North Bergen taps Hudson County’s first Latina police captain

A record-breaking 15 police officers promoted

On June 12, the North Bergen Police Department promoted 15 veteran officers to new supervisory positions, at a swearing-in ceremony overseen by Chief Robert Dowd and Public Safety Commissioner Allen Pascual.

Among three women who rose in rank was Lieutenant Cynthia Montero, who was named the first Latina police captain in Hudson County.

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During her 13 years with the department, Montero graduated from the FBI’s LEEDS program, and she will now be assigned as the administrative division commander overseeing the department’s internal affairs unit.

She was also the highest-ranking female officer in North Bergen after being promoted to Lieutenant in 2016. Two years earlier, Montero was the first female police supervisor in North Bergen, when she earned the rank of sergeant.

Union City Police Chief Nichelle Luster, Hudson County’s first female police chief, was among the dignitaries showing support at the ceremony.

Plethora of promotions

This represented the largest number of promotions conferred at once on the the 135-member department.

“The men and women who work here do it tirelessly,” Chief Robert Dowd said. “Our personnel protect a highly diverse population of over 65,000 residents, and they do so guided by a philosophy of community policing coupled by a never-ending pursuit of cutting-edge technology, and methods of best practice, and the results speak for themselves. Tonight, women will rise to positions of leadership.”

Fourteen other officers were promoted that night.

Promoted to Sergeant

Detective Santiago Hernandez, who has served eight years in the department, will continue his assignment in the internal affairs unit. In 2014, he received the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Award for an extraordinarily high number of DUI arrests.

Detective Roberto Maldonado will be assigned to a supervisory role in the detective bureau. This is his 24th year in the department. He served in the U.S. Army prior to becoming a police officer.

Officer Shannon Tattoli, who has erved for 10 years, will supervise a squad in the patrol division. A field training officer, she is a member of North Bergen’s Honor Guard and received a number of awards after apprehending two suspects in a gas station robbery in 2014.

Detective Peter Insetta will supervise a squad in the patrol division. During his 26 years of service, he received 32 department commendations, including a Class A award for a shooting investigation that netted two homicide suspects.

Promoted to Lieutenant

Sergeant Victor Queiro will be the administrative lieutenant in the chief’s office. During his 12 years in the department, Queiro specialized in undercover narcotics investigative training, and spent time on loan with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Gang Force, as well as the New Jersey State Police’s Trafficking North Unit.

Sergeant Alex Barrios, who has served his eight years on the force, specialized in training officers with the DHS and FBI to identify deceptive behaviors, process crime scenes, conduct interviews and interrogations. Two years ago, Barrios was awarded a Medal of Valor for his role in a police- involved shooting that prevented a suspect who was armed with a knife from committing a homicide.

Sergeant Michele Bartoli-Suarez will work in the field operations unit. During her 12 years with the department, Bartoli-Suarez worked with the detective bureau and the narcotics unit. She is the second-highest-ranking woman in the department.

Sergeant Nicholas Galliano, in 12 years with the department, has worked with the detective bureau and is the department’s property and evidence custodian. He served on loan with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Gang Task Force.

Promoted to Captain

Lieutenant Jorge Raposo will serve as the commander of the patrol division. During his 15 years with the department, Raposo was honored for apprehending a serial bank robber, and received a Valor Award for an incident in which a suspect fired shots at multiple officers in a 13-hour standoff. He also received an award from the county for apprehending some 50 fugitives who violated probation or parole.

Lieutenant David Dowd, a 14-year veteran, is back with the department after serving on loan with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. In 2013, he received a proclamation from the township for overseeing 85 felony arrests. By the end of that year, the number had reached 100. Dowd also received awards for rescuing 25 people from a four-family home that burned down.

Lieutenant James Gaughran, with a 26-year history in the department, most recently worked as the commander of the department’s field operations. He received a gold shield, earned through extensive investigative work.

Promoted to Inspector

Captain Robert Farley was one of two officers to receive the Inspector rank, which is a new designation available to officers in the North Bergen Police Department. He’s served for 22 years in various field units. Prior to becoming an officer, he worked in the township’s parks department and was a dispatch operator for North Bergen.

Captain David Corbisiero spent his entire career in the patrol division, and has received every departmental award available. He will go on to head the operations division.

Promoted to Deputy Chief

Captain William Lyons, a 27-year veteran, got his start in the patrol division, later becoming commander of the department’s detective bureau.

Onward and upward

As several officers in high-ranking positions retired over the years, township officials were quick to restructure the department.

That was no simple budgeting feat, according to Public Safety Commissioner Allen Pascual, who addressed the group.

“I’m thankful the mayor and commissioners, and the town administrator, for making sure the money was there,” Pascual said. “Promotions are a necessity, they build a lot of morale. The expectations of these officers are great, the demands are going to be great, but you’ll all succeed in what you’re doing, and we’ll continue to progress.”

Mayor Nicholas Sacco added, “This force is beyond my wildest dreams. All of the officers here reflect exactly what the community needs, and the job that needs to be done. This promotion will always be remembered as one of the great moments in North Bergen.”

For updates on this and more stories check or follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Mike Montemarano can be reached at

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