One arm still in a cast, John Mego was sworn in as first deputy fire chief in January 2010, three weeks after he was struck by a vehicle while working as a school crossing guard. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
[UPDATE: Obituary and service information added below.]
Former Red Bank Fire Chief John Mego has died, Mayor Pasquale Menna said Friday morning.
Retired Red Bank police captain Pete DeFazio, at right above, is slated to serve as chief of the borough’s volunteer fire department for 2017, following his election by members Tuesday night.
His swearing-in, scheduled for January 1, will begin DeFazio’s third tour as chief, a post he held in 1987 and 1993. A member of the Relief Engine Company on Drummond Place, DeFazio retired from the police department in 2010, after 35 years on the force. He’ll succeed Chris Soden, of the Union Hose Company, in a tradition that rotates the top job among the borough’s six fire companies.
Salaries for the mayor and council members would remain unchanged, but the earnings potential of professionals at borough hall would rise under a proposed ordinance. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Six borough hall jobs will offer potential salaries above $100,000 if an ordinance on Wednesday night’s agenda is passed by the Red Bank council.
That’s up from three the last time the council adjusted salaries for its professionals, in 2014.
Joe McGovern, who’s to be sworn in as chief Monday night, has spent his entire career with the borough police department. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
It’s a cliché, but in terms of police activity, Fair Haven cries out for comparison to Mayberry. Crime is almost nil, and the top two categories of calls involve traffic and residential construction: blocked driveways, dumpster placements and the like.
Still, this bedroom community has undergone a rapid growth spurt. There are hundreds of kids — more than at any time in the town’s 104-year history — and more traffic.
“We’re also one of the only towns left where most of the kids ride bikes to school,” said acting police Chief Joe McGovern, who is scheduled to become chief next week.
Which makes pedestrian safety the number-one issue for police, he said. “It’s our job to make sure they’re safe.”
Chris Soden gives his oath as Red Bank fire chief at the Union Hose Company. Behind Soden are deputies Pete DeFazio, left, and Stu Jensen, partly obscured. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Chris Soden’s term as Red Bank’s new fire chief got off to a smoky start Friday.
Eight hours before he was sworn into office, Soden and other volunteer firefighters worked their way up six flights of stairs to save a 79-year-old man who’d set his mattress ablaze when he fell asleep with a lit cigarette.
Darryl Breckenridge is winding down a career of 35 years with the police in his hometown. He’s seen below at a 2012 Veteran’s Day commemoration with World War II veteran Ray Taylor. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
He was only four-and-a-half years old, but Darryl Breckenridge remembers the day he decided to become a policeman.
There was a knock on the family’s front door in Fair Haven, and when he looked up, “I saw that policeman’s hat” through the topmost pane, he told redbankgreen this week.
Wearing “that hat” was police Chief Carl Jaubecy, who let young Darryl sit in his lap as he offered the boy’s mother a job as a school crossing guard.
“That was it,” said Breckenridge, who’s now closing out a 35-year career in law enforcement, the last 10 as chief himself. “From that day, I knew I was going to do it.”
Chief-elect Joe Lauterwasser, right arrives at the First Aid building Tuesday night with his prospective first deputy, Chris Soden, left, and second deputy Pete DeFazio, center. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
That was evident on Tuesday night, when the 143-year-old department’s annual election night celebration was dominated by names and faces that would have been familiar to attendees generations ago.
“We’re based on tradition,” said ex-chief George Lauterwasser (2002) as he awaited the arrival of the chief-elect, his 30-year-old son, Joe, at the First Aid building on Spring Street with dozens of other volunteers. “We keep it up with the kids. We’re old school.”
Captain Darren McConnell is expected to be named chief of the Red Bank police department at Wednesday night’s borough council meeting, redbankgreen has learned. McConnell has been the officer in charge of the department since the September 23 death of Chief Steve McCarthy. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Tommy Welsh arrives at the Westside Hose Company following his election as Red Bank fire chief last week. Below, the borough-owned Liberty Hose firehouse is in the process of being vacated because it needs upgrades the town cannot afford. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
A new, million-dollar ladder truck, firehouse consolidation and pervasive manpowwer issues are on the table as Red Bank’s next fire chief takes the helm on January 1.
For chief-elect Tommy Welsh, it’s the second time around as head of of the all-volunteer department, having served as chief in 1996. This time, however, the department is on the apron to some of its biggest changes in a generation.
“We’re in the middle of some history here,” he told redbankgreen at a party to celebrate his election last week.
Following a wake that drew hundreds of mourners to Red Bank Thursday night, a procession led by a squadron of motorcycle police carried the casket of the late borough police Chief Steve McCarthy to a funeral mass in Long Branch Friday morning.
Above right, Red Bank Charter School students await the procession in front of the Count Basie Theatre, opposite the police station, where the hearse paused briefly.
Below, the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department offered a silent farewell in front of St. James Church on Broad Street.
