NEWTON, NJ – After nearly 37 years of service Newton Police Lieutenant Mark Zappa had his final walk out on Friday afternoon. Zappa’s ceremony was made special, having his son Jared be able to participate as a fellow officer.
With many family members there to greet him as he walked the gauntlet of officers, led by bagpiper Special Officer Stephen Moran, the final call went out over the police radio from both the dispatcher and Jared Zappa.
Badge number 11 began his career with the Newton Police Department in May 1983 as a part time dispatcher. In January 1986 Zappa was made a Class II Special Officer.
He was sworn into the Newton Police Department as a patrolman in February 1989 and was promoted to Sergeant on October 1, 2000.
When he climbed to the rank of Lieutenant in March 2006, his roles changed and he took on the added responsibility of maintaining department equipment. His work on computers, radios, patrol cars, CAD and even printers and fax machines earned him the moniker “Mr. Fixit.”
His new rank also had him overseeing crossing guards, uniforms, new civilian employees, public safety telecommunicator background checks and Cencom scheduling. Zappa was also the Communications Supervisor of all systems and oversaw training and tracking the dispatchers.
As if that was not enough, Zappa was the department TAC officer and liaison to the Office of Emergency Management.
“He will sorely be missed,” Chief Robert Osborn said. “He was responsible for numerous things, which he did well. While I have all confidence in his replacement, but today is about acknowledging Mark’s service to the community.”
For the last three years, Zappa had the honor of serving alongside his son, Jared, Badge number 41.
His son participated in the final call.
Jared Zappa recollected being brought to the police station as a young boy, “something I looked forward to.” He said he always knew he would follow in his father’s footsteps and was grateful for the chance to serve in the same department and “this great community.”
“It’s an honor and privilege to call you both Dad and Lieutenant,” Jared Zappa said. “Thank you for being the inspiration and role model you have been and continue to be for myself and Steven. You’ve taught us very early on about sacrifice and how to be the best men we can be.”
Addressing the group gathered behind the police department, Zappa said, "I thank everybody for coming. I know it's cold. See ya'."