NEWTON, NJ— During the first meeting in February, two officers were sworn into their new roles within the Newton Police Department; Lt. Steven Van Nieuwland and Sgt. Joseph D’Annibale.

With the announcement of not only Chief Michael Richards retiring but also Lt. Mark Zappa, the police department has been going through the process of promotions from within for new leadership in 2020.

During the annual re-organization meeting of the Newton Town Council, three officers were sworn into their new leadership roles, Chief Robert E Osborn Jr., Lt. Michael Monaco, and Sgt. Michael Wolanski.

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At the meeting last week, Van Nieuwland was the first to take his oath. He grew up in Sussex County and currently lives in Wantage with his wife Julia and daughters Paige and Morgan.

He graduated from High Point Regional High School in 1989 and attended Sussex County Community College, where he graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice in 1998.

Van Nieuwland was hired by Chief Michael Meeker in January 2000 and attended the 201Municipal Class at the New Jersey State Police in Sea Girt and upon graduating he was assigned to patrol duty.

In 2004, he was assigned to the Newton police Traffic Bureau and in 2012 he was reassigned to regular patrol duty until 2014, when he was then assigned to the Detective Bureau. In 2017, he was promoted to Sergeant and supervised the Detective Bureau as Detective Sergeant.

Van Nieuwland has been involved in numerous duties and assignments which include firearms instructor, fatal accidents investigations, Drug Recognition Expert, Field training Officer, certified child seat technician and a facilitator of the Share the Keys program. He is also a graduate of the West point Command and Leadership program.

He is looking forward to the challenges of the position of Police Lieutenant and working with the great men and women of the Newton police Department who will make this transition easier. He is excited to serve the residents of the Town of Newton in his new role.

After being sworn in, Chief Osborn said a few words to all those that attended as well as the Newton Town Council.

“Without a doubt, one of the best aspects of my new position is to promote individuals who are deserving of advancement within the Newton Police Department and tonight I am fortunate to be the Chief, when two more such promotions are taking place.

First Steve Van Nieuwland to the rank of Support Services Lieutenant. I first met Steve in 2000 when I was assigned to be his Field Training Officer. As a result, in knew pretty early on that Steve was going to advance through the ranks of out department, if given the opportunity, because he was an individual who possessed important qualities like integrity and character.

As time passed, he took on various responsibilities such as becoming a Drug Recognition Expert, A Traffic Officer, A Directed Patrol Officer and a detective. Though his positions have changed over the last 20 years, one thing remained constant; his willingness to consistently put his best effort into everything that he was select for. From fatal accident Investigations, to becoming a child safety seat technician, to eventually supervising the Detective Bureau, he has taken on many responsibilities during his career and excelled at them all.

However, he also found time to hive back to others, by being President of Local PBA 138 for 12 years, serving as a school board member within his township and coaching his daughter’s athletic teams. Someone once said… to much is given…much is expected. Rest assured, Steve wasn’t given anything. He worked for and earned all that he has achieved.

When I think of Steve Van Nieuwland, I think of a person who is respected, who is selfless, and who is a problem solver. As an officer, he has developed a reputation for always providing supervision and direction, and helping others whenever possible, time and time again. These are all qualities that are not learned but are inherent in his nature and help make Steve the person he is today. Like many others within this fine department of ours, he is an individual who works hard, prides himself on doing a good job and tired to make a difference in the community he serves.

Tonight, it gives me great pleasure to recognize Steve Van Nieuwland on his promotion to Lieutenant. Congratulations to a good friend, a great fellow officer and an even better person and though he may never admit it, we are fortunate to have gim as a member of out department AND as our newest Lieutenant.

Next to be sworn in was Sgt. Joseph D’Annibale who was born and raised in the Town of Newton and currently lives in town with his wife Joanna and daughter Meadow.

D’Annibale attended the Newton School District and graduated from Newton High School in 2001. Shortly after, he began working for the Newton Department of Public Works as a part-time employee. In 2001, he was hired on full-time.

