FAIRFIELD, NJ – Having just completed the celebration of Christmas, the Fairfield mayor and council recognized the township police department’s initiative to collect more than 1,500 toys for this year’s Toys for Tots drive.

Speaking at the council’s meeting on Tuesday, Police Chief Anthony G. Manna told Fairfield Mayor James Gasparini and council members that special kudos should go to Officer Steven D’Argenio, a former U.S. Marine, who coordinated the department’s efforts for this drive.

“The community’s response was overwhelming once again,” said Manna. “We would like to thank all those who supported the drive.”

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This was the second-consecutive year that the Fairfield Police Department registered as a collection site for the U.S. Marine Corps’ annual Toys for Tots Campaign. The public and the officers brought new and unwrapped toys to sites throughout the Township of Fairfield.

“Officer D’Argenio did a superb job to get many stores in the township involved with the drive,” said Manna. “He was involved in coordinating it all. It was wonderful to see Santa sitting with all the toys at our new recreation complex before they were distributed to children in need in Paterson and elsewhere.”

In keeping with the holiday theme, Manna said one of the Fairfield officers played Santa at the “Cheer Me Up” Foundation’s holiday party at Nanina’s in the Park in Belleville for underprivileged kids and children with special needs.

“This was one of the nicest holiday events I’ve been to for children who are severely disabled,” said Manna. “I was very moved by seeing the smiles on these kids’ faces, and next year we’re going to send more officers to this event.”

Gasparini wished everyone a happy New Year at the meeting and urged residents to be careful when driving on New Year’s Eve.

In other news, numerous resolutions were passed at the meeting—most pertaining to the authorization of contract renewals and salary increases.

The council authorized the hiring of officials for basketball, baseball and soccer for the Fairfield Recreation Department.

It also renewed the hotel licenses for the year 2017 for the Hampton Inn, LaQuinta Hotel, Crowne Plaza, Comfort Inn and Best Western Executive Inn. Manna said his officers keep a close eye on these hotels, as well as Target, to make sure that everyone using these buildings remains safe.

“In this day and age when hotels and large stores are soft targets we all have to be extra vigilant,” he said.

The council’s next meeting will be its Reorganization Meeting on Jan. 3 at 6 p.m.