New Windsor has grown so much in recent years that, undoubtedly, there are many of today’s residents who are unaware of the prior existence of an Auxiliary police force in the town. Over a period of forty-one years, men and women came from all walks of life to volunteer their time and talent to the community they lived in and loved. They did it without thought of monetary reward and often at some expense to themselves. It was their way of giving something back to the community. They indeed made a difference.
The Auxiliary initially consisted of a 25 officers all of whom had to undergo training with various law enforcement agencies as well as lawyers, ambulance workers and town justices. This training also included the use of firearms and refresher courses throughout their tenure. The Auxiliary force worked closely with the police department often riding along with them on patrol. When the police department needed additional manpower, the Auxiliary was often called upon to assist. The Auxiliary officers were looked upon as a supplement as they performed duties that freed up the police officers to carry out their other daily duties.
Auxiliary officers could be found at fires, parades and ball games. They often took care of traffic control as well as safeguarding the community from Halloween mischief and patrolling the local shopping centers over the holiday season to protect shoppers and prevent theft from cars. Several longtime residents still recall feeling secure knowing the Auxiliary was patrolling the parking lots. You would also find the New Windsor Auxiliary assisting the County Sheriff’s department at the annual air show or for other emergency events such as the post-tornado surveillance work at Meadow Hill years ago.
The Auxiliary Police further performed home security checks for town residents. It was the Auxiliary that was responsible for the D.A.R.E. program being used by the town. Community Policing was also started by the Auxiliary for which grants were received for home door locks for seniors. How to start a Neighborhood Watch Program was another accomplishment of the Auxiliary.
In addition to police work, the New Windsor Auxiliary officers reached out to the community by such activities as distributing Christmas presents to pediatric patients at St. Luke’s and the former Cornwall Hospitals.
During their forty-one year run, the Auxiliary force received multiple recognition awards from the Town and other organizations like the American Legion and the Little League. New Windsor’s Auxiliary would also represent our town in parade competitions involving other municipalities.
There was a close working relationship between the Auxiliary and the police officers. Over the years, a few of the Auxiliary went on to become members of the police department. While Auxiliary Police were created by the state back in the 1950’s to assist with traffic and crowd control, it was the vision of Thomas Scalzo, the Auxiliary’s first head, who was responsible for the initial force of Auxiliary members in New Windsor by January of 1966. The then police chief, James Coritz, acknowledged their help as by 1968, the force was averaging three thousand man-hours of service at no cost to the town.
By 2006, the Auxiliary officers were under the leadership of Anthony D’Angelo. Lieutenant D’Angelo had taken over command from long-time chief, Joseph Tallarico, one of the founding members of the organization. Lieutenant D’Angelo’s band of five was still performing the same duties as their predecessors. Times were, however, changing. The Auxiliary had always been under the control of the County Department of Civil Defense who was responsible for the training of the Auxiliary. The Civil Defense Department morphed into the Orange County Emergencies Services Department. The County then decided that the newly created department could not provide the required training for the Auxiliary. The Town did not have the legal authority to take it over. It was then that the fate of New Windsor Auxiliary was determined. The New Windsor Auxiliary Police was forced to disband in 2007. As Lieutenant D’Angelo expressed then, “Your job is over, your tour is done.”