UNION, NJ – Three retiring Union police officers had their final walkout Tuesday morning with peers, family and friends on hand to wish them well.
Sergeant Richard Giunta has over twenty-eight years of police service. He began his public service in 1990 as a volunteer auxiliary police officer in Union before joining the force full time in 1993 as a regular sworn officer.
Union Police Director Dan Zieser said Giunta, born and raised in Union, graduated from Union High School and attended the John Stamler Police Academy where he was awarded the Anthony Lordi Award for Academic Excellence.
After a one year inaugural assignment in Union Center, Giunta returned to the main patrol division where he devoted the mainstay of his career. He was a certified breathylizer operator and recipient of numerous PBA awards.
In 2005, Giunta was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. In addition to his patrol duties, for many years he regularly and diligently conducted Property and Record Room Audits to help ensure departmental integrity.
“Sergeant Giunta will forever be remembered by his friends and colleagues here at the Union Police Department for his quick wit and quiet demeanor,” said Zieser. “He was well respected by the men under his command as well as all of us here.”
“Sergeant Richard Giunta, the Union Police Department wishes to thank and salute you for your service and dedication.”
Officer Keith Brochu served for twenty-five years in Union. Brochu, known as “The Falcon”, served twenty-one years on the nightshift, earning numerous departmental citations and PBA Awards including two command citations for heroism. Brochu served on the Emergency Response Team for 12 years as well as the departmental Haz Mat / Extraction Team. He was a Field Training Officer and M4 qualified.
“As Keith walks out today, we not only thank him for his service and dedication, but the service and legacy of the Brochu family,” said Zieser. “Keith’s father, retired Sgt. Doug Brochu and Keith’s mother Martha instilled the values of honesty, loyalty, service and dedication upon both of their children, Keith and Chantel. The Brochu family is yet another example of how the True Blue Spirit flows in our veins.” (Sgt. Chantel Brochu retired from the Union Police Department in June 2017.)
“Keith didn’t know it, but he began his career many years before 1993 when he was officially sworn in,” continued Zieser. “Keith’s career began when he was first saw his dad, Doug in uniform, headed off to work each day. Well before the phrase, “take your child to work day” was born, both Keith and Chantel could be seen tagging along with their dad at police headquarters, quietly yet attentively taking it all in. It was no wonder, that both Keith and Chantel would soon follow. This is not just a tribute to their Dad, but a tribute to our badge, the badge of honor.”
Zieser said Brochu’s ‘Falcon’ designation came from his ability to soar over the streets of Union in a protective manner. “We want to thank you Officer Keith Brochu for your 25 years of service. We wish you a happy and healthy retirement,” said Zieser.
Officer Drew Wirkus also retired on Tuesday with twenty-five years of service. Wirkus joined the department in 1993 as a civilian dispatcher. In 1996, he was sworn in as a full time police officer.
According to Zieser, after a short stint in Patrol, Wirkus was transferred to Staff Services where “his expertise and passion for firearms and radio technology could blossom. Drew’s unique knowledge of police gadgetry was cultivated and put to good use here at the Union Police Department.”
Wirkus played key roles in the maintenance and implementation of two new communication systems. Designated the department’s Communication’s System Administrator, Wirkus oversaw all communications equipment at headquarters and throughout the township. He also assisted in civilian and police officer dispatch training.
“Equally noteworthy in Drew’s service,” said Zieser, “was his knowledge and passion for firearm’s training, tactics, nomenclature and safety. Drew was certified as a Firearm’s Instructor, PR 24 Instructor and advanced on to become Lead Range/Training Instructor.”
Wirkus is a certified armorer and a State and PTC Certified Range Master. He served on the County UCERT, County Haz Mat and Union Police Department’s Emergency Response Team.
“Officer Drew Wirkus, we would like to thank you for your high level of dedication, knowledge, confidence and compassion,” said Zieser. “Fittingly, the Township of Union and your colleagues wish to salute you and wish you a happy and healthy retirement.”