FAIRFIELD, NJ — Fairfield Mayor James Gasparini announced the celebration of National Police Week, which is from May 15 to 22, during Monday's council meeting. He explained that in 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as “Peace Officers Memorial Day” and the week in which it falls as “Police Week.”

The week is an observance in the United States that pays tribute to the local, state, and federal peace officers who have died, or who have been disabled, in the line of duty. The memorial itself takes place on May 15, and citizens are encouraged to recognize and help commemorate the work of law enforcement officers in keeping citizens safe and honoring those who lost their lives in doing so.

May 9 also began the Police Unity Tour, a three-day bicycle ride of more than 300 miles that Sgt. Frank Tracey and Detective Ian Rasmussen are participating in. The ride began in Florham Park and will conclude at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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“The ride helps to bring about awareness to all those law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty,” said Gasparini. “These two officers raised approximately $5,500 for the memorial fund, and the department would like to thank all of those who sponsored these officers.”

Gasparini went on to report that on Saturday, May 6, Sgt. Christopher Niemiec and Sgt. John McNish and members of the West Essex Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) joined several local, county, state and federal law enforcement officers in a community policing event at the Livingston Mall, where there were many crime-prevention displays and police equipment on display. Officers were there to answer any questions residents had.

Another event was the Special Olympic Games on May 3, when Lt. Daniel Dias, Sgt. Christopher Niemiec and Detective Robert Sanger joined other area law enforcement officers at Brookdale Park to present awards to special needs athletes.

Officer Steven D’Argenio, along with sixth grade Churchill School teacher Lisa McIntosh, organized a clothing drive in April called “Dress Our Vets for Success.” Students and D’Argenio intend to present the clothes to veterans at a homeless shelter in the future.

Other police department news includes the graduation of Class 2 Special Police Officers James Ciampi, Paul Cicchetti and Jayson Sickles from the Essex County Police Academy on April 27. The officers have begun their in-house and field training and will be assigned to provide security at the municipal court, the schools and at the many community events that occur throughout the year. They will also support other department initiatives.

“These dedicated men gave up their Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings and every Saturday, for the last six and a half months and at their own expense, in order to serve our community and to begin their path to a full time law enforcement position,” said Chief Anthony G. Manna. “Our department members and I could not be more proud of their efforts and welcome them to our department family.”

This brings the total number of Class 2 special officers in the department to four.

Boy Scout Troop No. 7 led those at the meeting in the Pledge of Allegiance before Troop Leader Ray Stampone came to the podium to explain to the mayor and council why the troop was attending.

Stampone explained that every year the troop comes to a council meeting in order for the scouts to obtain their required Citizenship of the Community Eagle Scout badges. In addition to attending this meeting, he said, the boys must also write a report on what they heard. Stampone said that this is a “good experience for the scouts,” and thanked the mayor and council for their cooperation.

Pictured above, from left to right, are Councilman John LaForgia, Nicholas Stampone, Gary DeFazio, Ryan Coyle, Justin Bonapace, Antonio Zaccaria, Mayor James Gasparini, Marco Mauriello, Thomas Egan, Councilman Thomas Morgan, Ray Stampone and Councilman Joseph Cifelli.