The RPD Welcomes Officer Jimmy Arnold
By Jennifer Ersalesi
Photo credits: Sergeant Julie Ziegler and Jimmy Arnold
The newest Police Officer to join the Rutherford Police Department follows in the footsteps of many other dedicated Police Officers in Rutherford. Not only does James (Jimmy) Arnold call Rutherford his hometown, he also spent his life watching his father, grandfather, uncles and great uncles doing exactly what he knew he wanted to do someday. Jimmy proudly joined his sister, Alexandra, who became part of the RPD in 2017, when he was sworn in by Mayor Joseph DeSalvo on December 18, 2019.
Chief John Russo explained, "I am very happy to see James Arnold added to the ranks of the Rutherford Police Department. It is not very often that an opportunity to hire an established officer with great credentials presents itself, but it has, and this hire fits with the quality personnel we have filled this department with. I have had the pleasure to work with James' father, Sergeant Louis Arnold as well as his uncle, Lieutenant Robert Arnold, and they were both outstanding officers that taught me a great deal about police work and then later on about leadership. When it comes to the Arnold legacy here at RPD, James has some big shoes to fill; but I am confident that along with his sister Alexandra, that legacy will hit new heights".
Photos below of Jimmy Arnold being sworn in: Mrs. Catherine Arnold, Mayor Joseph DeSalvo, Chief John Russo, and Officer Jimmy Arnold.
TIR: Even as a young child, you knew that you wanted to become a police officer one day. It helped that you were surrounded by police officers while growing up in Rutherford. Tell us about your family history.
James Arnold: It is special for me to be a police officer where my Grandfather, Lou Arnold (served from 1950-1990), Great Uncles: Vincent (1954-1962), Eugene (1960-1966), and Thomas who retired as Lieutenant (1963-1995), Father, Louis Arnold, who retired as Sergeant (1983-2010), and my Uncle Robert who retired as Lieutenant (1987-2014) all served the community of Rutherford.
TIR: Tell us more about the internship you did while you were a college student at Montclair State University.
JA: During my last year of college in the Fall of 2016, I interned at the Rutherford Police Department. I got to do some ride alongs, sit at the desk and take some calls. It was great to get some real experience while learning from so many RPD officers.
TIR: In addition to receiving hands-on training during your internship, you were also a member of the Rutherford Volunteer Fire Department, which provided you with some valuable experience as well. Why did you choose to become a firefighter?
JA: I spent a few years as a volunteer fireman and I just resigned this past year in order to take on this new role. My Dad was part of Engine Company No. 2 and I decided I wanted to be part of the same company. I liked the idea of volunteering in my community. I also knew that going out on fire calls would be great training for my future career as a police officer. As a fireman, I learned how to handle stressful incidents, where collaboration and focus were incredibly important.
TIR: Prior to joining the Rutherford Police Department, you were a police officer in Ridgefield Park. Tell us about how you finally became part of the Police Department that has influenced your career path in so many ways.
JA: I took the Civil Service test in November of 2016. I received my results in 2017. In January 2017, I joined the Ridgefield Park Police Department, where I was employed for almost three years. This past September I reached out to Sgt. Julie Ann Ziegler to find out whether the RPD would be hiring and fortunately they were. My last day in Ridgefield Park was November 18, 2019, and I began working as an RPD Officer on November 19, 2019.
TIR: Have you received any special training while on the Police Force?
JA: While attending the Police Academy, I received basic police training, including how to conduct field sobriety tests and how to identify various drugs. I took some interesting courses on drug identification. While in Ridgefield Park, I had Honor Guard training and taser training, because we did use tasers there. I was part of the Ridgefield Park Police Department Ceremonial Honor Guard. We participated in parades, funerals and various ceremonies on the local, county, state, and federal levels.
TIR: As a lifelong resident, what have you always loved about Rutherford?
JA: I have always believed that Rutherford is what a community should look like and I believe people enjoy living here. I also believe that people who live in Rutherford have a great sense of pride.
TIR: Do you have a favorite spot in Rutherford?
JA: That is a tricky question (smiles), but I guess I would say Memorial Field. Since I played so many different sports, I spent a lot of time there throughout the years. I played Recreation Sports, travel soccer, track and field, and Little League.
TIR: While you were a student at Rutherford High School, you were part of the Track and Field and Cross-Country teams. One of your coaches, Justin VanDyk, told TIR, “Jimmy is one of the best competitors I have ever coached. He was willing to push himself to the highest level to be successful. He is even a greater teammate and person. He always treated others with respect, always was the first to lend a hand and always wanted the team to achieve before himself”. Tell us more about your track and field experience.
JA: Yeah, I enjoyed doing track and field. Our RHS distance team even broke a record my senior year (2013), which was exciting.
TIR: Finally, who would you say inspired you the most on your journey to becoming a police officer?
JA: My father, Lou Arnold, was definitely my biggest inspiration. Sadly, he passed away in September of 2018. He was a proud RPD officer for 27 years and was involved in the community as a soccer and Little League coach and a member of the Community Outreach Program through the RPD. He was also a Rutherford Volunteer Fireman and a member of the Rutheford First-Aid Ambulance Corps. I learned so much from him and the way he served the community.