SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Captain Joseph Zito has retired from the Scotch Plains police department as of February 1, 2021.

Captain Zito was hired by the Scotch Plains Police Department in January 1996 and was awarded the Anthony Lordi award for top academics in constitutional law. He served in patrol from 1996 to 2002, receiving numerous letters of commendation and led the department in self-initiated arrests in 1998 and 1999. He also was assigned to the Union County Emergency Response and SWAT Teams where he also served as and FBI trained hostage and crisis negotiator. In April 2002 Joe was promoted to Sergeant and assumed the duties of a patrol supervisor. In 2006, he became a lieutenant and served as a platoon commandeer until June 2019.

Career Highlights:

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  • In 2004, Zito investigated a kidnapping in progress with retired Captain Belford, where they located a woman hidden in a home and arrested the suspect.
  • In 2007, Zito responded to a house fire on Plainfield Ave., entered the home and escorted one person to safety. For this act of bravery, he received a Father Nelligan Award.
  • In 2009, Zito responded to a motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian on Park Avenue where he and other officers lifted the vehicle off the victim who was trapped underneath. He received a Life Saving Award.
  • In 2009 Zito responded to Fanwood on a report of an armed individual who had assaulted a woman, shot and killed a dog and threatened officers. He temporarily took command of the scene as the ranking officer, evacuated surrounding homes and set up a perimeter. During this incident Zito, along with other officers, were temporarily pinned down by the suspect who fired at them using a high-powered rifle. He received a Combat Cross, 200 Club, and NJLEO Valor Award.

"Joseph Zito was promoted to the rank of captain on August 15, 2019, and was an outstanding patrol captain," said Chief Ted Conley. “Captain Zito was a great motivator for our personnel and was a true role model for all of our younger officers to look up to.” 

Mayor Joshua G. Losardo and the Scotch Plains Township Council commended Captain Zito for his many years of service to the residents of Scotch Plains 

“We thank you for your service and wish you much luck and success in the future,” Mayor Losardo said.

Related: Scotch Plains Police Honor New Captain at Township Council Meeting