New police chief to be selected

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:47

    WEST MILFORD-Three local police officers are in the final running for the department's top job. Current Police Chief James Dykstra is scheduled to retire on June 30. Although five members of the force took the state Department of Personnel test, the mayor and township administrator will interview the three with highest scores. In order, they are Lieutenant Paul Costello, Captain David Hardin and Lieutenant Gene Chiosie. The mayor will appoint the new chief after the interviews. The West Milford Police Department oversees 87 square miles and serves a population of roughly 26,000. Although the town is authorized for 48 officers, there are currently 42 on the force. There is one additional officer who is currently out of the country serving with the National Guard, but his return will coincide fairly closely with Dykstra's retirement, keeping the number at 42. West Milford has the lowest number of officers per capita in Passaic County. Hawthorne has the second lowest, and Passaic and Clifton have the highest. The job of police chief also entails the additional duties of public safety director. This means he not only oversees the police department, but also the fire departments, the office of emergency management, the first aid and rescue squads and the domestic violence response team. The position pays anywhere between $65,000 and $110,000. Dykstra joined the West Milford department in July of 1964. His retirement will come about a week and a half before the end of 41 years of service. He was made acting chief in June of 2000, and the position became permanent in the Spring of 2001. Dykstra says he feels ambivalent about retiring since he enjoys his job, but township policy calls for mandatory retirement at age 65.