By Ron Leir
Don’t be shocked if you see more cops with stripes riding township roads these days. It’s all part of a new grand design laid out by the Belleville Police Department brass, and executed with cooperation from the civilian authorities in charge of the purse strings.
As of Feb. 11, the Police Department had seven new sergeants added to the supervisory rolls, thanks to a change in the department’s Table of Organization which was approved by the Township Council at a special meeting held in December.
The changes were recommended to the governing body by Police Chief John Rotonda and endorsed by Mayor Ray Kimble, a former township police officer and chief.
That change cleared the way for the department to trim the numbers of upper echelon ranks, going from two deputy chiefs to one and from seven captains to five, while raising the number of first-line supervisors by going from 12 to 19 sergeants.
Because of prior retirements, no layoffs were needed to effect the reductions and seven rank-and-file cops were promoted to sergeant to fill those newly opened slots, all accomplished with a savings of $130,000, according to Deputy Police Chief Mark Minichini.
With the internal reconfiguring, the Police Department now has a 106-member force that includes 32 superior officers, Minichini said.
“We now have a better run and organized patrol division,” Minichini said, “due to increased supervision and an additional patrol car out on the streets.”
“And in the short time the new system has kicked in, we’ve been successful with it because we’ve had a supervisor available to respond to everything from bar disturbances, domestic abuse, street fights, you name it, backing up the regular cop,” he added.
“So we’re a much more efficient operation and we’re giving better service to our citizens,” he said.
The new sergeants are: Ralph Marotti, a highly decorated 24-year police veteran who has been assigned to the department’s Internal Affairs unit.
• Ken Henry, a 15-year employee and a Navy veteran of the Gulf War.
• Graham Koshnick, a 10-year officer and an Army veteran of the Gulf War.
• Albert Henry (brother of Henry), a decorated officer with a decade of police work.
• Ed Zimmerman, a 10- year employee who has served in the Detective Bureau.
• William Washington, a 10-year officer.
• John McAloon, a highly decorated 15-year veteran and Army veteran with prior service in the Detective Bureau.
The annual base salary for police sergeant is $94,700, according to Minichini.