In January 2004, he was hired by the Stillwater Police Department and attended the Morris County Police Academy. A year later he was hired by Blairstown Police Department, but in 2006 the department went through a series of layoffs, and since Sgt. D’Annibale’s goal was always to become a Newton Police officer, he volunteered to be laid off and a fellow officer was able to keep his job in Blairstown.

Newton Police Chief, John Tomasula hired him in 2006, where he served as a patrolman for the next five years. In April 2011, Chief Michael Richards assigned him to the Detective Bureau.

During his time in the Detective Bureau, he was involved in many assignments including Evidence Custodian, Police liaison to the Newton School District, and Firearms instructor. He has been the lead Detective in many cases which included Narcotics offenses, assault, theft, burglary and attempted murder.  He considers the time and experience in the Detective Bureau to be a solid foundation as he continues his career.

With this promotion, he will take on the role of Patrol Sergeant. He is excited and looking forward to working alongside the great Patrol Officers of this department. He also strives to mentor the many new officers of the department.

Once again, Chief Osborn stood up in front of everyone and said a few words about Sgt. D’Annibale.

“After listening to his bio earlier, it is clear that the fact that Joe D’Annibale is being promoted to Sergeant tonight is not only a testament to his work ethic and his perseverance but also an example of someone who set a goal and stayed committed to it. Essentially, it is a perfect example of ‘a good thing happening to a good person’. For those of you who don’t know Joe personally, he was born and raised in newton and has been a lifelong resident. There’s no doubt he bleeds maroon, but as you just heard, his route to the Newton Police Department was not one that others typically follow.

I personally remember Joe when he was with the Newton D.P.W and was working in the rain, within a hole in the road, repairing a sewer line on Spring Street. As I directed traffic, I watched him as he continued to dig with a shovel in order to work towards exposing the portion of the main that needed repairing. Never stopping, never complaining, never asking for a break or for someone else to take his place- for literally what seemed like well over an hour. That is Joe D’Annibale.

Though he always made it known that he wanted to return to Newton and become a police officer, he was hired by Stillwater Police instead. A year later, he transferred to the Blairstown Police Department but still kept his focus on Newton, his hometown. In 2006, in an act of selflessness, he voluntarily offered to be laid off so that a more junior officer could keep his job. How many people do you know that would do that, put others interest and well-being before their own? That is Joe D’Annibale.

He then was hired by the Newton Police Department where he paid his dues before being assigned to the Detective Bureau where he has spent the majority of his career thus far. In the detective bureau, Joe D’Annibale earned the respect and admiration of his co-workers as someone who was very conscientious, diligent and detail oriented. He performed his responsibilities within the bureau and in the patrol division-effectively and proficiently and is known by his peers to be an officer that is, intelligent and one that possesses good common sense. He has always been one to do whatever was asked of him…and do it well. That is Joe D’Annibale.

Within the past few years, he was transferred out of the Detective Bureau and reassigned to the patrol division- for the overall betterment of the department. Joe accepted out decision and never objected or complained once-because it was what was best for our force at that specific time. Often times, he offered suggestions that proved to be beneficial to our agency in making it run more effectively. That is Joe D’Annibale.

Over time Joe D’Annibale (along with Sgt. Tom Tosti) have been instrumental in developing our relationship with the Newton Public Schools. Joe has also established a reputation as being regarded as a very capable and professional officer, not only within our agency but throughout Sussex County, especially in the capacity of a detective. I have all the confidence that Sgt. D’Annibale will continue to serve and conduct his responsibilities in his new position with the same initiative and motivation that he has shown since he came to work for the town of Newton.

So this evening, I congratulate Joe on his promotion to the rank of Sergeant and want to take this time to thank him for being the ultimate team player and for being an officer who has reflected a positive image on our agency for the past 14 years.”

The meeting was adjourned shortly after  the consent agenda was unanimously passed and as there was no public comments and nothing up for discussion by any of the council members.