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North Bergen swears in new police chief

Chief Peter Fasilis took the oath of office on May 1

Chief Fasilis speaks at the private ceremony. Photo by Art Schwartz.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, first responders continue to operate at full capacity across Hudson County.

In North Bergen, former Police Chief Robert Dowd has retired after more than 26 years of service. Law enforcement from across the county gathered to honor him via a drive-by parade on his retirement on April 30.

A day later, former Deputy Chief Peter Fasilis took the oath of office as the 10th chief of police in the township’s history. Chief Fasilis took the oath from Mayor Nicholas J. Sacco and Public Safety Commissioner Allen Pascual today at a private ceremony held outside North Bergen Town Hall during a moment of good weather.

“Chief Fasilis has spent his entire adult life serving the people of North Bergen as a member of the NBPD,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco. “He has the experience and professionalism needed to make a great Chief of Police, the NBPD could not be in better hands than under the leadership of Chief Fasilis.”

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the ceremony was limited only to Chief Fasilis’ immediate family and designated Township officials, according to a press release. The ceremony was streamed live on the North Bergen Police Department’s Facebook page.

“I want to thank the Mayor and Board of Commissioners for their unwavering support,” said Deputy Chief Peter Fasilis. “It is difficult to be in a celebratory mood due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, I am incredibly proud of the men and women of this department and how they have handled this crisis. They have been selfless in their dedication to their profession and I am truly fortunate to have the opportunity to lead such a tremendous group of individuals.”

North Bergen forever

Fasilis, a North Bergen High School alumnus, joined the Police Department in 1998. According to the township, he served as a uniformed patrol officer assigned to the Patrol Division until 2005, when he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and assigned to the Special Services Division.

In 2007, Fasilis was promoted to lieutenant and served as the Training Division Commander. Three years later, Peter Fasilis was promoted to captain in 2010 and commanded the Administrative Services Division.

Fasilis was promoted to the rank of deputy chief in 2012 and began serving as the executive officer of the 135-member police department. The highly diverse police department serves an equally diverse community of township residents, according to the Township.

“The entire Board of Commissioners have the utmost confidence that Chief Fasilis is ready to step up and command North Bergen’s finest,” Pascual said. “Chief Fasilis was instrumental in working with his predecessor to take the NBPD to new heights, we are all excited to see what he will accomplish at the helm.”

Highly esteemed

In addition to years of on-the-force experience under his belt, Chief Fasilis is also well educated in his field.

Chief Fasilis is accredited as a Command Executive by the New Jersey State Associations of Chiefs of Police. He has studied at the UK’s College of Policing in Manchester, England, the Scottish Police College in Fife, Scotland, and Scotland Yard in London, England.

Fasilis was even invited to the White House in 2016 to participate in discussions on President Obama’s Task Force concerning 21st Century Policing. Peter Fasilis co-chaired the Hudson County SWAT exploratory committee, and was instrumental in the formation of the Hudson County Regional SWAT Team.

Additionally, Fasilis has earned a Bachelor of Science from the School of Management at Rutgers University and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from New Jersey City University. He is a Certified Public Manager, having earned his CPM certification from Rutgers University, according to the Township.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.