The WWP News in conjunction with West Windsor Gives Back, a new community organization, will be running articles throughout 2018 in celebration of the West Windsor Police Department’s 50th anniversary. In addition to honoring the department and its officers, the group is working to raise funds to help the department purchase a drone.

The West Windsor Police Department plans to purchase a drone similar to the one pictured above at the inagural Mayor’s Ball in October. The purchase will be funded in part through a donation from West Windsor Gives Back. The group has announced the subject of next year’s effort with be the Princeton Junction Volunteer Fire Company.

It has been an incredible first year for West Windsor Gives Back and its first award recipient, the West Windsor Police Department. Early summer brought the splashing of a free pool party, autumn displayed the glitter and glamour of a sold out mayor’s ball, and the holiday season started with the 50/50 raffle drawing at the town tree lighting and fireworks.

“It’s been amazing to see this idea take off,” said Mayor Hemant Marathe. “So many people in the community rallied around celebrating our fine police department’s 50-year history. Community members came together to raise funds and take part in so many activities.

“I have to thank the West Windsor Police Department, township employees, the West Windsor Lions Club, our many WWGB volunteers, and of course our generous sponsors and donors who made it all possible.”

Councilwoman Virginia Manzari, the chairwoman of WWGB, said she is thankful to be able to take part in the effort.

“It was an honor to work with the WWPD this year to raise money for them and to celebrate their 50th anniversary,” she said.

Manzari added that the members of the police force put their lives on the line every day, while most people go about their lives without realizing that fact.

“Not only do they put themselves in harm’s way to protect us, but the outstanding men and women in our police department go beyond that,” he said. “They are an integral part of our community—a strong, positive force in our town—attending countless events, getting to know us and our children, even helping us find our lost pets.

“They are exceptional individuals that I’m proud to know,” Manzari said.

She also thanked The WWP News for printing the “remarkable personal stories of just a sampling of these great men and women during the past year.”

The money that was raised is going to purchase a drone, and the WWPD has already been training for its use.

Chief Robert Garofalo said he sees the drone as a new way for the community to be involved. He envisions a whole cadre of trained civilians taking part in a major search and rescue, using their own drones.

These volunteers could practice together once a month with police officers. When an emergency occurs, they would operate under the umbrella of FAA certified WWPD command pilots and the group could cover a much wider area than just one drone.

Meanwhile, Manzari said that WWGB Will be holding a Mayor’s Ball in 2019. “The details will be worked out with next year’s recipient, so we’ll have more information soon,” she said, while also announcing the subject of next year’s efforts by the organization—the Princeton Junction Volunteer Fire Company.