BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Louis Veneiza was sworn in as Bloomfield Fire Department Chief in a ceremony that also saw seven new police officers sworn in and promotions within the fire department.
Master of Ceremonies Captain Joseph Coletta welcomed those gathered for the ceremony in the filled-to-capacity Bloomfield Council Chambers. Among the dignitaries in attendance were the Bloomfield Township Council, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, and members of police and fire departments from surrounding communities.
After the presentation of colors and bagpipes, Mikaela Benkert sung the National Anthem, after which those assembled, especially those in the corridor, applauded loudly. The invocation was given by Pastor Anthony Ventola of Agape Worship Center before the formal portion of the ceremony began.
Bloomfield Mayor Michael J. Venezia used his time at the microphone to speak of the honor being a part of the ceremony. He brought laughter to the house when he reminded his older brother (Chief Louis Venezia) that although Lou is older, he still works for him (Mike.) Assemblyman Ralph Caputo used his time at the podium to recognize those being honored in the ceremony.
Bloomfield Township Manager Matthew U. Watkins spoke of how Bloomfield has changed significantly since 2014. He referred to Bloomfield as "a hot market, with new families moving into town, and new leadership" in the community. He spoke of the financial stability of the community and the 30% drop in crime. Watkins concluded with "let's get back to work, we have accomplished a lot, and have more to do."
Public Safety Director Samuel DeMaio spoke of the support of the families. Many of the police officers and fire fighters, including those from other communities, attended with their spouses and children demonstrating the sense of family that permeates the first responder community. So many people attended the ceremony that the crowd spilled out into, and filled. the corridor outside chambers.
DeMaio spent his career in Newark and Bloomfield in the police departments. He has been in the role of Public Safety Director, overseeing fire as well as police, for about a year. He described fire fighters most proud moment is to save lives. "Every day you don't know if its going to be your last" DeMaio said, referring to the danger that those who serve in the police and fire departments face on a regular basis.
Mayor Venezia returned to the podium to begin swear in new police officers and those being promoted in the fire department.
New to the Bloomfield Police Department are Rana Khalid, Joseph Manley, Jacky Chan, Roger Petroche, Brian DiMarco, Matthew Mazzola, and Joseph Lembo. As a part of their swearing in, they swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
In the fire department, Thomas Wilson was sworn in as Fire Official, Martin Kaczmaraczyk and Robert Griffin were sworn in as Fire Captains, Robert Barra and Brian McDade were sworn in as Deputy Fire Chiefs.
Lou Venezia was sworn in as Fire Chief by his brother the mayor. Lou then took to the podium to to thank all of the assembled leaders stating that he is looking "forward to exceeding expectations." Looking toward his his family he recognized the sacrificed they made so that he could get to this place in his career. Special recognition was given to the North Hudson Fire Chief for his mentorship. Lou told those assembled that he is looking forward to bringing the best equipment and best training to the department. Lou concluded by stating that he is looking forward to "serve the township of Bloomfield as one."
Pastor Ventola closed the ceremony in prayer and gave the call to "we go out in peace and love."
Venezia and Coletta are minority shareholders of TAPinto Bloomfield and TAPinto Nutley.