center> Two new police officers hired Tabbed to replace former cops who decided to join the NHRFR instead

Alejandro Jaramillo always dreamed of becoming a police officer in his hometown of Weehawken, but he thought that the opportunity had passed him by.

“I took the [Civil Service police admission] test about 18 months ago, but I didn’t hear anything,” said the 25-year-old Jaramillo, a 1996 graduate of Weehawken High School. “My hopes of getting in eventually went down.”

So Jaramillo went back to his two jobs, parking cars valet at both Ruth’s Chris Steak House and the Chart House Restaurant in Lincoln Harbor, while also spinning records as a DJ at local clubs.

“I figured I would eventually take the test again some time,” Jaramillo said.

That was, until Jaramillo received a letter and a phone call saying that he was being selected as one of the township’s two new police recruits.

Two officers, namely Richard Barreras and Salvatore Notaro, decided to leave the Weehawken Police Department and join the North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue. The two departures left the Weehawken police department a couple of officers shy, so Jaramillo received the call, along with 28-year-old Daniel Melkissetian.

Both new recruits are Weehawken natives and are both bilingual, which is a gigantic help to the force.

The two recruits were quickly sworn in as police officers during last Wednesday’s regularly scheduled Township Council meeting. They will officially begin as township employees on May 30 and will be shipped to the Essex County Police Academy for training in July.

Twenty two weeks of training

According to Weehawken Public Safety Director Jeff Welz, the police department had to act fast in getting both recruits into a state-approved academy.

“We were fortunate that Essex County has a summer class,” Welz said. “We were also fortunate to get these guys into that class. That’s why we had to have them sworn in as soon as possible, because Essex County only takes those who are sworn in already. If we waited any longer, we probably wouldn’t have been able to get them into an academy until after the summer.”

Since they will begin the 22-week course in July, the two new officers would be able to be a part of the regular patrol by November.

Jaramillo said he was completely surprised when he received the word that he was about to be sworn in.

“It happened so quickly, I was really nervous,” Jaramillo said. “I’ve been living in Weehawken all my life and was always looking forward to the challenge of being able to serve the community. I always wanted to get the chance to contribute.”

Jaramillo said that he was inspired to become an officer by his cousin, Juan Mejia, who has been a member of the Weehawken police force for the last nine years.

“He inspired me a lot,” Jaramillo said of Mejia. “I got to see how responsible he is and I look forward to the opportunity to serve and protect the way he has. I don’t mind the challenge.”

However, for the time being, Jaramillo has to wait.

“For now, until I’m officially on the payroll, I’m going to be parking some cars and making some music,” Jaramillo said.


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