McCarthy, 50, died Monday of anaplastic thyroid cancer. He had served the police department for 27 years, the last three as chief. (Click to enlarge)
Bunting hung above the police station door and flags flew at half-staff in memory of Red Bank police Chief Steve McCarthy shortly after his death Monday. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank officials, grieving the loss of a colleague, have began preparations for a final salute to police Chief Steve McCarthy, who died in Manhattan Monday after a battle with cancer.
“It’s a sad, sad day,” said assistant construction official John Drucker, echoing a comment heard frequently throughout borough hall, at 90 Monmouth Street.
Mayor Pasquale Menna said the police department was filled with sadness and “a lot of tears” over the death of McCarthy, at age 50, to a rare and fast-moving thyroid cancer.
Flags on borough poles were lowered to half-staff, and black-and-purple bunting was hung over the entrance to the police station.
Police officers who had taken turns driving McCarthy to treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in recent months were preparing to accommodate “hundreds of law enforcement officials, from all over the state,” for a viewing expected to be held later this week at the John E. Day Funeral Home, Menna said.
Monday afternoon, a two-car police escort quietly accompanied McCarthy’s remains back to the town he’d served for 27 years.
The young son of new fire department Chief TD Doremus makes a beeline for his dad at Tuesday’s swearing-in. Below, Councilman Mike DuPont takes the oath of office, administered by former mayor Ben Nicosia, left, and joined by his mom, one of his children and former mayor Ed McKenna. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
An air of status quo dominated as Red Bank officials completed their annual reorganization of the borough government on New Year’s Day.
“Art and I ran to continue the progress you’re seeing,” Councilman Mike DuPont told a packed council chambers, referring to fellow council member and 2012 running mate Art Murphy, after each was sworn into office.
Mayor Pasquale Menna, too, spoke of continuing to build on what he characterized as improvements in the town’s economic foundation, arts profile, recreation facilities and more.
Police Chief Steve McCarthy says skateboarders have put taxpayers on the hook for “considerable” damage in two parks. (Click to enlarge)
By DAN NATALE
After Red Bank police busted four minors and two adults for skateboarding in a park earlier this month, some locals wondered: dont the cops have anything better to do?
Well, yes and no, says police Chief Steve McCarthy.
I know it seems like we have much bigger fish to fry in Red Bank, and we do. We have serious crimes here,” he told redbankgreen in an interview this week. “But [illegal skateboarding] is an issue that has to be addressed.
Chief-elect TD Doremus, facing camera, with his father, Tom, center, and Chief Josh Sanders at the fire department election party. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)
By WIL FULTON
Theres a new fire chief-elect in Red Bank, and though he’s heading into his first term at the helm of the all-volunteer squad, its certainly not a new title in his family.
A fifth-generation firefighter and third-generation chief, 29-year-old Thomas Doremus, known as TD, will begin his one-year command with the traditional New Year’s Day swearing-in at borough hall, succeeding current chief Josh Sanders.
Acting Chief Scott Paterson at the Rumson PD’s dispatch desk. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Shrewsbury’s not the only town on the Green to have had a changing of the guard in its police department this week.
On Monday, the same day Lou Ferraro was sworn in as chief in Shrewsbury, Scott Paterson’s elevation to acting chief in Rumson quietly took effect. He’s expected to be sworn in as chief on January 1.
Low-key and unceremonious is fine with Paterson, a lieutenant who’d been serving as “officer in charge,” in the words of a council resolution, since former Chief Rick Tobias stepped away to burn off accumulated vacation time on August 1.
“It’s not about me,” Paterson told redbankgreen in an interview in his small, utilitarian office in the basement of Memorial Hall on Wednesday. “I think the guys who work here need to know that I hold myself no better than the highest or lowest-ranking employee.”
Chief Lou Ferraro and his wife, Eda, gret well-wishers after his swearing-in Monday night. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)
By REBECCA DESFOSSE
Joined by his family, friends and fellow officers, Lou Ferraro took the oath of office as Shrewsburys chief of police at Monday nights council meeting. He had served as acting police chief since John Wilson announced his retirement early this year.
A 22-year department veteran and lifelong resident of Shrewsbury, Ferraro started his career as a patrolman and worked his way up the ranks as detective, detective sergeant and lieutenant. He assumes the role of top cop with an extensive list of commendations and a broad education in law enforcement under his belt, highlighted by time spent at the FBI National Academy.
About his new job, Ferraro told redbankgreen, I am honored to be serving the town that I grew up in.
Chief Steve McCarthy is expected to request authorization to hire three officers to combat rising crime rates. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank’s top cop is hoping to do some force rebuilding following the recent release of data showing a spike in crime in 2010 and unreleased figures showing that it’s gotten worse this year.
Chief Steve McCarthy has asked the borough council to OK the hiring of three patrol officers in an effort to get the number of uniformed officers back to 40, the number it began the year with.
The request, coming as officials brace for what is expected to be the tightest municipal budget in years, follows the release of the State Police annual Uniform Crime Reports data earlier this month showing that both violent and nonviolent crime in town shot up in 2010.
And if the trends of the first ten months of 2011 hold, “we’re looking at another 8- to 10-percent increase” for 2011, McCarthy tells redbankgreen.