RARITAN, NJ - The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office has selected an incoming detective to work with the Raritan Borough Police Department, as part of a new county initiative.

Upon graduating from the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Academy in June 2021, the selected officer, who has already been hired by the prosecutor’s office, will hold the title of detective. They will join the Raritan Borough Police Department to learn and shape their patrol duties following their graduation.

The situation is beneficial for both Raritan and the county, said Deputy Chief Frank Roman, of the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office.

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Municipal police officers gain different experiences that do not often occur on the prosecutor’s level, Roman said.

This is a new initiative designed to give a young officer coming into the field of law enforcement various experiences, he said. The initial plan is for the detective to work with Raritan for 12 months before beginning work at the prosecutor’s office.

“This will give the detective experience in dealing with people and cases of differing types, including domestic violence, traffic stops, thefts and motor vehicles crashes,” Roman said. “This detective will then be able to bring this experience back to the prosecutor’s office.”

Interim Borough Administrator Eric Colvin first announced the idea to the borough council in December.

“Raritan has a great rapport with the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, and it is an honor they have chosen our police department for this training,” Colvin said.  “It is a true testament to the strength of the Raritan Police Department.”

The prosecutor’s office will pay the detective’s salary while they work with the Raritan PD. Raritan PD will train the detective on their procedures and policies while putting them through the existing field training program, said Raritan Borough Police Chief Raymond Nolte.

“The detective is going to go through as if we hired them,” Nolte said.

In addition to the benefits of adding an officer to their workforce at no cost to the town, the detective is fluent in Spanish. The percent of Raritan residents who speak Spanish is over 15 percent, according to data from the 2019 census. Over 17 percent of the population is Hispanic or Latino.

There are no current officers on the Raritan PD who are fluent in the language, though the Spanish-speaking population in the community is growing.

Raritan PD has had to call other departments or the prosecutor’s office in the past for assistance from Spanish-speaking officers. This detective will help supplement Raritan PD’s patrol function, Nolte said.

It is an honor that the Prosecutor’s Office selected Raritan to house the detective, Nolte said.

“We certainly have a lot going on here, there is a lot that goes on in a little town,” he said. “The detective will get the experience and we certainly have the staff that will train them properly. It’s an honor.”

Since it is a new initiative, it is not yet known if the county will continue this in the future. They will receive feedback from the host police department to decide if the program will be continued.