He now has three stripes on the arm of his uniform. It’s the official sign that Fair Haven Police Department’s Stephen Schneider is now a sergeant.
He joins the ranks of current sergeants Jesse Dykstra and Sherri Lambert in the department. The 38-year-old Howell resident took oath of office for his new rank — his promotion — at Monday night’s Borough Council meeting.
Schneider, who has been working as a Fair Haven officer since Jan. 1, 2006, has been assigned to many areas within the department, he said on Thursday, but most recently, he has served for the past five years as its detective. He said he feels proud and lucky to work as an officer and be a part of the Fair Haven community in that capacity.
“I am glad to have been hired and to be able to serve the residents of Fair Haven,” Schneider said. “This is truly a wonderful community to be a part of, and to have the opportunity to work with the finest officers is just simply a huge bonus.”
Prior to his work in Fair Haven, Schneider served in the Brookdale Community College Police Department, where he served for four years, from 2001 to 2005.
Congrats to Sgt. Schneider! You can call him sergeant.
The swearing-in, at what Mayor Ben Lucarelli called the shortest meeting in history, came nearly seven months after the retirement of former chief, Darryl Breckenridge, who was also in attendance.
McGovern, a near 30-year veteran of the force in Fair Haven, thanked everyone for their support, especially the officers with whom he has served for decades, and said he looked forward to keeping the department top-notch.
Take a look at the photos below for a glimpse into the swearing-in — before, during and after. Click on each to enlarge.
“You can call him chief, but he won’t actually be chief until April 25 when he’s sworn in,” Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli said referring to Acting Police Chief/Captain Joseph McGovern and the borough’s official move at Monday’s Borough Council meeting to make him the next police chief.
You can call him Lieutenant — Fair Haven Police Lt. Bob Townshend.
The lifetime Fair Havenite and longtime policeman in the borough, surrounded by colleagues, forever friends and family, was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant at Monday night’s Borough Council meeting.
“Because he’s one of our own, it’s even more special.”
That’s what Fair Haven Police Chief Darryl Breckenridge told a packed audience at Borough Hall Monday night about Fair Haven native Brooks Robinson just before he was sworn in as a patrolman in the borough’s Police Department.
A 2006 Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School graduate, Robinson was brought into the department in 2012 as a Special Law Enforcement Officer Class I and more recently was promoted to a Class II.
He studied at Brookdale Community College and received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University.
But, for the chief, the honor in promoting Robinson was more a Fair Haven family affair.
Welcoming the Fair Haven Robinson family and the family, and extended family of his wife, Alyssa Pecyno Robinson, also a 2006 RFH graduate, he talked a little bit about why.
“To me, it’s a great honor to be able bring someone aboard on a full-time basis here in Fair Haven who actually went through the school system here, went to the high school and is a part of the town,” he said. “Brooks is going to be a tremendous asset to the department.”
Bringing out the bible, that he noted has been in the Fair Haven family for many years and was donated to the borough by Hap Williams for swearing-ins, Mayor Lucarelli administered the oath to Robinson, Alyssa holding the bible.
” … And that I will faithfully, impartially and justly perform the duties of patrolman according to the best of my ability, so help me God … Congratulations.”
The promotion is a significant one in light of the fact that while the police department’s staffing model hierarchy allows for a captain in the department the position has not been filled since retired Captain Paul McCue was on the force several years ago.
Caught readying himself to get to the meeting outside the police station, McGovern gave Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect his signature smile and a wave, for which he is known throughout town, as he gussied himself up, hopped in his SUV and headed a couple blocks over.
He was met with a packed meeting room full of beaming, congratulatory officials, neighboring police and chiefs, family and friends.
Welcoming all, Chief Breckenridge pointed out that “when you rise to the level of captain, it shows when you see the network of support from (police in) surrounding towns …” Among those in that support network were Rumson Police Chief Scott Paterson and Red Bank Police Chief Darren McConnell, both Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School graduates.
First thanking the officers of the department for their “continued dedication” and saying “you guys do an excellent job, and I couldn’t be more proud,” Breckenridge singled out McGovern’s family and told them, “you should be very proud of Joe. He worked very hard to get where he is going tonight … I’m sure Joe’s going to do a terrific job.”
McGovern’s journey to the captain’s position has been a long, hard-earned, diligent one, the chief said, starting nearly 30 years ago.
He recounted it. McGovern started in the department in 1987 as a dispatcher. In 1989, he became a special officer. In 1991, he became a probationary patrolman, then detective and OEM coordinator, which he still is.
In 2006, McGovern became a sergeant. And in 2008, he rose to the rank of lieutenant. Now he’s a captain. He has also earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and attended the prestigious FBI Academy.
“Joe has worked very hard with his promotional process, doing the right thing and doing his job,” Breckenridge said. “I am so proud and happy to stand here before you and congratulate you first, captain.”
With a smile, his wife holding the bible and two boys by his side, Mayor Ben Lucarelli administered the oath of office to McGovern.
With a modest smile and a simple “thank you” to “everyone for coming out,” McGovern said, “It’s been a long process and it’s finally here.”
Five stripes. Same smile. Same dedication.
McGovern will serve as acting chief as of Oct. 1, the official start day of Breckenridge’s retirement. Sgt. Robert Townshend is slated for a promotion to lieutenant. The new chief has not yet been chosen.