The bagpipes echoed in the room and filled the Dorothy Harrington City Council Chambers on Jan. 10, not in a dirge of sorrow, but in a harmony of hope as Bayonne held a swearing-in ceremony for 11 new police officers.
“On Feb. 15, 1983, almost 30 years ago, I sat in these very same seats these young men and women are sitting in right now to be sworn in as a police officer in the Bayonne police department. Aside from the marriage to my wife and the birth of my children, it was one of the proudest days of my life because it allowed me the opportunity to serve the citizens of the great City of Bayonne,” said Mayor Mark A. Smith recalled as he addressed the new officers.
“For 26 years I wore that uniform with pride, as you do now. You began this process a while back. Perhaps you looked at an announcement in the newspaper, got an application and sent in a check, and thousands upon thousands in the State of New Jersey took the entrance exam to get to this position, and then you start to cull the herd down, and you were brought here and had a very intensive background investigation, and were scrutinized and looked at 10 different ways under every microscope we could fathom to find to ensure that the City of Bayonne was in fact hiring the finest to protect us – to protect me and my children.”
He thanked the officers for the work they already performed as cadets with the department during Hurricane Sandy and the blackout that followed.
“I had the opportunity to work with these beautiful young people during Hurricane Sandy and I was inspired. At times when I felt like dragging and slowing it down, these young people could not do enough for their fellow citizens,” Smith said. “I get choked up just thinking about what I observed with these young people. That’s how I know that we chose the right individuals to protect our families, to protect this city.”
He predicted that the newly sworn police would combine aspects of the jobs of philosophers, sociologists, and priests.
“I hope 30 years from now you can look back on healthy, full careers full of joy, filled with happiness,” Smith said. Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, he added, “If one life exists because of you, then you might consider yourself a success.”
Smith also thanked Lt. William Parsley and Sgt. Raymond Skalski for the roles that they played in training the new recruits, and also credited Deputy Chiefs Drew Niekrasz and Charles Ryan.
Corporation Counsel Charles D’Amico from the Bayonne Law Department administered the Oath of Office. He said that the new officers have the duty to serve and “to work to the best of their abilities.”
“I had the opportunity to work with these beautiful young people during Hurricane Sandy and I was inspired.” – Mayor Mark Smith
“For 144 years, the men and women of the Bayonne police department have protected the citizens of Bayonne and did so with pride and distinction,” said Public Safety Director Jason O’Donnell. “We have become one of the premier departments in the United States of America, and now you’re a big part of that proud history, and this comes with a lot of responsibility to uphold those traditions. The thing you’re going to learn about your job is that every day that you work, you’re going to affect the lives of countless people. And that’s a feeling that I hope you never get tired of. Service to man above self is a great and noble cause.”
City Council President Terry Ruane said to the new officers, “I can’t imagine how difficult is to go out there every day and do what you have to do.”
While he understands that as police officers they will have to deal with people that break the law, he noted that there are also a lot of law-abiding citizens that depend on the officers, too.
“They count on you every day to protect them, and that’s an awesome responsibility to take on,” Ruane said, asking them not to lose the spirit and drive they had coming into the swearing-in ceremony.
Police Chief Ralph Scianni observed that the 11 police officers were the first new class under his command since he assumed leadership of the department last year. He explained to the new recruits that the public would be observing them in action, both on and off duty. “You have entered the fishbowl,” he advised them. Chief Scianni urged them to employ their community policing skills as they begin their tasks. He complimented the officers for doing “a fantastic job” staffing the shelters in Bayonne following Hurricane Sandy.
Father John Fencik, Bayonne’s 9-1-1 Coordinator and PBA Chaplain, offered both the invocation and benediction at the event, and asked God to “direct them along the pathway you wish them to travel in union with your plan of salvation, teach them to lead by example, inspire them with your presence. May they always be an instrument of your peace in this community. Grant them the ability to perform the tasks that lay ahead in their lives. Make them to be shining lights for the glory of your kingdom as they go about their daily responsibilities. Keep them and us all mindful of the needs of others, and bring true peace into our lives.”
Bayonne welcomes 11 new police officers
The new police officers are: Anthony Pelliccio, Anthony Tufano, Antonio Spano, John McGimpsey, Juan Villegas, William Dundas V, Melissa Morales, Matthew Tarbett, Elvis Morel, Erik Quintana, and Richard Killmer.
Police Officer Anthony Pelliccio is a graduate of Bayonne High School. He earned a degree in diplomacy and international relations from Seton Hall University, where he graduated magna cum laude. Pelliccio is a United States Army veteran, serving in the Airborne Division from 2003 to 2011. He completed one combat tour in Iraq and two in former republic of Yugoslavia.
Police Officer Anthony Tufano is a graduate of Bayonne High School. He received an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Hudson County Community College. He has been a United States Army Reservist since 2007, and served in Iraq from 2008 to 2009.
Police Officer Antonio Spano is a graduate of Bayonne High School. He attended New Jersey City University. Spano is a former Hudson County Sheriff’s Officer.
Police Officer John McGimpsey is a graduate of Bayonne High School. Several members of his family have worked in law enforcement in both Bayonne and Florida.
Police Officer Juan Villegas is a graduate of Bayonne High School. He continued his education at the Bergen County Emergency Medical Services Training School. He served as an Emergency Medical Technician in Jersey City.
Police Officer William Dundas V is a graduate of St. Peter’s Prep. At New Jersey City University, he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He was employed previously as an electrician by Wolenski Electric.
Police Officer Melissa Morales is a graduate of St. Vincent Academy High School in Newark. She continued her education at Caldwell College and William Paterson University. Officer Morales was employed previously as a senior clerk with the Bayonne Municipal Court.
Police Officer Matthew Tarbett is a graduate of Bayonne High School. He is nearing completion of his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Officer Tarbett was employed previously as a freight train conductor with Conrail, and most recently as an investigator with the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office.
Police Officer Elvis Morel is a graduate of Bayonne High School. He continued his education at Hudson County Community College and New Jersey City University. He was employed previously by the Bayonne Family Community Center.
Police Officer Erik Quintana is a graduate of Marist High School. He continued his education at New Jersey City University. He was employed previously as a commercial loan processor with Bayonne Community Bank. He is an active member of Peninsula Lodge No. 99 of the Free and Accepted Masons.
Police Officer Richard Killmer is a graduate of Bayonne High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in criminal justice from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Officer Killmer was employed previously by McCabe Ambulance, and was most recently a Special Law Enforcement Officer with the Point Pleasant Beach Police Department.