2012-07-18 / Front Page
Freehold Borough promotes three officers
Lt. Craig Dispenza has been promoted to captain, Sgt. Michael Sweetman has been promoted to lieutenant, and Patrolman Rich Ciampa has been promoted to sergeant. The three officers were sworn in to their new positions by Mayor Nolan Higgins during a special meeting of the Borough Council on July 2.
Dispenza, 45, was raised in Hazlet and joined the Freehold Borough Police Department in 1990.
Dispenza worked as the community relations/ DARE officer for four years. During those years his role allowed him to become involved with the newly settled Latino community in the borough, helping the new immigrant residents acclimate to the town. He said he enjoyed his role as the community relations officer.
As a lieutenant, Dispenza was responsible for the police department’s Patrol Division.
As a captain, Dispenza will be responsible for leading the Patrol Division and overseeing all lieutenants.
Dispenza’s brother is a retired Hazlet police lieutenant, and his late grandfather was a New York City police officer.
Sweetman, 44, is known to many borough residents as the police officer who formerly worked with K-9 partners Max and Remi, when the police department had a K-9 unit.
Sweetman, who has been on the force since 1994, is a Freehold native who spent four years in the U.S. Air Force serving as a security policeman. He said he wanted to be a police officer from the time he was a child.
“I wanted to help people,” he said. “I wanted to make a difference.”
Sweetman, who is currently a member of the department’s bike patrol, was one of the four original members of that unit when it was created in the late 1990s. He said he has always enjoyed being part of the bike patrol because police officers are much more accessible in this role and do not have the barrier of a patrol car between themselves and residents.
The bike patrol now has 10 members, and Sweetman and Sgt. Chris Colaner, who is also an original member of the patrol, train new officers who join the unit.
Sweetman previously served as a member of the Street Crimes Unit, which eventually became the Freehold Borough and Freehold Township Joint Investigative Team. He has also served as a field training officer.
Ciampa, 39, was raised in Edison and moved to Freehold Borough in 1994. He previously worked as a manager in a membership warehouse club.
Ciampa attended Middlesex County College, Edison, and was enrolled in a business program.
“At some point I found myself searching for something with more of a purpose that would give me the opportunity to experience life from other people’s perspective,” Ciampa said.
Becoming a police officer became that purpose, and Ciampa joined the Freehold Borough Police Department in 1999.
Ciampa has worked as a field training officer, he was a member of the Joint Investigative Team, and he is a member of the bike patrol. He served as president of PBA Local 159 for almost six years.
As a sergeant, Ciampa said he will supervise a squad that will be patrolling the town.
Police Chief Glenn Roberts said all three men are dedicated and have the experience and the knowledge to move up to the next level.
“They are all team players, and that is important. And although they work together very well, they also have their own individual skills and talents to allow them to grow into their new positions,” Roberts said.