New command set at Belleville PD


He was installed as the leader of the Belleville Police Department only a few weeks ago but already Chief Mark Minichini is making an impact — inside and outside the BPD.

For example, visitors to Police headquarters — tucked away on the second floor of the Municipal Building — are greeted by new user-friendly signage welcoming them to the Belleville Police Department and the new commander.

Also posted in clear view is a poster that reads: “Belleville Police Lives Matter,” from a grateful family in the Belleville community.

And there’s some housekeeping work going on outside BPD headquarters in anticipation of creating a Police Wall of Honor to give members of the department their due and to help community members learn more about — and relate to — the people they pay to “protect and serve.”

Inside the department, meanwhile, the chief has focused his attention on the structuring of its command staff and, effective July 8, he has transferred a group of superior officers to new assignments for which, he added, “they will be held accountable.”

He’s also named 25-year police veteran and former head of the traffic unit Capt. Gerard Corbo — who has been appointed acting deputy chief to fill the slot Minichini vacated with his promotion — as his chief of staff.

As chief of the department, Minichini will be earning — with longevity and holiday pay — a total of $191,946 a year; Corbo will be collecting $157,532 annually, according to township manager Mauro Tucci.

Corbo placed No. 1 among the top three Belleville applicants on the state Civil Service test for the position, Tucci said. The test results were issued June 29, to take effect July 7, he added.

“We expect to make [Corbo] permanent shortly,” Tucci said. “He’s got the same forward-thinking outlook as our chief and the sensitivity and knowledge needed for today’s policing and that’s a testament to the police values stressed by our previous chiefs, Joseph Rotonda and [before him] Mayor [Ray] Kimble.”

Other new unit commanders are: Capt. Victor Mesce, a 36-year employee, head of the Administration Division, which includes communications, fleet management and overtime assignments; Capt. Dan Ward, 28 years, head of the Investigation Division; Capt. John Torluccio, 22 years, head of Patrol — B Squad; Capt. James Giuliano, 32 years, head of Special Services Division; Capt. Jack Hood, 35 years, head of Patrol — A Squad; Lt. Nick Breiner, 21 years, head of Professional Standards & Training Bureau; Lt. Frank Pignataro, eight years, head of Traffic Bureau; Sgt. John McAloon, 18 years, head of Special Investigations & Intelligence; and Sgt. Gary Souss, 25 years, Chief’s Administrative Assistant.

“We’ve had these posts before and never this structured,” Minichini said. “I’m going to be meeting on a weekly basis with these commanders and they’ll be responsible for answering any questions I have and I’ll be following up on any assignments they may have been given.”

And, the chief said, “there will be other changes coming as well.”

The guiding principle, he added, will be “to create a road map, a blueprint of where we want to go with the department.”

Among other things, Minichini said, “we’ll be working on quality-of-life issues. But my No. 1 priority will be reaffirming the department’s relationship with the community, to keep that going.”

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