The Springfield Office of Emergency Management protects against the impacts of natural and man-made emergencies and disaster on people, property, environment and economy in Springfield through mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery efforts. The Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator are appointed by the Township Committee to whom they report. Within Union County, there are 21 Municipal Emergency Management Departments, each with a Coordinator who, in addition to reporting locally, reports up to a County Emergency Management Coordinator and to the Emergency Management Section of the New Jersey State Police. At the Federal level this unit is under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The Township’s Emergency Management unit is made of several components – the most visible of which is the Springfield Auxiliary Police. With its 22 volunteer members, the Auxiliary Police perform everything from routine Police patrols using three Emergency Management vehicles to assisting in almost every special event or function taking place within the Township. Each member must fulfill both training and duty requirements each year. The Emergency Management Communications units, also manned by municipal volunteers – many of whom are licensed amateur radio operators, provide a variety of communications related support activities in conjunction with the Auxiliary Police, most notably manning the Township’s Mobile Communications Command Post which is utilized at major special events and emergencies within the Township. Other units include: Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Shelter, Planning and Operations, Radiological, and Social Services. Mutual Aid agreements are in place with organizations such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
The Municipal Emergency Management Coordinator also serves as the Chairman of the Township’s Emergency Management Council. The Council, made up of key municipal department heads as well as civic leaders and public and private sector of officials, is responsible for the development and implementation of the Township’s Emergency Operating Plan. This plan, reviewed and approved bi-annually by the State Police, serves as the basis for any and all emergency activities conducted by all public safety units within the Township and provides for a variety of mutual aid support activities when situations require outside help.
The Springfield Police Auxiliary is a service organization composed entirely of volunteer members. It is an operating division of the Springfield Office of Emergency Management upon which it relies for all budgetary requirements. The Auxiliary Police or Police Reserve as it was known in the 1950’s and 1960’s was reorganized in 1967 to serve as an immediately available source of manpower to augment or replace the services of the Springfield Police Department. In other than emergency situations, the Auxiliary serves as a supplement to and a component of the Springfield Police Department. If an emergency occurs which, for example, requires the regular department to assist another community, the Auxiliary would assume the patrol duties of the regular department for the duration of the emergency. So that the Auxiliary remains familiar with the procedures of the regular department, it is necessary for all members of the Auxiliary to maintain competency in patrol work, dispatching, Municipal Court security etc. For this purpose the Auxiliary is “attached” to the regular department for training in these and other areas of responsibility. Regular patrol tours are required as well as duty tours which include dispatching, call handling, and court security. In this continuous training program the Auxiliary is responsible, on a day-to-day basis, to the regular department. Auxiliary officers reporting for patrol duty work directly for the superior officer in charge of the police shift on duty at that time. The work is, in effect, “on the job training”. The Auxiliary is organized similar to the Regular Department with a cadre of officers in command positions who supervise officers. Liaison with the regular Police department is conducted through a department appointed “liaison officer” who is responsible to the Chief of Police for the Auxiliary’s training and performance. Emergency Management provides each member of the Auxiliary with all required uniforms and equipment. Patrol duty typically is performed in one of the Auxiliary’s two fully equipped patrol cars.
Application for membership in the Police Auxiliary may be made by any permanent resident of the Township of Springfield who is at least 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen. Persons currently attending high school are not eligible.
Police Auxiliary Duties and Responsibilities
All members of the Auxiliary are required to satisfactorily complete the New Jersey State Auxiliary Police Training Program during the first year of membership. The course is offered at the Union County Police Chief’s Academy, John H. Stamler Police Academy, Scotch Plains, NJ. Attendance is mandatory. Under current law, satisfactory completion of the basic course is a prerequisite for performing active duty with the Auxiliary. All members of the Auxiliary also must complete a training program leading to certification in basic first aid from the American Red Cross. Certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from the American Heart Association is strongly encouraged. First aid certification is valid for a period of three years: CPR certification is valid for a period of one year. Once certified, members must maintain their certification. Courses in basic first aid and CPR and recertification courses are scheduled through and funded by Emergency Management. All members of the Auxiliary must complete a New Jersey Police Training Commission approved course in firearms qualification. Twice each year, usually during April and October, PTC certified instructors from the regular department will present a complete training course in Firearms safety, familiarization, and combat range qualification. Satisfactory completion of the firearms training program is a prerequisite for both initial and continuing eligibility to carry a firearm when performing Auxiliary duty. By law, the arming of the Auxiliary is left to the discretion of the municipal governing body (Township Committee) and the Chief of Police; the concurrence of both is required for the arming of each member. All members are expected to attend the regular meetings of the Auxiliary which are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Training sessions usually are conducted immediately following the regular business meeting. At various times during the year, advanced training courses are offered. All members are encouraged to attend such courses. In some cases, attendance may be declared mandatory, such as for courses in refresher first aid, CPR, and non-lethal defense methods. In other cases, attendance may be discretionary, such as for courses in street survival, defensive driving, report writing, etc. In all cases, tuition is funded by Emergency Management. By law, each Auxiliary officer is required to perform a minimum of six patrol tours per quarter. Patrols are performed in the evenings, but can be at any time, usually between the hours of 6:00 pm and 12:00 midnight; starting times earlier than 6:00 pm are prohibited. On weekends, both daytime and evening patrols are permitted. In addition, members are required to perform duty at special events, such as the Memorial Day Parade, July 4th Fireworks, Township sponsored street fairs, foot races, etc. Participation generally is mandatory since the Township usually designates Emergency Management as the agency responsible for security, crowd control and traffic control at such events. Members are evaluated constantly with regard to their performance, in terms of both quality and quantity. Administrative review procedures for new members include a one year probationary period, during which performance evaluations occur more frequently and during which the probationary officer may be dismissed without cause.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, shelter management, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises. CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community If you are considering helping out your community please contact Springfield Department of Emergency Management at 973-376-1058.