Three veteran North Bergen police officers: John Stahl, Thomas Yfantis, and Joseph Gorrin, were sworn in as lieutenant and sergeant, respectively, at North Bergen Town Hall yesterday.
North Bergen Police Chief Robert Dowd introduced the officers by describing their history of service within the township.
“John [Stahl] is beginning his 25th year with the department. He’s had a variety of assignments over his career. He was on loan with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office in their Rapid Deployment Force. He brings a wealth of experience in the patrol division. He’s been acting as his squad commander, he’s really doing a lieutenant’s job the past three months, so this is a long time coming for him,” Dowd said.
“Detective Joe Gorrin joined the force in 1996, and he’s also had a variety of assignments such as community policing. He’ll be in the patrol division as a sergeant, and also brings a wealth of experience. This is a long time coming for him, and I couldn’t be prouder for him because we couldn’t get a better guy. He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, and he’s going to make a great sergeant,” said Dowd.
“Lastly, Detective Thomas Yfantis started his career in the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office in 2004. He transferred to the North Bergen Police Department in 2007. He’s worked in patrol, traffic and he’s on our motorcycle squad. He’s a go-to guy, you ask him to do something, and he does it. His loyalty is amazing,” Dowd noted.
Before the officers placed their their hands on the bible to accept the oath of office and oath of allegiance from Mayor Nick Sacco, he spoke briefly about the significance of promoting officers to leadership positions within the North Bergen Police Department.
“A police force can only be as effective as its leadership, and you have great leadership from the chief and his entire staff. You now see people being promoted; without that opportunity to move forward the department stagnates,” began Sacco.
“And a lot of places don’t promote. In fact, many years ago we were very slow in doing it. But we now realize that if we’re going to have a confident police force people have to see that there is advancement and that they can use their talents properly. I know all three officers here today are going to do an outstanding job. They’ve worked very hard to earn their promotions.”
Dowd also stressed the importance of providing leadership to younger officers, as well as the critical role the NBPD has played in helping the township secure a top 25 listing of a national study that assesses a city’s overall public safety.
“This has been a really great year for North Bergen Police. We’ve promoted many people already, we’ve hired, we’re about to hire in the next two weeks another eight special officers. The department is growing to its largest size it’s ever been, with 135 sworn officers, with civilian employees we max out at 180 employees in the department,” Dowd explained.
“From all this hard work, the department has seen great results. Last year we were named to two different national studies as being the safest community in Hudson County, the sixth safest in New Jersey and the 24th safest in the United States. This year, same national study, looked at over 13,000 cities in the United States with a population of over 50,000 or more, and we are the 23rd safest city in the country, something that I am very proud of.”
In an interview after the ceremony, we asked Yfantis for his reaction to being sworn in as the department’s newest sergeant.
“It’s an amazing feeling. I can’t thank the administration enough, from the mayor to Chief Dowd, to my lieutenant. I want to thank everybody, it’s an unbelievable feeling,” he exclaimed.