Despite tough economy, Millburn Police Department was able to hire new officers; chief calls it a win-win for all.  The economy has taken a toll on a lot of professions, particularly law enforcement in New Jersey, which has seen layoffs of police officers around the state.  Millburn Township put two of those officers back to work this week.

Because of recent retirements of the chief and a captain, Millburn was able to hire the two new officers who were laid off from the West Orange Police Department last March, creating what Police Chief Gregory Weber called a “win-win” in a difficult economy.

For Millburn, it means less money spent on training and the fact that as experienced officers the two will get on the street faster. For the new officers, it means landing a job, doing what they were trained to do.

“This is less expense to the taxpayer, because we do not have to send and pay for them to go to a police academy,” Weber said this week. “Nor do these new officers have to spend as much time in a field training program as brand new, untrained officer would normally have to. The other side of this win is that good officers, who were victims of these tough economic times and laid off, now have jobs.”

Chief of Police Gregory Weber introduced Travis Jiroux, 23, and Peter Smeraldo, 22, to the public and to the Township Committee on Tuesday night.

Jiroux was born and raised in Lafayette, New Jersey, and currently lives in West Orange.

According to his police department bio, as a youth Jiroux played football and baseball and went through Lafayette schools until high school when he attended parochial school, graduating from Pope John High School in Sparta in 2007.  After high school he attended and graduated the County College of Morris in 2009 with an associate degree in Criminal Justice.

Jiroux was hired by the West Orange Police Department in September of 2009 and attended and graduated the Essex County Police Academy in February of 2010.

On Tuesday evening Officer Jiroux was joined by his family: his mother, Lorraine Jiroux; father, Wilfred Jiroux II; older brother Wilfred; older sister – Becky; and his twin sister Alissa. Jiroux’s father held the Bible for him during the swearing in ceremony.

Jiroux resides in West Orange and in his downtime enjoys a variety of outdoor activities such hunting and fishing.

According to his bio, Smeraldo was born and raised in West Orange, where as a youth he played lacrosse. He was educated in the West Orange school system and graduated from West Orange High School in 2007. Currently he attends Rutgers University in Newark and is pursuing a bachelor degree in Criminal Justice.

Smeraldo was hired by the West Orange Police Department in September of 2009 and graduated from the Essex County Police Academy in February 2010.

On Tuesday evening Officer Smeraldo was joined by his family:  his mother, Kimberly Smeraldo; father, West Orange Fire Chief Pete Smeraldo, Jr; and younger brother – Connor. His father, who is also the director of the Office of Emergency Management, held the Bible during the swearing in.

Smeraldo resides in West Orange and enjoys reading, working out and surfing in his spare time.

The new officers will attend two weeks of in-house training, before being assigned to the patrol division and a field-training officer. They were hired as a result of vacancies created due to retirements from the Department.

The officers were hired as a result of what is commonly known as the Rice Bill, which allows a municipality to hire laid off police officers, instead of utilizing the normal civil service system.

“I am extremely happy to have these two new additions to the force, I think they will do well in Millburn,” Weber said.

By Laura Griffin