The Point Beach Police Department has a new lieutenant, sergeant and a legislative move that allows the promotions.
Joseph Michigan, 41, who had been a sergeant since 2006, is now a lieutenant, and Gerald Quaglia, 45, who had been a patrol officer, is now a sergeant. The two were sworn in to their new positions at the Point Beach Borough Council meeting at on Tuesday night after council voted for the promotions.
The council also adopted, on second reading, an ordinance for a new composition of the police department.
The change is that the department will now consist of up to two lieutenants, an increase beyond the one allowed in the pre-existing ordinance, up to five sergeants, or two more than was previously allowed, as well as lower-ranking officers and other staff (see attached PDF which is a copy of new ordinance).
The old and new ordinance also allows for a captain, which the department does not currently have.
Point Beach has had two lieutenants at times in the past, and has had more than three sergeants before, even though that was not in compliance with the ordinance governing the composition of the police department, because prior councils had not adjusted the ordinance to reflect promotions and staff changes that had been made, according to the police department. However, the ordinance adopted Tuesday night corrects that problem.
Michigan, a Point Borough resident, is now the department's second lieutenant, serving alongside Lt. Robert Dikun.
Michigan, who also serves as chief of the volunteer Point Beach Fire Department, was sworn in by Municipal Clerk Maryann Ellsworth as his wife of 11 years, Andrea Michigan, held the Bible, and his children, Kiera, 6, Andrew, 4 and Connor, 3, looked on.
Quaglia, a Toms River resident, was sworn in as his mother, Ruth Quaglia, held the Bible, with his father, Gerald Quaglia Sr., on the other side of him.
Michigan said in an email that he has been an employee of the police department since May 1994, first as a Class II Special Officer and he was hired full-time in September 1995.
Prior to that, he was in the United States Marine Corps in Operation Desert Shield/Storm in Saudia Arabia and Kuwait for six months.
He graduated from Pleasant Beach High School in 1989 and earned a bachelor's degree in Human Services from Thomas Edison and a master's degree in police administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Michigan said he is the first K-9 officer for the police department, having started the unit in 1999. He currently works a narcotic/patrol dog for the department.
"My first dog was K-9 Axel and my current dog is Doc," he added.
"I've been a member of Ocean Fire Company since 1987 and have served as Department Chief twice, once in 2006" in addition to serving as chief again now, he said.
Police Chief Kevin O'Hara has said he has been asking the mayor and council for about 18 months for promotions to provide more supervision and leadership of a department that is now down to 21 members. In particular, O'Hara has said, the department needed an additional lieutenant to help carry out tasks that must be done by officers with ranks of lieutenants or higher, as mandated by state law.
Also, Quaglia's promotion helps fill a void created when Sgt. Richard Otto retired at the end of December.
O'Hara noted how the two officers will continue to benefit the department in their new positions.
Regarding Michigan, O'Hara said, "He is very fair but firm. He brings a lifetime of knowledge about the community with him, he grew up here in the Beach, went to school here and has devoted over 20 years of service to the volunteer fire company.
"He is very proactive and has served the police department well in the past, as both a patrol supervisor and as our department's K9 officer." O'Hara wrote in an email. "He is committed to doing the best at all times and has over the years done a fine job. I feel he will continue to grow as a leader in his new position and will do an excellent job for the Borough."
Of Quaglia, O'Hara said, "Gerry has a unique ability to stay calm and rationalize a situation quickly and de-escalate problems efficiently. He is our department's information and technology officer and, as such, he has a lot of responsibility in maintaining our operations through technological advancements. He works very well with other officers and should do an excellent job as a patrol supervisor."
Quaglia started working for the police department as a special police officer in 1989, worked as a communications operator for a brief time and was hired as a full-time officer in 1996, said Detective Patrick Petruzziello.
Michigan will be paid $122,505 per year and Quaglia will be paid $111,369 per year, with both amounts including longevity, according to municipal staff.