North Bergen Police Department promotes 8 officers, including naming first corporal


The North Bergen Police Department promoted eight officers, including naming their first corporal, at a Township Hall ceremony yesterday afternoon.

Facebook photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Sgt. Jason Appello is now a lieutenant, Det. Anthony Ortiz moved up to sergeant, Det. Gary Lowman assumed the rank of corporal, while Police Officers Andrew Mejia, Feliz Vargas, Michael Whalen, Bryan Suarez, and Samantha Sexton were promoted to detectives.

Police Chief Peter Fasilis said he “could’t believe” how much policing has changed over the past 25 years, joking that new officers used to receive a badge, gun, and nightstick and little else before being told to hit the streets.

Public Safety Commissioner Allan Pascual remarked that North Bergen has remained committed to their police department, making regular promotions and new hires.

“We are promoting new police officers, we are staying on the cutting edge of policing and as the public safety commissioner, it makes me proud,” he said.

State Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, who administered the oaths of office, noted that the township never considered department cutbacks or defunding the police in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

“When the rest of the country were yelling and screaming about defunding the police, we never even thought about it. To me, it was one of the silliest things people could be saying … We already had community policing. We already had our police department working with the children.”

The North Bergen PD has 136 active officers, with nearly two thirds (65 percent) identifying as Latino.

The rank of corporal is seldom seen in New Jersey, but is common elsewhere and falls above a detective and below a sergeant. Corporals still patrol and investigate crimes and have some supervisory duties as well.

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  1. Good afternoon. I’m concerned about the direction of my neighborhood. So are many neighbors I speak to. We are experiencing an increase in dogs walked without leashes (and attacking other dogs), cars driving slowly around the streets (with completely tinted windows), individuals walking around with blasting music coming from radios, people littering without regard, cars parked overnight in firehydrants, yellow painted curb areas and no parking areas, and….cars driving by with the smell of marijuana. This is dangerous.

    We are aware there is a shift in many aspects of life post Covid and with a decrease in punishment for “broken window” crimes. However, we would like to acknowledge this does NOT lead to a safe, comfortable, clean neighborhood. What can be done? We believe a neighborhood watch group can help.

    Police officers can not, at this point in time, be aware of all areas in a town that need monitoring. So, we propose to start a watch group to help facilitate orderly and safe behavior in which we can convey to local administrators and law enforcement.

    Please advise how we can successfully implement a group. Thank you.

    Concerned Citizens