Becoming a Police Officer a Lifelong Goal for O'Neill
North Caldwell's newest patrolman was inspired by his father
On Tuesday, Nov. 9, 21-year-old Paul O'Neill achieved a lifelong goal by becoming a North Caldwell police officer.
In the Borough's council chambers with his mother, Lisa, brother, Kevin, and girlfriend, Samantha, looking on, O'Neill was administered the oath by Borough Attorney David Paris.
After completing his first day on the job on Wednesday, Nov. 10, the Borough's newest patrolman commented that he had a "good day."
"I love the town. I definitely want to stay here," O'Neill added.
O'Neill, a lifelong resident of Caldwell, said he has always known he wanted to be a police officer.
"My father was a police officer. He gave me the inspiration," he said. O'Neill's father passed away unexpectedly in April 2009.
O'Neill began serving the town of North Caldwell five years ago when he joined its Junior Firefighter program. He discovered that because he liked the town and people at the fire department, he decided to stay when he had the opportunity to become a "full-fledged fireman."
"There are no other words to describe him except a good American kid," said North Caldwell Fire Chief John D'Ascensio. "He is down-to-earth and has good American family values instilled by his father. If I had a daughter, I would be thrilled if she brought him home as a son-in-law."
In addition to having a good character, D'Ascensio also said he believes O'Neill's background in firefighting can only help him as a police officer. D'Ascensio explained that police officers are usually the first responders to an accident. Having a police officer who also is trained to fight fires can only serve to benefit the town.
D'Ascensio explained that if a disaster were to occur in North Caldwell, the town would have to become self-sufficient. "The town needs people who can wear multiple hats," he said.
In order to be chosen as North Caldwell's newest patrol officer, O'Neill had to undergo a tough selection and interview process. At O'Neill's ceremony, Police Chief Mark Deuer explained the department received many resumés, with the police sergeants hand-selecting 20 candidates for consideration. These were narrowed down to the top five. After a writing assignment and a test, O'Neill was chosen.
"He was the best candidate. He comes from a small town and has good values. I am truly honored to make him a part of the police department," Deuer said.
O'Neill graduated from the Essex County Police Academy and is currently attending Caldwell College to earn a degree in criminal justice. When not working, serving as a volunteer fireman or going to school, O'Neill enjoys watching and playing baseball.