WEST ORANGE, NJ - On Wednesday, May 21, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. and PBA Local 183, representing the uniformed officers in the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, dedicated a bronze statue in memory of the late Jorge Oliveira. Oliveira, a 10-year veteran of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, was the first Essex County employee to lose his life while serving his country. Oliveira was killed on October 19, 2011 in Afghanistan.
According to the office of the County Executive, "Detective Sgt. Jorge Oliveira, a 10-year member of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, had the rank of Staff Sergeant with NJ Army National Guard, 2nd Battalion, 113th Infantry Division. He was assigned to a security force for provincial reconstruction in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, where he was killed by an improvised explosive device on October 19, 2011. It was his fourth tour of duty, having previously been deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom in 2004-2005, Louisiana to respond to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008-2009".
“Jorge Oliveira loved his family, loved his community and loved his country. He was a dedicated public servant who put his life on the line both here as a Sheriff’s Officer and abroad as a member of the U.S. Army. His death in 2011 struck us hard because he was a member of our Essex County family and was loved by so many,” DiVincenzo said. “I am pleased to partner with PBA Local 183 to create this statue of Jorge. It will create a lasting tribute to Jorge and serve as a constant reminder to us all of how precious life is and how we are all affected by war and violence,” he added.
“Sgt. Oliveira was an exemplary law enforcement officer who always demonstrated the highest degree of professionalism. He was an outstanding role model and treated everyone with dignity and respect,” Sheriff Armando Fontoura said. “His loss created a tremendous void in our department. Being able to see Jorge’s statue every day in this plaza will be comforting to us all. It’s a fitting tribute to an individual who put the safety of his family, community and country before his own,” he noted.
“Jorge’s friends and fellow officers were proud when this plaza was dedicated in his honor in 2011. But we wanted to do more to honor his memory and make sure he was always remembered and his sacrifice was not taken for granted,” PBA Local 183 President Chris Tyminski said. “On behalf of the PBA, I would like to thank all those whose donations supported the creation of the statue and County Executive DiVincenzo for working with us so we could make this lasting gesture to our friend,” he added.
During the program, 150 members of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office and 50 members of the NJ National Guard 2nd Battalion 113th Infantry lined the Armed Forces Memorial. Dan Gregory, a 10-year-old bagpiper with the Essex Shillelaghs, performed the Armed Forces Melody and Amazing Grace. Mark Beckett, a visual and performing arts teacher at Essex County West Caldwell Tech, performed the National Anthem.
The bronze statue is eight feet tall and shows Oliveira in his military gear and will stand in Essex County Memorial Park, located at West Market St. (at Wycliff St.) in Newark. The park is dedicated to the men and women who served their country in seven branches of the U.S. Military. The water fountain located in the center of the 2.7 acre park features a water fountain and monument displaying the flags and seals of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Army National Guard and Air Force National Guard.