Retiring Lt. Herman leaves behind a legacy of service

Retiring Lt. Herman leaves behind a legacy of service
By Robert Foreman

PASSAIC COUNTY, N.J. – Born in Paterson and raised in Totowa, Lieutenant Douglas Joseph Herman has lived a life of service to both his community and his nation that many would envy. Outside of his distinguished law enforcement career, he served proudly as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps and even brought his expertise to the FBI SWAT School. Currently, he works for the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office where he serves as the Firearms Range Master (Firearms Training Unit) and Swat Team Leader/Master Operator.

Herman has been with the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department since 1995 and during his time at the Passaic County Police Academy he received the Distinguished Graduate Award and earned 1st place awards in both Marksmanship and Physical Fitness. While he has served the law enforcement community proudly, all good careers must eventually end. In Herman’s case, he is retiring. His terminal leave is set for July 2nd of 2019 and his official date is January 1st, 2020. His wife, Mercedes, is also a retired lieutenant from the Sheriff’s Department and the two met through work. The father of two daughters offered some advice to those young men and women who are just entering the law enforcement profession.

“As new law enforcement officers, continue to train for critical incidents and make every effort to focus on continually enhancing performance and personal skills,” said Herman.

Herman, a graduate of Passaic Valley High School, began his career with SWAT in 2006 and after diligently working his way up the ranks he became Swat Team Leader in 2017. Since 2013, Herman has been a Department Range Commander and he became a Certified N.J. State Range Master in 2018. In 2013, he also became a Police Training Commission Firearms instructor at the Police Academy. During his tenure with New Jersey Law Enforcement, Herman has earned numerous awards and citations, including the Triumphant Award (Firearms Competition), Meritorious Service (SWAT Team apprehension of five fugitives), Unit Citation (SWAT Operation related to a shooting of a police officer), Gallantry Star (SWAT Operation involving the apprehension of two fugitives wanted in connection for a police officer shooting), Honor Legion Member Recipient from the State Of New Jersey, and the Certificate of Appreciation (Renovation of the County Police Firing Range.)

From 1986 through 1991, Herman served with the United States Marines (Infantry) and he was attached to military intelligence for one year as a courier for highly-sensitive materials. A veteran of the Gulf War during ‘Operation Desert Storm’ in 1991,  he was deployed to numerous locations such as South America, Panama, Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Iwo Jima, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. He received training in Jungle Operations, Cold Weather Operations, Woodland Operations and tracking and survival training. After graduating boot camp in Parris Island, S.C., he went to Infantry Training School in Camp Geiger, N.C. where he tried out for Marine Recon yet he was not selected. Upon graduating Infantry Training School, he went into the Fleet Marine Force 2nd Marine regiment, 2nd Battalion (Marine Infantry Unit) at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

“After high school graduation, I went into the United States Marine Corps at the age of 18-years-old. The reason I join the Marines was because their recruiting station was in Totowa, and the closest to my house, and I did not have a vehicle to drive to any of the other recruiting stations in Paterson,” said Herman.

“During my time with intel is when the Colombia cartels were starting to come into the forefront and the military was becoming more involved with intel for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). After the military, I then worked in construction, and did bartending and security while attending Bergen Community College. In 1995, I then decided to go into the law enforcement field. I took the test and was hired by the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department.”

For his service in ‘Operation Desert Storm’, he was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, a Navy Unit Commendation, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Southwest Asia Service Medal. Herman was also awarded the Good Conduct Medal, the Navy Artic Service Ribbon and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with two Bronze stars. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps with the rank of sergeant.

Herman’s position as Swat Team Leader/Master Operator calls upon him to be involved with the transport of both high-risk federal and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) prisoners. His decorated career of service, at multiple levels, is one that must be viewed with both respect and awe. Any member of law enforcement would find themselves lucky to have access to his knowledge of firearm proficiency, as well as military and tactical procedures. So, while Herman prepares to close one chapter of his life we can be confident that he will undoubtedly be ready for whatever the next phase of his life brings.

“The most important thing that I’ve learned is that you have to be resilient,” said Herman. “You have to be able to change as circumstances change.”