MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — Police officers and other township employees were front-and-center for the Township Committee meeting Sept. 4, which saw officers honored for their work over the summer and a new member joining the department.
The committee recognized officers and civilians for work on this year’s police summer camp, which includes physical education programs and more. The camp is free to participants.
“We had a very successful camp this year. A lot of people were involved to make that happen for 75 kids in Middle Township. It was a week that they’ll always remember. It takes a year to put that camp together,” said Mayor Tim Donohue at the meeting. “Every year it gets better and better. We got a ton of support from the business community. We had several large donations that we received this year.
Committee members praised the work of officers, township employees and volunteers on the camp.
The officers were honored with the township’s Employee of the Month award for August, while the volunteers received a Middle Matters award, which is presented to residents and volunteers whose efforts improve things in Middle Township.
At the meeting, the governing body combined two awards, which made for a considerable line at the front of the meeting room. Sgt. Mark Higginbottom was first up, drawing a laugh as he grinned widely while holding his award in front of him. Several other officers made the same gesture in what became a running joke for those being honored.
Several officers were honored at the meeting, including Higginbottom, Sgt. Tracey Super, Sgt. Jen Delanzo, Sgt. Josh Bryan, Cpl. James D’Alonzo, Cpl. Gino Castellano, Cpl. Phil Johnson, Cpl. Norton, Patrolman 1st Class Julio Ruiz and Patrolman Martin Lindholm.
Other employees to be recognized were Christina Lillemon, Varvara Keun and Nancy Sittinieri, according to a list released by the township, along with Danielle Mitchell of the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office.
Volunteers from the organization Cape Assist, Temerity Berry, Heather Saul and Jessica Mounce, along with youth volunteers Kamryn Super and McKenna Super also received recognition.
At the same meeting, the township swore in the latest addition to the Police Department, Jenna Cuomo of Ocean City. She began her career as a class III summer officer in Middle Township, later accepting a job in Ocean City.
Chief Christopher Leusner praised Cuomo, saying she did an outstanding job.
“We were sorry to lose her to Ocean City Police Department where she was hired as a full-time officer,” Leusner said. She applied for an intergovernmental transfer, Leusner said, adding that Middle jumped at the opportunity to hire her full time. “I know Chief (Jay) Prettyman is not happy in Ocean City, but we are very happy to have Jenna join our department here. I know she’s going to do a terrific job of serving the residents of Middle Township.”
Cuomo’s mother Trish Betts of Estelle Manor held the Bible for the swearing in and pinned her badge onto her Middle Township uniform.
Donohue said the township often swears in a new officer as another retires. At the meeting, committee approved the retirement of Fred Crawley, who will leave the department as a corporal after more than 20 years with the department.
He’s set to retire in March of 2020.
Township Committee also recognized several longtime employees at the meeting. Employees Jennifer Graham, Douglas Osmundsen, William Dieffenderfer and Sandra Beasley have each worked for the township for 25 years, while William Adams, Gino Castellano, Jennifer Delanzo, James Loftus, Merrill Fowle, Julio Ruiz, Robert Shepherd, Elvira Kalish and Dawn Stimmel were each honored for 20 years of service.
Nancy McDevitt, Jennifer Teasenfitz and Nancy Burke have each worked for the township for 20 years with a combined full-time and part time employment.
Township Committee also approved an ordinance renaming part of West Wiley Street for Thomas A. Wise. The longtime resident died in January. Officials say he served his neighbors and the community, including rescuing two men from a house fire.
The street will be named Thomas A Wise, Sr. Way, although for practical purposes the signs may just read “Wise Way.” Members of his family attended the meeting for the final vote on the ordinance.