By Ron Leir
The Kearny Police Department has scored an additional police superior but it still leaves the department scrambling for more bodies, according to Police Chief John Dowie.
For now, though, the chief said he’s thankful that the town governing body has seen fit to promote Sgt. John View, 45, to the rank of police lieutenant. View was sworn in at the June 24 meeting of the mayor and Town Council, at an annual base pay of $124,608.
Because the town has applied for state transitional aid, View’s promotion was contingent on approval by the state Division of Local Government Services but no objections were foreseen.
At last week’s meeting, Dowie, addressing Mayor Alberto Santos and members of the council, said that when he recommended the move to them, he realized that the town was under fiscal restraints. “This was not easy to sell,” the chief said, “but my hat’s off to you for rising above it.”
Dowie said View, an 18-year veteran, has “always been a good cop [and someone] not content to sit at a desk, a working boss” who has come up through the ranks, serving in various roles, “in patrol, vice detectives, warrants, street sergeant, a tactical team leader and currently, night detective supervisor.”
In his new job, View will likely be assigned to the lieutenant’s desk during the night shift.
Born and raised in Belleville, View graduated from Belleville High in 1987 and entered the then- Montclair State College and earned a degree in business administration. After working a few years in the field, View took a few Civil Service tests for uniformed jobs, landed a position with Kearny PD, and has never looked back. He’s the first in his family to make law enforcement a career.
His appointment as lieutenant has got to be pretty special for View, Dowie suggested, “since he’s had a few setbacks up to now – he was close on several [Civil Service promotional] lists, but to his credit, he didn’t get sourpuss about it – he sucked it up.”
Dowie said View also serves on the department’s Valor Committee, that recommends members of the KPD for heroism awards, presented annually by the 200 Club of Hudson County.
“And he’s no slouch getting awards himself,” the chief said.
In his career thus far, View has earned two lifesaving awards, involving a rescue of one person from a burning building and another from a pool mishap, plus numerous citations.
Dowie noted that View was “one of the lead detectives” who tracked four suspects linked to the murder of 16-year-old Alishia Colon in her Belgrove Drive residence on Jan. 17, 2013. The county prosecutor’s office called the teen’s death the tragic result of a feud between gang members and members of the victim’s family.
“John put in a lot of his days off to work on the case,” Dowie said, and that special effort by View and his colleagues paid off when one suspect was collared just two days after the crime and three others within a few weeks.
Dowie said the county prosecutor’s office commended the Kearny detectives for the legwork they did that led to the apprehension of the accused. All four suspects are awaiting trial.
“John’s a ‘cop’s cop,’ ’’ Dowie said. If a case comes in to the bureau and there’s no one else available to handle it, “I know that John will get his camera and fingerprinting kit and he’ll go out on it,” the chief said.
Councilwoman Laura Cifelli-Pettigrew, who heads the council police committee, echoed the chief’s praise of the new lieutenant, saying that, “People have reached out and told me wonderful things about Lt. View. Some of the things he’s done won’t get your name in the paper but they will make you a great cop.”
Afterwards, Dowie told The Observer that View will fill the lieutenant’s spot vacated by the retirement of Lt. Steve Levcheck about a year and a half ago but the chief said he’s still got two other lieutenants out on longterm sick leave to cover for.
“The overtime for calling in sergeants to work as acting lieutenants has been catastrophic,” Dowie said. “We just can’t sustain it. A lot of guys are burnt out.”
And now, Dowie said, with View’s elevation, he’s down a sergeant. All told, the department is “four below our T.O. [Table of Organization] for sergeants,” he said. At this point, there are no plans to fill any ranks there, he added.