Samuel DiSimone knows that as busy as it is being a police officer, it's the kind of job you can't ever truly stop doing—especially when you're a native, born and raised, of the town you're serving.
Husband to wife Denyse and father to Alyson, Dean and Olivia, the new acting Police Chief of West Deptford is a former D.A.R.E. officer who still hears his old nickname—"Sparky"—around town and turns his head.
"This is not just a 12-hour commitment," DiSimone said. "You're always an officer, 24 hours a day."
"When you take the oath, you're always on the job," he said. "You have to be mindful of that."
West Deptford officers like Lt. Sean McKenna and Cpl. Marc White, who coach football, baseball and wrestling in the township, he said, provide another opportunity to remind the public that people who wear badges have families, interests and hobbies, too.
"We have a lot of guys here who live in town," DiSimone said. "I just hope the residents of West Deptford realize that the men and women that work for this department, how dedicated they are, how professional they are, and how much they really want to work for the residents."
DiSimone is also a man who believes in professional development. He pursued (and completed) his master's degree in public administration on the advice of former West Deptford Chief Joseph Butts, and completed the prestigious FBI National Academy program in December 2012.
The acting chief sees his role as setting the tone for community engagement from the department. It's a value he shares with retired Chief Craig Mangano, under whom he served for two years as deputy chief and five as a lieutenant.
"I learned a lot from the chief and the way he handles people," DiSimone said; "the way he handled himself, the way he handled different situations that came up.
"He was always very calm. He thought things through. I learned a great deal from him."
DiSimone said that Mangano spent the final two months of his tenure prepping him for the position, and that he "expect[s] to carry on exactly the way [Mangano] ran the department.
"I always believed if you take over a position like this, you sit back for the first couple months and just observe how things work," he said.
"[Mangano's] beliefs and my beliefs are very very similar," DiSimone said. "There are not going to be any great changes that I can see. I hope to continue the professional way this department is run."
By way of example, DiSimone told a story about when the county was hit with a handful of bank robberies.
An officer from another department told his men he almost wished the criminals would strike West Deptford "because I know if you do, it’ll get solved.
"For them to admit that to our guys tells you all that you need to know about our police department," DiSimone said.
"I’m extremely excited to be the acting chief for them. It’s a great bunch of officers."