Anthony Monteiro has served the Borough of East Newark for the last 20 years, rising through the ranks from rank and file patrolman to eventually becoming the department’s top cop. But sadly, he has decided to leave the East Newark Police Department after two decades of what can only be described as selfless, dedicated and unblemished service.
Though he departed East Newark officially on Friday, Sept. 29, he’s not “retiring,” per-se — he hopes to continue working in a new capacity somewhere in law enforcement.
And if his past is any indication of what lies ahead and what a prospective employer might be looking for in an experienced law-enforcement officer, Monteiro should have no problem being hired very quickly. And so, as he bids adieu to the community he loves dearly — the same borough he grew up in — we take took some time, last week, to speak with the outgoing chief, a debriefing if you will, to recap his time here.
Though his future is still unclear, one thing is certain — the last 20 years were exemplary. And now, we present our interview with Monteiro, now, in question & answer format.
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. (KC): Bring us back. When was your first year on the job as a patrolman? Tell us about some of the duties you had in lower ranks, when you were promoted and such.
Chief Anthony Monteiro (AM): I was hired in July 2003 and graduated the John Stamler Police Academy in December 2003. My first year on was nerve-racking, because I was a rookie but I was eager to learn everything and just wanted to hit the streets.
Throughout the years, some of my duties were cell block inspections, Uniform Crime Reports, internal affairs, vehicle inspections, junk titles, investigations, (being a) field training officer, firearms officer, and tac officer. I was also a member of the Hudson County Rapid Deployment Team.
On Nov. 21, 2012 I was promoted to sergeant.
(KC): What year did you become chief?
(AM): On May 30, 2013, I was sworn in as Acting Chief of the East Newark Police Department. On Dec. 4, 2013, I was promoted to Chief of Police of the East Newark Police Department. It was an important milestone in my career. I always knew I would at least make it to sergeant, but I never thought that I become the chief of police. It was truly an honor.
(KC): Tell me about the most challenging police-related incident in your career, be it a hostage situation, a bad pull-over, whatever it was.
(AM): There were so many, but a few that stand out right now was an incident that occurred on Passaic Avenue while I was monitoring traffic. I observed a vehicle headed southbound on Passaic Avenue that went through a red light at the intersection of Passaic and Central.
At this time, I activated my overhead lights and sirens and attempted to stop the vehicle. I succeeded in the area of the Hampton Inn, on Passaic Avenue, in Harrison. As I approach the vehicle, I observed two frightened children in the back seat and a nervous adult female passenger.
I knocked on the window and the female driver would not lower the window. At this time, the driver took off, and I observed the passenger door open as the car took off, and the female passenger was waving her arms and almost hanging out of the vehicle.
I ran to my patrol vehicle and attempted to stop the vehicle as we went through Harrison onto Jackson Street bridge into Newark. The vehicle made a right turn onto Ferry Street and then a left onto Adams Street, which is a one-way. The traffic on Adams Street helped me with stopping the vehicle.
The reason why the driver took off was she was a wanted felon out of Newark.
Thank God the children and the female passenger were OK and no one got hurt during this pursuit.
(Another), I was on the 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. shift and received a call of an unresponsive 3-month-old baby on Second Street. When I got to the house, I saw a male holding a lifeless baby whose face was blue. I immediately took the baby and sat on the stairs and started CPR while waiting for EMS to arrive on the scene.
After a few minutes of CPR, which felt like forever, the baby came to, right before EMS arrived and was transported to the hospital. Two days later, I went to the house just to make sure everything was OK and got the chance to hold a little baby girl who I saved.l
(KC): Aside from the day you became chief, what are you most happy about of your accomplishments, as chief?
(AM): One of the most happiest days, besides becoming Chief of Police, was in the year 2021. I became President of the Hudson County Chiefs Association. It was an honor and a privilege to be nominated as the president of such a prestigious association. I was also a member of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.
What I really loved about being chief was mentoring the youth of East Newark and starting the East Newark Junior Police Academy. I am going to miss the residents. I loved visiting them, having coffee with them and having simple conversations. The bonds will be everlasting. What I am going to miss about the job itself is helping others and protecting the people and the borough that I love and grew up in.
(KC): Say a 17-year-old comes to you and tells you he or she wants to be a cop. What advice would you have for that person, based on your 20 years of experience.
(AM): My advice for a 17-year-old who wants to be a police officer would be to make sure you pick this job for the right reasons. Make sure that you’re prepared physically and emotionally for any type of situation. I would also advise them to volunteer and invest time in the community where you wish to be a police officer. Know the demographics and the people in the community where you wish to serve. Study as many languages as you can. Knowledge is priceless.
(KC): As you wrap up your career here, what would you say to the people of East Newark on your way out?
(AM): It was a true honor and privilege to serve you. I am going to miss all the people of East Newark. This is not goodbye, but see you later.
I would (also) like to thank all of the past and present East Newark residents that have made this a special journey throughout my career as a police officer and as an East Newark volunteer firefighter. The Borough of East Newark will always have a special place in my heart.
I was raised on President Street and will never forget the special moments throughout my life with family and friends while roaming the borough. I also would like to give a special thanks to my predecessor Chief Kenneth Sheehan, Mayor Joseph Smith and the East Newark Police Department for believing in me.
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.