SOMERVILLE, NJ – Their fellow officers crowded into the Borough Hall meeting room Monday night along with family and friends as the police department hired two new officers and promoted two others who have been on the force for a combined 38 years.

Promoted to Lieutenant was Edward Purcell, a 24-year veteran who has served 14 years in the detective bureau.

Promoted to sergeant was Jeffrey Herbert, a 14-year veteran who has served the past five years in the detective bureau.

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Taking the oath of office as the department’s newest officers were Maurice Alvarez and Michael Sergi.

The new hires restore the police department to its optimum operating level of 32 police officers, according to Chief Dennis Manning.

“This place has never been better with the outstanding group we have,” Manning said, nodding to the officers who attended the ceremony, many of whom were off-duty. All of those officers have been hired over the past 14 years, the same period of time Brian Gallagher has served as mayor.

Gallagher, who presided at his next-to-last Borough Council meeting before he is sworn in as a Somerset County Freeholder next month said “This is one of the things I’m going to miss the most.”

The mayor said the police are deserving of borough residents' thanks and recognition “every single day.”

“You’ll come to know a lot of good people,” Gallagher told Alvarez and Sergi. “Wave hello,” he added, “and catch the bad guys.”