Ask Thomas Grosse - a Republican running for one of the at-large seats on the Township Council - if he thinks the police department needs more officers and he doesn't hesitate to answer.
"Absolutely," said Grosse, 40, Southern Boulevard.
And he doesn't want people to think he feels that way just because he's been a Toms River Township police officer for 17 years. For Grosse, it's a question of public safety.
Berkeley needs at least two police officers on duty in the senior communities at all times, Grosse said.
"It's essentially its own town," he said."I'd like to see a substation out there."
The township overall needs more officers as well, Grosse said.
Grosse is running with Carmen F. Amato Jr. - who is seeking the mayor's seat - and Robert Ray and John Bacchione, who are running for the council seats.
Democratic incumbent Township Council members Anne M. Wolff, Peter J. Mustardo and Nathan A. Abbe are not seeking re-election. The Amato team is running against Democrats Jason J. Varano, who is seeking his fourth term, Anthony Mazzella, Edward Olsen and James Egan, who are running for the council seats.
Grosse is more than two-thirds of the way into his first term on the Berkeley Board of Education. Bacchione is currently serving as vice-president of the Berkeley school board.
"I've gotten an education on how local government works, how budgets are put together," he said. "I like being involved with the town. I think I can take what I've learned on the school board and use it on the Township Council."
One of the key points in the Amato team's platform is the 146 percent increase in the township budget's amount be raised by taxation from 1999 to 2010.
When asked where line items could be reduced, Grosse said he would have to determine that once he was on the Township Council.
"I've never been on the council," he said. "I don't want to speak out of term. I haven't seen the budgets. But we intend to go line by line to see where we can reduce, without reducing services to the township."
Grosse agrees that the township had to do a revaluation once it was ordered by the Ocean County Board of Taxation.
"It was a long time coming and probably should have been done progressively," Grosse said. "It had to be done. it has to be fair. It should have been done properly."
He is an instructor at the Ocean County Police Academy and also serves as treasurer of the Toms River PBA Local #137. He is a member of the Berkeley Township Historical Society, the Clara B. Worth School PTA and the Holiday City - Silver Ridge Park Italian-American Club.
"I've been in public service my entire life," he said. "I volunteer for the community no matter where I live. I really enjoy it."
Grosse lives on Southern Boulevard with his wife, young daughter and son.