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