NOTE: This public meeting was held before the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions began.
JACKSON – Four new police officers were sworn in and the township’s celebrated the accomplishments of each division of the township’s cheerleading team during a recent Township Council meeting.
John M. Araneda, James M. Hendrick, Clint A. Barsa and Matthew J. Kalbach were sworn in by Police Chief Matthew Kunz.
Kunz reviewed the work and personal history of each officer prior to the swearing in of each officer.
“Tonight, we will be introducing four new members of the Jackson Township Police Department,” the chief said. Township Clerk Janice Kisty administered the oath of office to the new officers.
Kunz said that Araneda served in the United States Marine Corps for five years from 2009 to 2014 and served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He graduated from the Monmouth County Police Academy. He has been a police officer in Freehold Township since July 2017. He is married and has two children.
Hendrick was “born in Freehold and raised in Jackson and is a graduate of Jackson Memorial High School class of 2007 and a graduate of Ocean County College 2015 with an associate’s degree in business,” the chief said.
The chief said Barsa “was born in Seacaucus and raised in Howell and graduated high school in 2006. He is a graduate of the Monmouth County Police Academy Class I School of 2009 and in 2011 he graduated from the Monmouth County Police Academy as a Class II Special Officer. He has worked for the Juvenile Justice Commission as a Juvenile Correction Officer from 2016 to 2017 and a full-time police dispatcher for the Belmar Police Department since 2017 to March 2020.”
Kalbach was born in New Brunswick and was raised in Monroe Township where he graduated from Monroe Township High School in 2007. He attended Brookdale College and attained his associate’s degree in criminal justice in 2011. He served four years in the United States Marine Corps from 2009 to 2014 and graduated from the New Jersey Department of Corrections Academy in 2013. He has served as a corrections officer for the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Department from 2015 to March 2020,” the chief said.
Each member of the council congratulated the newly sworn in officers. “I believe our Jackson Police officers are second to none in the state,” Council Vice President Alex Sauickie said. “They keep us safe every day and I hope our new officers stay safe as well.”
The audience was made up of not only family members of the newly installed officers and fellow police officers but nearly all the members of the Jackson Youth Football and Cheer cheerleading team and their respective coaches.
JYFC Coach Susan Fortunato oversees each of the cheerleading divisions and remarked on the incredible success each division has had during the current season with teams going on to regional, state and national finals.
Members of each division were presented certificates from members of the council following the mayor’s presentations honoring the coaches of each division.
“Congratulations to the cheer teams. For them to have national championships in our town is amazing and thank you to all the dedicated parents,” Councilman Andrew Kern said.
Sauickie also congratulated the coaches “and all the athletes on the cheerleading teams. This is what Jackson is about. To have a room full of people like we did tonight sends a positive message.”
Council President Barry Calogero added, “This is the true essence of Jackson: community spirit. We thank the cheerleaders. God bless our police officers. We are now at 96 police officers in our department.
“To the cheerleaders, what a huge accomplishment. I know what it takes financially and just the strain on the family between the practices and traveling but it is an incredible experience and the dedication you have shown is worthy of applause. To the coaches as well. This is the true spirit of Jackson,” he said.
“To congratulate everyone else would be redundant but congratulations to everyone,” Mayor Michael Reina said. “The amount of people who came tonight and supported the accomplishments of our cheer teams but for our police officers as well. The spirit of the community is alive and it will never go away.”
“The essence of tonight’s meeting with the comradery of our police officers and their families and the love and affection to those young ladies for their accomplishments tonight needs to be brought out more. This is what community is all about,” Reina said.