Nutley’s Maria Hamlin, a former cop, running for commissioners’ seat

We first met Maria Hamlin in 2006 when she was one of three public-information officers at the Nutley Police Department. She then worked with the since-retired Det. Lt. Steven L. Rogers and the still PIO Det. Lt. Anthony Montanari.

And while Hamlin has since retired from her role as a cop, she’s hardly retired from public life. In fact, she may be even more involved now. And, she also recently announced she will seek one of five seats on Nutley’s Board of Commissioners in May.

Here’s a little background on Hamlin.

Hamlin and her family have called Nutley home for over 20 years. She’s a retired police officer, veteran, and chief master sergeant of the United States Air Force.

Shortly after graduating high school, Maria enlisted in the United States Air Force while pursuing a law-enforcement career. In the aftermath of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, she was called to perform active duty and was deployed overseas in support of Operation Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom.

Upon her return from active duty, Maria transitioned into her role as a cop. Throughout her tenure with the Nutley PD, she took on various roles, such as patrol officer, juvenile detective, detective and assistant accreditation manager.

She says she actively sought to improve the relationship between law-enforcement officers and youth, recognizing the importance of fostering positive and trusting connections within the community. To this end, she created programs such as the Nutley Junior Police Academy and the Trunk or Treat Program. These initiatives were born from her desire to create a safe and welcoming environment for youth, empower and educate them, instill a sense of responsibility and accountability and break down barriers between civilians and law enforcement, she says.

Hamlin recalls how she demonstrated her ability to lead throughout her 26-year military career. Her roles included Aeromedical Specialist, First Sergeant and Chief Enlisted Adviser to the Commander. In this last capacity, she was pivotal in guiding and shaping the operations, readiness, training and professional development of the men and women serving our nation.

Since her retirement, Hamlin has been an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Nutley and has been the commander the past three years.

Under her leadership, the VFW has seen renewal, and she has advocated for and worked toward getting veterans the help they need after suffering from illness while serving in the military. She has also led projects to revitalize veterans’ VFW property, ensuring they have a place to call home, a space to heal and a community to belong to.

She says her commitment to fiscal responsibility led her to secure donated goods and services to accomplish most of this work.

She also notes she’s spearheaded several VFW programs and events that resonated with Nutley residents.

“My dedication to creating these inclusive and uplifting events speaks volumes about my character and passion for bringing people together,” Hamlin said. “Through my efforts, the VFW has become a welcoming and vibrant hub for the community, where people from all walks of life can come together and create lasting memories.”

In addition to her role as the commander of the Nutley VFW, Hamlin has volunteered as a youth athletic coach for 20 years and has been a volunteer and advocate for the Nutley Family Service Bureau. She is also an active member of the Nutley Irish American Association, the Nutley Chamber of Commerce and Nutley Rotary.

She and her husband, Herb, are parents of five children and four grandchildren. Their children attended Nutley Public Schools and have volunteered with various community organizations.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.