FAIRFIELD, NJ — Five new police officers— Rick Alves, Jesse Schnackenberg, Ryan Cleary, Kevin Chen and Vincent Purcell—were officially sworn in as members of the Fairfield Police Department (FPD) on Tuesday during a ceremony held at the Fairfield Township Council meeting.
Police Chief Anthony Manna said the local police department is “truly a family” and that its officers “look out for each other and take care of each other.”
“Each day, we collectively work at a common goal of making this community safe and a place where people want to live and work,” said Manna, also acknowledged the support of the governing body. “We are happy to have you all on our team.”
Manna introduced each officer as they were sworn in before family and friends.
Officer Rick Alves grew up in Wayne, and his father, Rick, is a retired Bloomfield police officer. Alves graduated from Don Bosco Preparatory High School in 2015 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in law and society with a minor in crime and justice studies from Ramapo College.
In March of 2018, Alves was hired by the FPD as a class II special police officer. He attended the Essex County Police Academy, where he was awarded the Dr. A. Zachary Yamba Award for having the highest academic average of all recruits in his class.
Officer Jesse Schnackenberg grew up in Rutherford, graduating from Rutherford High School in 2009 before attending Bergen Community College, where he earned an associate’s degree in science. In 2012, he joined the United States Marine Corps, where he served as a radio operator until his honorable discharge in 2016.
Schnackenberg then attended Willian Paterson University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in integrated math and science. He then attended the Morris County Police Academy as an alternate route candidate, graduating in 2019.
Officer Ryan Cleary was raised in Pompton Lakes and graduated from Pompton Lakes High School in 2008. In 2010, he joined the United States Navy and first served on the USS Theodore Roosevelt as a nuclear mechanical operator and inspector.
Cleary went on to serve in the security forces at Sub Base New London and received an honorable discharge in January 2019. In February 2019, he attended the Essex County Police Academy as an alternate route candidate. He graduated in July 2019.
While at the academy, Cleary was appointed the recruit commanding officer, earned the instructor’s award for leadership and set a new academy record in the 300-meter sprint, beating the old record by 34 seconds.
Officer Kevin Chen grew up in Livingston, graduating from Livingston High School in 2010. He went on to attend Kean University and eventually transferred to Rutgers University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in anthropology.
Chen attended the Mercer County Police Academy and graduated in 2019. He was most recently employed as a police officer with the Princeton University Public Safety Department. In addition to English, Officer Chen also speaks Mandarin.
Officer Vincent Purcell was described by his new chief as persistent, as he was not hired during his first time interviewing with the FPD. According to Manna, Purcell kept coming back for interviews and said he wouldn’t stop coming back until he was accepted.
“This shows perseverance pays off,” said Manna.
Officer Purcell grew up in Cedar Grove and graduated from DePaul Catholic High School in 2012. He first attended St Peter's University and transferred to Montclair State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in justice studies with a minor in business.
Purcell attended the Morris County Police Academy as an alternate route candidate, graduating in 2018. Prior to his appointment with the FPD, he worked as a dispatcher with both the Verona and Glen Ridge Police Departments. He is also an emergency medical technician and a member of the Cedar Grove Fire Department.
The newly sworn in police officers thanked Chief Manna and the mayor and council for giving them this opportunity as well as their families for their support.