The North Bergen Police Department swore in Ondrea Borrell-Lugo this afternoon, their 19th female officer to join the ranks.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
She was sworn in alongside her stepfather, Hudson Superior Court Judge Michael Jimenez, and her mother Carmen. State Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco conducted the oath of office.
He noted that Borrell-Lugo was not sworn in with the last class due to clerical issues, thus ended up having a private ceremony today.
“Ondrea is going to be our 19th female police officer in this department,” said Police Chief Peter Fasilis, noting that the average number of female officers in a police department is around 12 percent. North Bergen has approximately 135 sworn officers.
“This would bring us up to around 16 percent, 17 percent: we’d like to keep that going. There’s certain tasks and responsibilities that, you know, especially when dealing with female victims and even female actors, it’s beneficial to have female officers,” he continued, adding that it’s difficult to recruit women.
A lifelong North Bergen resident who graduated from the local high school, Sacco indicated that he’s known Borell-Lugo since she was five years old.
“This is scary because I’m now starting to swear in people I knew when they were children. I think this is wonderful.”
Additionally, Parks and Public Property Commissioner Hugo Cabrera noted he’s also known Borell-Lugo since she was a child, noting that she used to work for him at the township’s recreation center.
“You’re going to get a really good employee there,” he said.
Finance and Revenue Commissioner Julio Marenco also offered his well wishes during the brief ceremony held at Township Hall.
“The department picks up another great officer who is from our community, which we always love and is reflective of our community. I hope she has a long and great career.”
Borrell-Lugo said she was inspired to become a police officer by her stepfather’s work as an attorney.
“I saw a lot of the work that he did, and I also wanted to also help my community,” she said.
Regarding serving her hometown community, “It’s a blessing, honesty. I think it’s great. I’ve lived here the majority of my life, so it’s pretty important to me.”
Fasilis noted she is going to the Passaic Police Academy alone, as opposed to with a class of fellow officers.
“You wouldn’t be the first officer who went by themselves,” he noted, explaining that since the police are a paramilitary organization, the academy is intentionally tough to ensure cadets are ready for thinking fast on the street when armed.
“You really want to push them to what see their demeanor is under duress.”