For Brick Township’s new police chief, Tuesday night was a “dream come true.”
Surrounded by his wife, children, brother and parents, with hundreds of police officers from across the state looking on, James Riccio took the oath of office after the township council unanimously voted to approve his appointment as police chief.
“I worked my entire career with hope for this day,” Riccio said. “I’m fortunate because a lot of people don’t get to see their dream come true, and for that I’m eternally grateful.”
Riccio, formerly the department’s deputy chief, comes to the job with three decades of law enforcement experience, including leadership roles in Brick and beyond. He was one of the investigators behind what eventually became known as Operation Bid Rig, which led to the arrest of corrupt politicians throughout the state. He joined the Brick department in 1986 and over the course of the next 28 years, worked on the township’s first SET Team, was assigned to the Ocean County Narcotics Strike Force, and completed special assignments for both the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, and the FBI. He oversaw much of the township’s law enforcement response to Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Riccio has also spent more than 30 years as a volunteer with the Breton Woods Fire Company and is a District 1 Fire Commissioner.
“This man is a devoted, devoted officer,” said Councilwoman Marianna Pontoriero. “He’s well respected by his peers, hard-working, boots-on-the-ground, hands-on. More than that, he’s a wonderful person with a heart of gold.”
Riccio will earn $167,707 as chief, according to officials.
Tuesday night’s police promotion ceremony, held at Civic Plaza at the start of a township council meeting, also included several other promotions of officers.
Capt. Robert Mazza was sworn in as the department’s new deputy chief. Mazza, a 27 year veteran of the department, has served as a shift commander, a patrol supervisor, and is currently commander of the investigations division as well as the Special Enforcement Response Team.
Lt. Donald Ling and Lt. Vincent Pacitti were both promoted to captain positions, and will work side-by-side with Captain Ron Dougard.
Sergeants Michael Zolezi and Joe Forester were both promoted to lieutenants, and officers Paul Catalina and Pete Thomas were both promoted to sergeants.