SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Three officers with the South Plainfield Police Department who recently earned promotions were sworn in Dec. 16 during the borough council’s last meeting of 2019.
Friends, family, and fellow officers gathered at borough hall in support of Peter Papa, who was promoted to captain; Christopher Colucci, who was promoted to lieutenant; and Michael Grasso, who was promoted to sergeant. During the meeting, all three officers, with family members at their side, were officially sworn in by Mayor Matt Anesh and Council President Joe Wolak, chair of the borough’s public safety commission.
“You guys should all be commended for your knowledge of policing but also for your dedication to your career and this community,” said Anesh following the swearing in. “…You have the full faith and support of the entire governing body….and also the entire Borough of South Plainfield…as you start this new chapter in your career.”
The mayor continued, “The department does a great job; it starts with leadership from the top and continues all the way down…Congratulations, I know you will all do very well.”
“I would really like to thank the mayor and council without them, we wouldn’t be able to do this,” said Chief James Parker. “Congratulations to all three of you, it was well-earned [and] your families should be very proud of you, our department is very proud of you. You guys are going to do great, I have all the faith, and you have my support.”
During the meeting, members of the council also extended their congratulations and well wishes to the officers.
“Congratulations to you and your families…” said Councilman Gary Vesce, adding, “As always, my sincerest wish [for you all] is that you return home from work in the same condition that you left. Be safe.”
Councilwoman Christine Faustini said, “I wish all three of you continued success in your new roles and I pray that you are all protected from harm. Thank you to you and your families for your continued service.”
Councilman Robert Bengivenga, Jr. congratulated the officers and reflected on both his professional and personal relationships with the officers. “To sit here, and witness this swearing in is really a tremendous honor. Congratulations to all three of you and congratulations to your families,” he said.
“Congratulations [and] thank you for your service and thank you for the sacrifices your family have given…” said Councilman Derryck White, adding, “I think that we are well positioned, with the diverse background, with the commitment, and with the respect that you have earned from your peers to move the department forward with the current leadership that is in place as well.”
Wolak added, “Just by the large number of people in attendance, you can tell that you guys are really loved in our community and you guys do a really great job. Godspeed to you.”
Captain Peter Papa
A 16-year veteran with the South Plainfield Police Department, Peter Papa is a long-time borough resident and member of the Class of 1999. He went on to attend Engine City Technical Diesel School and worked for a short time in the diesel repair field. He began his law enforcement career with the Seaside Heights Police Department as a Class 1 Special Police Officer in 2002 and, in 2003, graduated as Academic Valedictorian from the Ocean County Police Academy.
In Seaside, Papa was assigned to the criminal investigation division and later went on to work for the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force. He joined the South Plainfield Police Department in 2003 and, in 2010, was promoted to sergeant, serving in that role as a night shift supervisor. In 2015, Papa was promoted to lieutenant and served as a day shift supervisor.
Over the course of his career, Papa has received an Exceptional Duty Medal, four Honorable Service Medals, and three Letters of Commendation as well as commendation from the New Jersey Officer Association for his work while assigned to the county’s narcotics task force.
Papa is the son of Martha and Joseph Papa. He has a daughter, Rayanne, 3, and a sister, Annette. His father, Joseph, retired from the South Plainfield Police Department in 2013.
Lieutenant Christopher Colucci
Christopher Colucci is a lifelong resident of the borough and 21-year veteran of the South Plainfield Police Department. Following graduation from South Plainfield High School, Colucci served in the United States Air Force from 1989 to 1997. Following his service in the military, he worked as a federal officer with the Department of Justice.
In 1998, Colucci was hired by the South Plainfield Police Department and went on to graduate from the New Jersey State Police Academy in Sea Girt. He worked as a patrolman for six years in the operations division before being assigned to the detective bureau. For eight years, Colucci also worked as both a general assignment and juvenile detective before returning to patrol where he was promoted to sergeant.
After starting out as a patrol sergeant, Colucci proposed and established a separate juvenile division that would serve under the department’s detective bureau. Within this division, Colucci served as a detective sergeant while supervising South Plainfield’s three school resource officers and juvenile detective. During this time, he also reinstituted the South Plainfield Junior Police Academy and served as its superintendent.
Throughout his career, Colucci has been an active supporter of the community’s youth and has served as the Police Athletic League (PAL) liaison to the South Plainfield Recreation Commission and PAL president as well as coached youth sports.
Colucci and his wife, Shannon, a teacher with the South Plainfield School District, have been married for 17 years and parents to Chelsey, Grace, and Sophia. He is the son of Nicholas, a United States Army veteran who served in Korea, and the late June. Colucci has a brother, Nicholas, a retired lieutenant with the New Jersey State Police, and a sister, Ellen.
Sergeant Michael Grasso
Michael Grasso, who was born and raised in South Plainfield, is a member of the high school’s Class of 2000 and a 17-year veteran of law enforcement.
Following high school, Grasso attended Kean University for two years before being hired by the Plainfield Police Department. He began his career with the City of Plainfield in 2003 and, the following January, was hired by the Borough of Carteret where he served until his transfer to South Plainfield in October 2005.
Since joining his hometown police department, Grasso has been assigned to the patrol division. In 2012, he was selected to be a K9 officer and, with his partner Kaiser, graduated from the Union County K9 Academy for narcotics and patrol. Over the course of his career, Grasso has received several letters of commendation, service medals, and life-saving medals.
Grasso is married with three children. He is the son of Antonio Grasso and Doris Yorks and his brother, Antonio, also serves as an officer with the South Plainfield Police Department.
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