CEDAR GROVE, NJ - The Cedar Grove Town Council celebrated police officers at the swearing in ceremony of the most recently town council meeting.

The municipal court was full at the Monday, April 3 meeting as the town councilmen welcomed and swore in new and promoted officers to the police department. The crowd included officers from neighboring departments, proud residents, and former town employees.

First, former Lt. Joseph Cirasa was sworn in as the newest chief of the department, taking over for Chief Richard Vanderstreet, who retired. Mayor Peter Tanella introduced Cirasa and detailed his long and impressive career. This career included his time in the United States Navy, his numerous accolades and awards in the department and his many years serving the town of Cedar Grove as a police officer and fire fighter. Tanella then read Cirasa the oath with Cirasa’s wife and sons at his side.

Sign Up for E-News

“I would just like to thank my wife Nancy for all those years of sacrifices, all those nights alone with the kids, missing the games, all the soccer games,” Cirasa said before thanking the mayor, council and Vanderstreet.

Senator Kevin O’Toole was also in attendance and congratulated Cirasa on his new role. He also presented Vanderstreet with a proclamation from the senate and offered kind words about the former chief’s time with the department.

“You have been a role model and instilled in our leaders the very best in education and preparation,” O’Toole said of Vanderstreet. “You are the very best of who we are.”

Following the swearing in of Cirasa and the recognition of Vanderstreet’s accomplishments, former Sgt. Andrew McPhail was sworn in as a lieutenant in the department and Robert McDermott was sworn in as a sergeant.

McPhail holds 29 years of service and a criminal justice degree from Bloomfield College, and was promoted to sergeant in 2011. McDermott has 10 years of service under his belt as well as an associate’s degree from Essex County College in liberal arts.

Officers Kyle Vergano and Justin Westra were also sworn in as police officers in the department for the first time.

Vergano graduated from Wayne Valley High School in 2010 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware. Westra graduated from Eastern Christian High School and served in the U.S. Army as an airborne infantryman from 2010 to 2013 before earning an honorable discharge. He then attended Bergen County Community College’s criminal justice program.

Before the new officers recited the oath and began their careers with the Cedar Grove Police Department, O’Toole offered them advice and words of encouragement.

“For the new police officers, learn from what’s been done by the people who have been doing this for a long time. Make us feel safe at night. Make the sacrifice of a lifetime that you’re making. Make us proud, which you will,” O’Toole said. “You follow what [Vanderstreet] did. If you are one tenth of the person he is, one tenth of the leader he is, of the professional he is, of the community man he is, of the family man he is, you will be a success in this life.”