Former Robbinsville Police Chief Martin Masseroni retired last year after nearly four decades in law enforcement. So it was only natural that his name came up when a local organization that supports the families of fallen public safety personnel was looking for someone to honor during its annual fall reception.
“It was the obvious choice with Marty—I mentioned his name and everyone agreed,” said Greg Blair, president of the 200 Club of Mercer County. “Without a doubt he deserves it, and it’s our honor to recognize him.”
The 200 Club is a private organization providing financial assistance to the families of public safety and rescue personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty, including the police officers, correction officers, firefighters and rescue squad technicians of Mercer County. Many members, like Blair, come from outside of law enforcement. All members pay membership dues, which help the club to make donations.
“We, as businessmen, feel like it’s the least we can to for them,” Blair said. “We make a small contribution to ensure we can make a big contribution when it’s needed.”
The fall reception, where Masseroni is the guest of honor, will take place Nov. 1 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Boathouse at Mercer Lake. Tickets are $40.
The venue will most likely be packed, as Masseroni has deep roots in the area and local law enforcement. He grew up in Hamilton, where he still lives. He began his non-civilian career in 1972 as a specialist in the Air National Guard. In 1976, he was hired as a special officer for Hamilton Township. Two years later, he became a member of the Mercer County Park Police. Then, in 1980, he moved onto Robbinsville, where he stayed for 35 years.
He became chief of the Robbinsville Police Department in 2004, a role he served in until his retirement Nov. 30, 2015. He left exactly 35 years to the day of the first time he set foot in the Robbinsville Police Department.
“I did that just for me—I was proud of that to leave on the exact day I started,” he said.
For more than a decade, he served as Robbinsville’s chief, which meant he was in charge of a multi-faceted police department just as the town it served started to experience tremendous growth. And he credits township administration for all the success he achieved during his time as chief. During his 11-year stint, the Robbinsville Police Department made huge technological strides in aiding officers, as well as tackling the state’s drug problem by instituting a highway intervention program to stop the flow of drugs on the major roads that pass through Robbinsville.
‘I’ve gone to these for years and never thought I’d be the one standing on stage.’
While his initiatives have gained notice, Masseroni said the essence of job was fairly basic—to remove obstacles and ensure he brought the right people into the police department. He believes he did that, which made leaving last year even more difficult.
“It’s hard to leave family, and they were my family…but it was time to close one chapter and start another for a lot of reasons,” Masseroni said.
He enjoyed about nine months of retirement before the itch to get back to work struck. This fall, he started a new job as the director of the Mercer County Police Academy. He says his job duties are similar to those as chief, but this time he gets to help prospective officers receive their education in law enforcement.
“It was strange going back—it wasn’t like I was just sitting there—but going from working all the time to relaxing a bit to working a lot again was an adjustment,” he said.
Masseroni’s first class graduated last month, and he couldn’t be prouder.
Now, he gets to look forward to having his own night in the spotlight.
Blair contacted Masseroni a few months ago to tell him that the 200 Club wanted to honor him come November. Although he is a self-described “nuts and bolts” kind of guy that would rather honor the work of the officers that helped him achieve such success, Masseroni said he couldn’t say no to Blair.
“He called me, and started off saying, ‘I know you hate this kind of stuff but…’ I truly am honored for this award,” Masseroni said. “I’ve gone to these cocktail receptions for years and never once thought I’d be the one standing on that stage or being offered this honor.”