EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Nineteen men took on new roles as members of the East Brunswick Police Department Wednesday night, educated men, some with master's degrees and all with years of professional training.
One played football for St. Bart's Buffaloes. One served as a United States Marine in Iraq. One received the Valor Award from the New Jersey State PBA. One was a wrestler who got a gold medal while representing the EBPD at the International Police and Fire Games. Several are experts in narcotics and DUI investigations. Another one has investigated all of the fatal motor vehicle accidents in East Brunswick for the past two years. One has worked in community policing. Another guy is a parachutist. A few went to college to major in science and math. The chief even trains police officers as a professor at Rutgers University, Middlesex, Morris, and Mercer County Colleges. The EBPD is not your grandfather's police force.
Judging by the training taken and the expertise shown by the 19 officers who were either promoted or sworn in at the Magistro Performing Arts Center at Hammarskjold School this week, the new and promoted members of the EBPD represent a contemporary law enforcement team - although they would say a family - of willing and able caretakers of the township's safety.
The EB PAC was at capacity on July 31, filled with family members, fellow first responders, and local politicians eager to see the EB 19 take on their new roles. Sure, the event drew a lot of attention from notables like the East Brunswick Township Council, Township Administrator Joe Criscuolo, Assemblywoman Nancy J. Pinkin, Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak, State Senator Bob Smith, EB Superintendent Victor Valeski, BOE members Vicki Becker and Mark Czismar, Mayor Ed Seeley of Spotswood, and State Senator Patrick Diegnan. But the night really wasn't about the hoopla and bigwigs. It was about the East Brunswick family of police officers and those who support them. All the newly-posted were joined by their family members at the swearing-in as wives, children, moms, and girlfriends held the Bibles as the officers, sergeants, lieutenants, and the Chief took their oaths of office. The feeling of support and admiration was in the room was palpable, and the bond was strong.
Mayor Brad Cohen called the ceremony "a once-in-a-generation event," as so many changes were taking place at one time following the retirement of six members of the EBPD, including the Chief, last month. When swearing in the new EBPD Police Chief Frank LoSacco, Cohen quoted Ronald Reagan, saying, "Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid." Chief Losacco said, "I promise I won't let you down," as he took the oath in the company of his family.
Father Tom Walsh of St. Bart's, the offical EBPD Chaplain, offered a prayer for the retirees and the new leaders and offciers in East Brunswick. Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey, who is moving on to a new prosecutorial role in Camden County, talked about the responsibility of law enforcemnt to be receptive to the community.
"The retirees have set a high bar, " said LoSacco, as he began the swearing in process of one Captain, six Lieutenants, six Sergeants, and five patrolmen. Throught the program, he stressed his own responsibility to keep the department and its staff "effective, efficient, and equipped."
Then the real family affair began, as families joined their officers in unity and support.
The closing remarks of Reverend Erica Munoz of Aldersgate Methodist Church anchored the event, letting those in the room that they were united in the cause of community protection and service.
Those promoted/sworn in at the ceremony include the following:
Chief Frank LoSacco
Captain Drew Walsh
Lieutenant Frank Sutter
Lieutenant Wade Gordon
Lieutenant Robert Zielinksi
Lieutenant Joseph Kowal
Lieutenant Donald Carruth
Lieutenant Charles Bobal
Sergeant Glenn Tobasko Jr.
Sergeant Brian Ventura
Sergeant Michael Egan
Sergeant Anthony DeSantis
Sergeant Daniel Unkel
Sergeant Matthew Unkel
Patrolman Michael stewart
Patrolman Mitchell Ngai
Patrolman Shawn Yeager
Patrolman Michael Manning