Three veteran law enforcement officers were elevated in rank during ceremonies at Kearny Town Hall on March 22.
Sgt. Joseph Vulcano was promoted to lieutenant at an annual salary of $141,128; and Patrolmen Dean Gasser and Timothy Castle were upgraded to sergeant, each at a yearly pay level of $132,826.
The three promotions, all in line with state Civil Service procedures, took effect March 23.
Police Chief George King said these latest personnel actions, ratified by the mayor and Town Council, are designed to fill police roster slots previously vacated through retirements.
“It also keeps our T.O. (Table of Organization) at seven lieutenants and 17 sergeants,” the chief noted. The department is currently in the process of doing background checks on candidates for new hires in the patrolman ranks to fill openings there, he added.
Here are abbreviated biographies on the newly promoted individuals:
Vulcano was born and raised in Bayonne and graduated in June 1988 from Bayonne High School. He then attended Hudson County Community College and Jersey City State College.
In January 1994, Vulcano was hired by the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office.
In March 1996, he became a police officer in Kearny, working in the patrol division through 1999 when he was assigned to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force, continuing with that unit through 2007.
From 2007 to 2011, he was assigned to the Kearny Police Department Vice Unit, switching to the patrol unit in 2011.
In March 2015, Vulcano was promoted to sergeant and remained with patrol.
Vulcano is the recipient of several valor awards, including a lifesaver award.
He is married to Katie Vulcano and has two daughters, Gabriella and Gianna, and two step-daughters, Madelynne and Nicol.
Gasser is the son of Margaret and Dennis Gasser, the latter having retired from the Kearny Police Department in 2005. Dean is the brother of Kellie and proud father of Devin, Dylan, Dean and Demi.
Born in Jersey City, Gasser was raised in Kearny where he attended Roosevelt and Lincoln schools before attending Hudson Catholic High School, followed by a post-graduate year at South Kent Preparatory School in Connecticut.
Gasser transferred to the Kearny Police Department in 2003 after having served seven years with the West Milford Police Department and two years with the Hudson County Police Department.
During a 28-year career in law enforcement, Gasser has received several commendations.
Castle was born in Hoboken and lived there with his family until 1991 when he moved to Bayonne and graduated from Bayonne High School in 1996.
Castle was hired by the Kearny Police Department in 2001 and, after completing basic training at the Bergen County Police Academy, he was assigned to the 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. patrol shift until 2005, when he switched to the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift where he remained until 2018 when he received his current assignment with the street crimes unit.
He married Valerie in 2002 and the couple welcomed a son Justin in 2004 and a daughter Jenna in 2007. The family moved to Old Bridge in 2008.
An active member of the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, Castle chaired the annual PBA picnic for several years and, most recently, designed and oversaw construction of the new PBA gym at police headquarters.
Castle was named KPD Policeman of the Year in 2004 and was also honored by the American Legion as Hudson County Policeman of the Year and received the N.J. State American Legion Medal of Honor. He is also the recipient of the Combat Cross and Exceptional Duty Awards as well as multiple Lifesaving, Apprehension, Drugbuster and Investigative Service Awards, along with several Unit Citations and Certificates of Merit.
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Ron Leir | For The Observer
Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc.
He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter.
He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based WHATCo. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, New York