them.
What could the folks of MapSO do better? Can we help by being better at social-distancing, wearing masks, and having more patience, or should we stop calling 911 with requests for TP?
These are difficult times like nothing we have seen in our lifetime. There was very limited training to prepare us to work under these conditions. We just ask residents to please do their part in complying with the Executive Order and keep themselves and their families safe. In turn that would limit our exposure to the virus as well.
Which curbside restaurant offers the best desserts in MapSO?
True Salvage Café at 292 Elmwood Avenue, Maplewood, makes delicious chocolate chip cookies.
What’s your favorite MapSO shop that delivers?
Smokehouse BBQ located at 1883 Springfield Avenue, Maplewood. The best beef brisket that I have ever eaten.
Is there a MapSO store or restaurant that goes above and beyond to help first responders?
It would be unfair to select just one.
What superpower would you like to have? Would you use it for good or evil?
The superpower that I would like to possess is the ability to read people’s minds. As a police officer we are trained observe people, actions do not always equal intentions, so I would love to know what people are thinking. Some things that I have seen most people would find unbelievable.
On a personal note….
Covid-19 has had a major impact on me personally. My husband is also a first responder, he works for the NJ Department of Corrections, and so as a wife, I worried about his safety and his exposure to this virus where there is limited social distancing. We have two small children, ages 2 and 10 months, and we have struggled with our child care during the initial closures before considerations were made for emergency personnel. Thankfully, it was resolved. During this quarantine, I have rediscovered my love for cooking and found time to clean out my home and find all the old treasures they I haven’t seen in years. These times have been lonely and stressful but have me more organized and thoughtful and appreciative.