Council promotes Guttenberg police
New vehicles purchased and new dispatchers and chaplain are chosen
by Vanessa Cruz
Reporter Staff Writer
Aug 05, 2012 | 6841 views | 1 1 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEGINNING – The Monday, July 23 meeting began with the council introducing resolutions and ordinances.
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A pregnant woman cried tears of pride as she pinned her husband’s new badge on his uniform on July 23. Her husband, former Guttenberg police investigator Leonardo Ramirez, was promoted to sergeant by the Guttenberg Town Council at their meeting, and several of his colleagues also received appointments.

Fellow officer Mark Depew was promoted to sergeant. Travis White was sworn in as a new police officer for the department, and will serve a probationary period for 12 months starting July 24. He must first pass the New Jersey State Police Training Program.

“The officers that were made superiors have been working here [Guttenberg] a number of years, they’re well qualified for the job, and I’m more than happy to have them,” said Captain Joel Magenheimer.

Brian Eckenrode has graduated from the Essex County College Police Academy as a Class II Special Law Enforcement Officer, and will perform those duties under the New Jersey Training Commission. He was appointed to his position effective July 24.
“We feel very fortunate in the individuals we had to select from.” – Mayor Gerald Drasheff
As part of the reorganization of the Police Department, the town has hired three part-time dispatchers effective July 24 who serve a probationary period of six months: Judy Cirri-Gaffey, Justin Bursztyn and David Defendini, all of whom are currently dispatchers in other communities.

New police contracts reached

The town has concluded negotiations with Police Superior Officers PBA Local 88 for an employment contract. The previous agreement expired June 30, 2008. The new contract covers July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2013. The same contract was also made with the patrol officers.

Father Carlo Fortunato of Saint John’s Holy Redeemer Church was presented with a police chaplain badge, making him chaplain of the police department.

“Tonight was devoted almost exclusively to our police,” said Mayor Gerald Drasheff. “We feel very fortunate in the individuals we had to select from.”

Other business

Also at the meeting:

An ordinance was adopted setting a fee for updates to the municipal tax map. The approval of any subdivision will require applicants to pay the town $250 to update and amend the tax map to reflect the changes.

A lawyer for NJ Towing Company said that the towing businesses John’s Main Auto Body, Planet Towing, and Dell Auto Storage should be registered with the state of New Jersey. He asked the council to review the ordinance that allows the three companies to be authorized towers when they are all owned by one individual.

Also, the council, acting as an Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, discussed a local restaurant that allegedly allowed an unlicensed person to sell alcohol on its premises on Jan. 21. This is a second violation for this licensed premises, with the first occurring on July 5, 2011. Municipal Prosecutor James Coviello recommended a five day suspension. The five days closure will be from Sept. 5 to 10.

Vanessa Cruz can be reached at

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August 05, 2012
Congratulations to all the newly promoted. Here's some help for the future -- improving service of your police department. Take a look at my new book and visit my blog, “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police” ( My blog is at where I discuss these and other current police improvement issues. Good luck and may we all experience not just good but great policing!