North Bergen Police Chief Angelo Busacco firmly believes that having the opportunity to receive promotions within the ranks is a necessity to keep morale high within the department.
“It’s absolutely important to be able to have these positions for many reasons,” Busacco said. “There is also a qualified need for superior officers in order to maintain the proper patrol work.”
That’s the reason Busacco was beaming with pride when six veteran police officers received promotions last week, some of whom had been awaiting a step up the police career ladder for more than a year.
“The [Civil Service] sergeant list was about to expire in April,” Busacco said. “So it was important to get this done as soon as possible. We lost a couple of officers through attrition and retirement. We needed to replace them in order to maintain the patrol ranks.”
Four officers, John Mulholland, John Sanford, William Lyons, and Patrick Irwin, were promoted to the rank of sergeant. Former Lieutenant David Ricigliano was promoted to captain, while Miguel “Mike” Vento was elevated to detective, becoming the first Hispanic man to hold that position within the North Bergen Police Department.
“Although we don’t have the rank of detective, this is a promotion for Mike and well deserved,” Busacco said. “A detective is a little higher than a regular patrolman.”
Busacco said that all six promoted police officers are highly decorated veterans, ranging from 10 to 17 years of service.
“They’ve all received several citations and commendations over the years,” Busacco said. “They’re also all Tact Team [tactical rescue] members, which is our equivalent of a SWAT team. They all also have deep experience in patrol work.”
Mulholland served the police department well in the last year as a member of the Police Pipe Band that performed at many services after the World Trade Center tragedy on Sept. 11, 2001.
“He represented North Bergen at a lot of services,” Busacco said. “I think the promotions represented a proud moment for the department, for the officers and their families.”
While the six officers were receiving promotions, eight new patrolmen received their official assignments and were issued an oath of honor for completing the Police Academy training. Twelve recruits headed to the academy 22 weeks ago, and eight completed the training in time to become part of the regular patrol.
They are: Steven Ala, Constantinos Apostolakos, Ramon De Jesus, John Floriani, James Gaughran, Brian Himsel, Mario Ho-Pelaez, and Joaquin Rodriguez.
“We recognized their achievement of graduating from the academy and welcomed them into the regular patrol,” Busacco said. “They’ve all been assigned to their respective patrol squads.”