With North Bergen Police Chief Robert Dowd officially retiring after 26 years of service yesterday, the township held a private ceremony to swear in Deputy Chief Peter Fasilis as his successor, the 10th chief of police, this afternoon.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
During the ceremony, which took place on the steps of Township Hall, Mayor Nick Sacco noted that Dowd took office during Hurricane Sandy and that Fasilis took over as chief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sacco performed the oath of office before Fasilis addressed the crowd, who noted that he was taken aback by the lengths that were taken to ensure he received a formal ceremony.
“I can’t all of you enough for putting this together, I’m overwhelmed and I’m very surprised. I’m usually not at a loss for words, but I’m at a loss for words today. It was really tough to be in a celebratory mood with everything that’s going on these days,” Fasilis said.
“This disaster by far is probably the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life time. We as a community, we as police department, we as a state, we’re gonna get through this. This is what we do, we overcome, we’ve don’t it before, we’re gonna do it again.”
Fasilis, a North Bergen High School alumnus, joined the NNPD in 1998, he served as a uniformed patrol officer assigned to the Patrol Division. In 2005 he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant where he was assigned to the Special Services Division.
Then in 2007, Fasilis was promoted to Lieutenant and served as the Training Division Commander. Three years later, he was promoted to captain where he commanded the Administrative Services Division.
Fasilis was next promoted deputy chief in 2012, where he served as the Executive Officer of the 135-member department.
Additionally, he co-chaired the Hudson County SWAT exploratory committee and was instrumental in the formation of the Hudson County Regional SWAT Team.
Dowd announced his retirement back in February and the township simultaneously revealed that Fasilis would be his replacement at the time.
On Thursday, officers from throughout the region participated in a parade of police vehicles to honor Dowd.
Participating in the drive-by were vehicles from North Bergen, Guttenberg, West New York, Union City, Weehawken, Hoboken, Jersey City, Secaucus, East Newark, Harrison, the Hudson County Prosecutors Office, Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, Hudson County Corrections, New Jersey Transit Police, Port Authority Police, and others.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Dowd was presented with a framed and folded American flag by Fasilis.
The final words recited over the police radio were, “Chief, thank you for your 26 plus years of service to the Township of North Bergen. You are officially off duty. Enjoy your retirement.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated with new information.