On the Job | Our newest Frontline spotlight shines on Justin Romero, who comes to us from the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office in New Jersey. Justin is an eight year veteran with the sheriff’s office and is currently waiting to receive his new canine partner and begin training later this year. For Justin, it has long been a dream of his to join the K-9 unit and bring together two things he loves; dogs and police work. Justin joined the sheriff’s department after placing well on the civil service exam, which he only took to see how well he could place. But now, after graduating from the academy, being on the job, and seeing how far he’s come, he could not see himself doing anything else. “The brotherhood here is unlike anything else besides the military. Everyone sees us as bad people, but the things that we do everyday that they don’t see, and for us to come to work and do that every day with the family that you build in your department makes everything worth it.”
Justin says that his career has benefited not only from playing paintball since 2006, but from playing team sports in general all his life. “The cooperation and the teamwork that you do at work is the same, essentially. Between communication with your partner, as well as the public, and even with the kids in your region. Communication is key in this job when dealing with the public. And to get the kids off the streets and into sports, I have the knowledge to help them in that way.” Justin says his biggest accomplishment so far has been making it into K-9. He is excited to be starting that next chapter of his career and is waiting to head into the next class with his new partner in September
On the Field | Justin, who on the paintball field goes by the call sign Talon Ninja, has been playing paintball since 2006. The first time he played was during his freshman year of college, when a friend of his asked if he wanted to go to Skirmish in Pennsylvania with another group of friends. Like a lot of first time walk-on players, Justin wore random old clothes and of course used the old reliable 98 Custom rental. Though he couldn’t recall much about playing that day, he did remember that the adrenaline rush, the teamwork, and the way the bunkers and obstacles were made really brought him into the element. He loved that first time so much that it led to Justin going out and buying his own gear that week, thus launching his paintball career. Some of Justin’s favorite fields to play at are Skirmish in Pennsylvania, On Target in New Jersey, and OXCC Maryland.
In 2014, Justin started the Outlaw Militia Paintball Team, of which he is the Captain. Starting out with only a few family and friends on the team they have now grown to 40+ members. While the team is based out of New Jersey, their players range from Pennsylvania, upstate New York, Long Island, and Maryland. Having played for 15 years, Justin has acquired more than his share of great memories of the sport. One of these was playing in his first scenario game. Having always been a rec player, he finally played his first scenario, Invasion of Normandy, at Skrimish, which is one of the largest scenario events in the world. Not a bad way to jump into the scenario scene. To bring things full circle, for three years Justin actually commanded the 29th Infantry Division for the Allies for Skirmish’s Big 3, which is their big scenario games in March (Stalingrad), July (Invasion of Normandy), and October (Battle for Britain/Berlin). For Justin, Invasion of Normandy was best because he became immersed in the game and part of all the decision-making. His division was made up of 150 players across 7-10 teams. To be able to be a part of that game and to command so many players was fun and hectic at the same time but “it was definitely an experience that I will never forget.”
Another great memory for Justin was landing on Wolf’s Top Five Kills on YouTube. If you’re unfamiliar, Wolf is a paintball icon from Canada with a YouTube channel who every so often will have players submit videos of themselves with unique kills or kill streaks and then he’ll rank them into the top five. Justin made it to number three when he submitted his for taking out 10+ enemy players that were attempting to take over a castle his team was occupying. Justin is proud of the work Outlaw Militia has done over the years. Some of their team accolades include MVT in 2014 at Battle for Berlin at Skirmish, MVP in 2018 at Big Game at Cousins Paintball, MVT at Living Dead 5 at On Target, and MVT in 2019 at Heroes vs Villains at On Target. Justin is quick to point out that paintball and real world shooting are two hugely different animals. But the communication involved in both paintball and police work are very similar and first responders can take advantage of their tactical training and apply that to their playing style on the field.
Strictly Personal | Justin is a very outgoing and spontaneous person. Growing up he always loved sports and still tries to do as many as possible, when his work schedule allows. He played baseball and basketball through high school and continued on with baseball through college and is a big New York Giants fan. Justin has been with his “amazing and beautiful” wife for about 14 years and they have been married for six. They have a beautiful three year old daughter and another one on the way as well as a five year old Chocolate Lab. Family means everything to Justin and he loves going out on day trips with them, whether it be just to the park in town, shopping, a whole day out to the zoo, or some other amusement or the beach. Family time together means the world to him.