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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

Meet the SLEOs!

Updated: Mar 7, 2019

by Kim Bogosian

From left, Special Law Enforcement Officers Thomas Kilroe, Jr., David Kiernan and Carolina Kopacz

You may have noticed some new faces on the Rutherford Police Department lately. David Kiernan was hired in December 2017 and Thomas Kilroe Jr. and Carolina Kopacz were added to the department in September 2018. These three individuals are part of the first group of Special Law Enforcement Officers, or SLEOs, since the RDP switched from using Auxiliary Police to the SLEO format.

SLEOs are part time employees of the RPD. They wear slightly different, light blue uniforms than Police Officers and currently work a rotating schedule Monday - Saturday. Part of their tasks include issuing parking violations, summonses for disorderly conduct, routine traffic detail, crowd control and similar duties.

SLOEs David Kiernan and Thomas Kilroe, Jr. are members of the Rutherford Volunteer Ambulance Corps, which is an added bonus because they can assist with medical calls while on-duty, providing a quicker response time when Ambulance Corp. volunteers are not “on-duty”. SLEO Kilroe is also a trained dispatcher.

All three are graduates from the Special Law Enforcement Officer Class at the Bergen County Public Safety Academy and have received 11 different in-service training classes, including self-defense training. While SLEOs Kiernan and Kilroe grew up elsewhere in Bergen County, SLEO Carolina Kopacz is originally from Rutherford and an RHS graduate.

This Is Rutherford sat down with all three SLEOS and asked them what their favorite thing about Rutherford is:

Kilroe: RPD really pushes the bond between law and enforcement and community that I haven’t seen in other towns. Many community-oriented things in other towns focus on the interaction with children, but RPD really makes an effort to interact with adults too. The community appreciates us and the guys we work with are like family.

Kiernan: The residents have been very nice to deal with and there’s a great group of guys working here.

The police are much more hands-on when it comes to working with the ambulance than in other towns.

Kopacz: I love crossing kids and when we show up at schools the kids are so excited. I thought they’d be indifferent about it, but they’re really excited. I also love the big emphasis on positive community relations.

When asked where they want to be 10 years from now, all three said nearly simultaneously, “Active Sworn Police Officer for the Borough of Rutherford!”

Welcome aboard, SLEOs! We hope to see you on the streets of Rutherford 10 years from now and beyond!

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