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RED BANK: ONE LAST SURGE IN NATIVE BLUE?

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Newly elevated Captain Mike Clay, left, and Lieutenant Errico Vescio chat before being sworn to their new ranks Wednesday night. Below, Michael Frazee reciting the oath of lieutenant. Clay’s been on the squad since 1986; Vescio joined in 1999, and Frazee in 1996. Both Vescio and Frazee are Red Bank natives. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

michael frazee 032614Red Bank’s police department completed a “once-in-a-lifetime” makeover Wednesday night with a host of promotions and a pair of new hires.

A new captain – former Lieutenant Mike Clay – four new lieutenants and six new sergeants were sworn to their ranks at a packed borough council meeting. Chief Darren McConnell, who’s held his post for just three months, said the promotions were aimed at putting the future leadership of the department in place.

But the mass elevation also may signal the beginning of the end of a long tradition in American policing: homegrown cops.

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RED BANK COPS BACK ON THE BEAT

Patrolman George Travostino walking Broad Street Thursday afternoon. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

George Travostino has been getting a lot of double-takes lately.

Like all patrol-duty cops in the 40-officer Red Bank police department, Travostino has been spending more time out of his car in recent months, doing what he calls “old-school” beat-walking on the borough’s thoroughfares. And people don’t know what to make of it when they first see him, he tells redbankgreen.

“Some of the older people are a little…” he said, raising his eyebrows to illustrate, “and the young kids, they’ve never even seen it.”

Initial reactions aside, though, the reception appears to have been universally welcoming.

“I’ve been clamoring for this for years,” said Ceaar’s Creations owner Joe Cerasa, as Travostino stepped into Broad Street in front of his jewelry store to give directions to a motorist Thursday. “I’m going to call the chief and thank him. This is extremely important.”

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