FLEMINGTON, NJ – A career that began in the Air Force and led to the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office came to a close yesterday, as Det. Sgt. Ed DeFilippis was launched into retirement.
A ceremony known as a ‘walk out” was conducted outside the County Courthouse as elected officials, law enforcement officers, a bagpiper, friends and family gathered to wish DeFilippis well on his journey. His next stop is retirement in Boynton Beach, Florida.
John J. Kuczynski, who is the Chief of Detectives in the Prosecutor’s Office, served as master of ceremonies for the brief event.
A blessing was offered by Rev. Ken Brighenti of St. Magdalen’s Church here.
“Ed and I go back a very long way,” Brighenti said. “My first assignment was his home parish in Bernardsville.”
For that reason, Brighenti came to know much of DeFilippis’ family. That includes his son Michael who is a combat decorated soldier who served in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan; another son, Joseph, who is on active duty in the Marine Corps and stationed with the 2nd Marine Air Wing at Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, NC; and his granddaughter Avery.
Brighenti also revealed that he knows one of DeFilippis’ favorite hobbies – winemaking.
DeFilippis has performed many roles during his career in public service.
After the Air Force, he attended and graduated from Farleigh Dickinson University. He then worked for the Riverdale Police Department in Morris County before joining the Bernardsville Police Department. DeFilippis is a 35-year member of the Bernardsville Fire Department.
DeFilippis transferred to the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office in 2008, and was promoted to sergeant in 2014.
He served in the Major Crimes Unit; the Bureau of Professional Standards, where he later became Bureau Chief; Deputy Commander of the Narcotics Task Force; Commander of the Arson Unit; and Commander of the Fugitive Unit.
DeFilippis is also a graduate New Jersey Chiefs Police Association West Point Command & Leadership Academy.
For many years, DeFilippis served as the Public Information Officer under Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III. DeFilippis quickly established himself as a friend of the press, who he treated with fairness and respect. He was especially tolerant of reporters who prodded him for details he was not always able to provide.
The formalities included some lighter moments. A glass plaque Kuczynski had planned to present to DeFilippis was broken before the ceremony began as a gust of wind blew it off the lectern. Remarking about the damage during the ceremony – and in an oblique reference to the Jewish tradition of breaking glass at a wedding ceremony – Kuczynski wished DeFilippis “Mazel Tov.”
Kearns thanked DeFilippis for his efficiency and service – and tolerance. DeFilippis pronounces his name as though it were spelled “DiPhillips,” but for years Kearns mispronounced the name as it appears, with three syllables. DeFilippis never complained.
DeFilippis said he was honored to have served and have earned Kearns’ confidence and trust. As he wished his well-wishers the best, he told them, “Keep your eye on the prize.”
Kuczynski promised to replace the broken plaque, which contains a quote from Henry Ford: “To do more for the world, than the world does for you – that is success.”