Municipal officials promoted 32 police officers and firefighters in an unified ceremony at the Stony Road section firehouse on Tuesday afternoon.
18 police officers were promoted to the ranks of captain, lieutenant, and sergeant while 14 firefighters were promoted to the ranks of deputy chief, battalion chief, and captain.
“You are superheroes to the people that you protect, serve, and save,” said mayor Andre Sayegh making a reference to the “Avengers: Endgame” film to the hundreds of people, mostly family members of firefighters and police officers, in the firehouse. “You are the justice league of Paterson.”
The most popular superhero at the ceremony was Lamar Colclough, first African-American battalion chief in the city’s history.
Fire chief Brian McDermott said Colclough broke the “glass ceiling” that had been in place for 144 years.
Sayegh was asked by a television news reporter what took so long to get an African-American battalion chief.
“I just became mayor 10 months ago,” replied the mayor. He also pointed out this is the first time both police and fire held a joint promotion ceremony.
“It’s a great thing,” said Colclough (pictured) after being sworn-in by Sayegh. He credited his family and his fellow fire employees. “I’m very happy. It’s not about me. It’s about everybody here that worked hard to get where they are at right now.”
Colclough said he is setting an example for his young children, who were at the ceremony, that hard work and dedication pays off.
“Work hard. Work hard. That’s it,” said Colclough.
Colclough was mobbed by dozens of people following the ceremony. Many hugged him and took selfies with him.
Both the fire chief and police chief, Troy Oswald, gave the promoted fire and police employees leadership advice.
“You are all now your brother’s keeper. You now have to protect the people that work with you. You now have to protect the community as a whole,” said Oswald.
Oswald was seated next to eight-year-old police chief Delaney Kurdyla, a cancer survivor, who has captured the hearts of police.
The promotions are budget neutral, said public safety director Jerry Speziale. He said the promoted employees are filling positions vacated by retiring police and fire employees.
Speziale said there may even be savings.
“These are all replacements. People that went out, went out at top salaries. These people are coming in at bottom salaries,” said Speziale. “There’s no extra.”
Below is a list of the newly promoted police and fire employees:
- Captain Michael Saginario
- Lt. Richard Botbyl
- Lt. Anthony Hyatt
- Lt. Anthony Giovatto
- Lt. Angel Vargas Jr.
- Lt. Peter Hasselberger
- Lt. Donato DeAngelis
- Sgt. Anthony DeSopo
- Sgt. Martin Luizzi
- Sgt. Robert Guzman
- Sgt. Antonio Blasucci
- Sgt. Quaema McElveen
- Sgt. David D’Arco
- Sgt. Joel Santiago
- Sgt. John Scully
- Sgt. Davis Tanis
- Sgt. Edwin Morillo
- Sgt. Joseph Ricciardi
- Deputy Chief Donn Langevin
- Deputy Chief Andrew Ricciardi
- BC. Michael Caposella
- BC. Lamar Colclough
- BC. Charles Gander Jr.
- BC. Jason Macones
- BC. Joseph Parkin Jr.
- Capt. Matthew Zaccone
- Capt. Jonathan Krehel
- Capt. Justin Angelica
- Capt. Kenneth Jeltema
- Capt. Ryan Fender
- Capt. Patrick Kenney
- Capt. Leonardo Perez.