Auxiliary Police History
The Middletown Township Auxiliary Police can trace its roots back to World War II. Known then as Air Raid Wardens under the former Civil Defense, the Wardens enforced “black-out” conditions during drills or actual sighting of enemy aircraft.
When the warning siren sounded, the Air Raid Wardens, clad in white pith helmets and wearing Civil Defense armbands, would hit the streets. Household lights and streetlights were extinguished, and vehicular traffic stopped. Those who failed to comply received a visit from an Air Raid Warden, who ensured their immediate cooperation.
Under a blanket of darkness, target identification was impossible to the enemy, and under the portentous cloud of war, these men undoubtedly contributed to the safety of our citizens and communities.
After WWII, the need for Air Raid Wardens pretty much vanished. During the late 1940’s and through the 1950’s, the Air Raid Wardens became Police Reserves, and still volunteers, augmented local police departments. Those agencies utilized the reserves for natural disasters and civil unrest, and occasionally to assist with patrol functions. They continued to train for Civil Defense purposes, and maintained the use and operation of Geiger counters and other equipment. This was especially important during the Cold War Era when the threat of annihilation struck fear in the hearts of Americans.
They remained police reserves under Civil Defense until the early 1980’s, when the Office of Civil Defense became the Office of Emergency Management, and police reserves became police auxiliaries. The New Jersey State Police oversaw the training of auxiliary police. The State of New Jersey felt that there was a viable need for auxiliary police, and mandated specific training. Each municipality was charged with the responsibility of complying with New Jersey State Police training requirements.
The auxiliary police still perform the same duties as their predecessors, but presently only augment the police department during storms, power outages, and other manpower necessary operations, such as DWI and holiday patrols. They also perform community service details and offer their assistance at carnivals, parades, concerts and other large-scale public events.
Training today is similar to the old Air Raid Warden training; auxiliaries must now receive instruction on Weapons of Mass Destruction and Hazardous Materials, among other things. Additionally, the members of the Middletown Auxiliary Police are continuously and extensively trained on a variety of police topics, such as criminal law, motor vehicle law, crime scene investigations, evidence handling, first aid and CPR, the deployment of defibrillators, side-handle baton, chemical agents, report writing, bias incidents and firearms.
When fully trained, and on duty, auxiliary police officers have full police power under specific conditions. In fact, the NJSP mandates a minimum of 36 hours of training in specific topics. The Middletown Auxiliary Police attend a police academy hosted by the Middletown Police Department, and receive well over 100 hours of initial training. The Middletown Township Auxiliary Police Training Academy is the only auxiliary academy in Monmouth County.