Column as submitted by Toms River Council President Maurice "Mo" Hill:
In 2002 the then Dover Township Committee established a Community Service Officer Program to meet the growing needs of the Township for 24 hour first aid and ambulance service. Toms River has been very fortunate over the years to have very dedicated volunteer first aid squads which have served our residents. The CSOs and our volunteer first aid squads work in harmony with one another providing support throughout the community. Until recently the CSO program was under the direction and administered by the Toms River Police Department.
However with the large number of retirements (29 officers) over the past two years there has been an increased strain on the police department personnel. The program was managed by one full time police officer with three additional police officers providing part-time support.
Recently the Mayor and Council established the CSO program as a separate civilian department. The establishment of the new department has freed up the police officers to provide for the public safety of the residents of Toms River. Over the past year the CSOs have responded to 7500 calls with an average response time of 8 minutes and 40 seconds.
Currently there are 16 full time CSOs and 20 part time CSOs in the department. Last year the department received $1.753 Million in fees for services rendered to the residents of Toms River. Those fees covered the cost of the CSO program making the program revenue neutral in that the fees offset the cost of the salaries and benefits of the CSOs. The move to a civilian department will result in a cost savings to the Township of approximately $100,000.
The new department will be headed by Paul Daley who has over 25 years of Emergency Service experience as an EMT. He is already assistant emergency management coordinator and will perform this as an additional collateral duty thus saving the cost of a new full time position. The Mayor and Council felt this change was prudent at this time in that it provides relief for the Police Department, cuts costs and will provide enhanced service to the community.
Toms River Council President