Johnston Police hold recognition night


The class and camaraderie of the Johnston Police Department surfaced in many ways last week inside the nearly-full multi-use room at the Senior Center on Hartford Avenue.

From the time Chief Joseph P. Razza delivered a heart-warming welcome, until Pastor Chris Abhulime of The King’s Tabernacle Church gave a powerful benediction, the supportive JPD’s close-knit family enjoyed excellent food from Ralph’s Catering and Kitchen during the night, which was highlighted by the presentation of 40 awards for Recognition of Excellence.

There was a moving and powerful speech from Mayor Joseph M. Polisena, there was pomp and circumstance per the polished JPD Color Guard. Rev. Peter J. Gower — who serves as Police Chaplain — offered during the invocation, “this is a night for thanksgiving when we show gratitude to these men and women who keep our town safe.”

There was also a special sense of family, as Razza called upon Anthony Vieira — son of JPD Deputy Chief Mark Vieira — who delivered the Pledge of Allegiance.

Razza, meanwhile, opened the program saying: “I’d like to welcome all of you to this evening’s Recognition of Excellence Awards Ceremony so that we can all appreciate and praise the fine accomplishments of the fine men and women who serve this community with great pride, honor and distinction.”

The Chief then called upon the JPD’s well-dressed Honored Guard to present the colors and then made a special request for Master Anthony Vieira to please come up and lead us the in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

After Father Gower gave the opening prayer, Razza said “ensuring public safety begins with a dedicated Mayor who truly understands what public safety is and also is committed to keep this town’s residents safe and well protected, but more importantly, ensure its police department is in a constant state of preparedness.”

Thus, as Razza stepped back from the podium, he paused then continued: “So, at this time it is truly my honor to call upon this town’s Director of Public Safety, Mayor and the Johnston Police Department’s biggest fan to please come up and address us, Mayor Joseph Polisena.”

After the applause subsided, Polisena began: “Good evening and welcome to all of you here tonight to recognize and honor those men and women of the Johnston Police Department. This is truly an important night for all of us to be here because this is a small way of letting those who serve and protect that we have their backs. As their Mayor, I have their backs unlike those politicians who go along with the cancel culture and those who want to defund the police.”

Polisena’s next statement was greeted by applause that echoed through the room.

“As I have said in the past, as long as I’m the Mayor I will never — ever — defend the police. I will say to any surrounding community — as well as any elected official — who defunds their police department we will not go into their communities and send our police to assist them!”

The Mayor then added with an upbeat, serious tone of voice: “Defunding the police is such an insane idea. Those that went to defund the police want a lawless society, until they need the police and in their true hypocritical fashion they (want the) police to defend them when they are being robbed, raped or harmed in any way.”

Polisena then paused, added: “To those people, shame on you. Those elected officials both local, state and federal, they need to go. They need to be thrown out of office in the next election.”

In that regard, the Mayor sternly stated: “However, tonight we acknowledge members of our elite department who — as they do every time they are on duty — put others ahead of themselves and their safety as well as risk their lives every hour … on duty serving our town.”

From there, Razza emceed an impressive awards ceremony that resembled the class and character that the JPD is — and always has been — known for throughout the state for years.

The Chief was assisted by Deputy Chief Mark Vieira — and in some cases members of the Johnston Town Council — in presenting awards in five categories: Letter of Recognition, Commendation Award, Department Ribbon Award, Town Council Award and Making a Difference Award.

In all, JPD officers received a total of 40 awards including an official Town of Johnston Citation from the Mayor and Town.

One of most impressive parts of the Recognition of Excellence Awards Ceremony was that each and every one of the 40 honors that were bestowed upon Johnston’s finest came from the Awards Committee that included Capt. Joseph Salvadore, Lt. Stephen Altomari, Lt. David Loffler, Sgt. Luca Lancellotti, Det. Anthony Sasso and Patrolman Charles Psilopoulos.

After all the awards were presented — and Razza invited everyone to partake in the night’s buffet which was prepared and served by Ralph’s Catering — Razza concluded: “I am truly honored and proud of these officers who received special recognition this evening. All of our officers are dedicated and provide a level of service that is second to none. But those officers have gone above and beyond the line of duty and for that I’m truly appreciative.”

The Chief then added: “This awards ceremony gives me the opportunity tonight to highlight the level of commitment the officers of this town put forth on a daily basis to ensure that everyone who resides, works and visits Johnston can do so in peace. “

Razza then concluded saying “My gratitude goes out to everyone who came out on this truly special evening to show their support for the Johnston Police, especially Mayor Polisena, Chief of Staff Douglas Jeffrey and a big thank you to the Honorable Johnston Town Council, Father Gower, Pastor Chris and photographer Ron Cece for taking time from their busy schedules, it is greatly appreciated.”


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