Kearny PD hires 9 new cops

Nine new bluecoats, including two sons of Police Chief George King, are now on the Kearny Police Department roster.

The town governing body authorized the hirings May 24, each at a starting salary of $46,314 a year. Technically, the appointments took effect May 28.

Before they hit the streets, eight of the nine must complete training at the Essex County Police Academy in Cedar Grove. Classes begin June 10 and end in late November. The other officer did the training while working previously for another law enforcement agency, King said.

The new officers, in the order they ranked on the state Civil Service certification list, are: Sean King, Jonathan Lima, Damian Kolodziej, Thomas Collins, William King, Kyle Costa, Alvaro Goncalves, Travis Witt and Sandra DaSilva, all Kearny residents.

All of the new appointees are replacements for retired officers, King said.

“This will essentially bring us to full complement of (100) officers,” the chief said, “but we did have a recent retirement (Sgt. Peter Gleason, effective June 1) who has not been replaced yet.”

Gleason’s replacement is expected to be named shortly, King said.

Here are brief profiles of the new officers:

• Sean King, 26, worked for NJ Transit Police Department Fare Enforcement.

• Jonathan Lima, 30, worked for the International Union of Elevator Constructors.

• Damian Kolodziej, 23, worked for United Airlines.

• Thomas Collins, 26, worked for the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office. Having successfully passed his academy training, he is entering directly into the KPD field training program before being assigned regular duties.

• William King, 22, worked for NJ Transit Police Department Fare Enforcement.

• Kyle Costa, 22, worked for Home Depot.

• Alvaro Goncalves, 36, worked as a manager for Best Buy.

• Travis Witt, 21, worked for Tilson Technology Management.

• Sandra DaSilva, 23, worked for the town of Kearny as a security guard.

In other business, the mayor and council focused their attention on various civilian-related matters.

They voted to introduce an ordinance that would amend the Passaic Avenue redevelopment plan to limit the height of buildings in the Commercial Center, Residential, Mixed-Use, Mixed-Use Overlay and Residential Rehabilitation Districts to four stories/40 feet. A “mezzanine” would be considered a full floor under the ordinance. The proposed change would affect only new development in the redevelopment area. This action would be consistent with prior action the governing body took in 2019 to limit building height in the Schuyler Avenue redevelopment area to four stories.

Fourth Ward Councilman Susan McCurrie, who chairs the ordinance committee, said the council is looking at “all areas of town for any future development, so as not to create a density issue … to make sure an area doesn’t get overdeveloped.” A public hearing on the ordinance is slated for June 14.

A $4 million bond ordinance for improvements to various roadways was introduced and scheduled for a public hearing, also on June 14. The town will apply $800,000 of the bond for professionals’ fees and $200,000 will come from the town’s capital reserves. The bond’s principal and interest will be paid off over 10 years.

The roadways selected for milling and repaving are Patterson Street, Woodland Avenue, Bergen Avenue, Devon Street, Grand Place, Hamilton Avenue, Jefferson Avenue, Rutherford Place, Stuyvesant Avenue, Bennett Avenue, Seeley Avenue, Chestnut Street, Davis Avenue, Stewart Avenue and Forest Street.

In a separate infrastructure move, the mayor and council awarded a $996,404 contract to J.A. Alexander Inc., of Bloomfield, for a roadways improvement project at Maple Street and Highland Avenue. The town will use federal Community Development Block Grant funding to pay for the work.

The town will also pay Millennium Communications Group Inc., of East Hanover, $19,982 to furnish and install security cameras at the Gunnell Oval athletic complex off Schuyler Avenue “because of continuing vandalism and safety concerns.” Town officials didn’t say how many cameras will be placed there.

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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