Fairfield (NJ) The Fairfield Police Department named its 2023 Employee of the Year at its annual Fairfield Police Foundation Gala held at IL Tulipano in Cedar Grove. The recipient of the award, which was established by Chief Manna this year, is selected by the entire department. In front of a jam-packed crowd, the chief announced the inaugural recipient of the award to be Dispatcher Joseph Piccolo. He joined the Fairfield Police Department in 2019after leaving an administrative position with the Toms River Police Department.
The following comes from Chief Manna’s remarks in presenting the award:
“This year I wanted to establish an annual award to recognize one Fairfield Police employee who best epitomizes those things that all of our employees have. Such things as professionalism, dedication to duty, being community oriented, being a team player, being respected by those you work with, and of course productivity. The most prestigious thing about this award is that it was not going to come from me, the chief of police, but instead from the entire department. They would be the ones to select the employee who was to receive this award. There is no greater recognition than that which comes from your peers.
Our membership overwhelmingly selected Dispatcher Joseph Piccoli. In doing this, it absolutely is a testament to who Dispatcher Piccoli is within our department and truly how our personnel respect and recognize the fantastic work he does on a daily basis.
The job of dispatcher is amongst the hardest anywhere in the police department. I cannot truly depict how hard it actually is when the proverbial “s@#$ hits the fan”. Imagine being the only one inside police headquarters when a true emergency happens like a car accident or fire. Every telephone line begins ringing at one time, multiple radio communications from many different agencies making requests for the dispatcher to do something. Inevitably, at this same time, someone walks into the police station looking for directions or to report some other crime. All the time this is happening, the dispatcher must be available to answer the next emergency call that could be only seconds away.
It is truly also one of the most important positions in the department as many citizens may only have one encounter with the Fairfield Police Department, which is likely to be a phone call answered by the dispatcher. Their opinion of our department will be based on that encounter. So often, under the most difficult of conditions, dispatchers must remain calm, understanding, compassionate and quick. I can tell you with certainty that no one does it better than Dispatcher Joseph Piccoli.
To say that Dispatcher Piccoli has a gift for searching our automated license plate readers system and other computer databases is an understatement. But more than that, his tenacity and patience in taking even the smallest detail like a description of a car or a partial license plate and going through hundreds of possible vehicles that may have gone past any of our license plate readers to ultimately find a suspect vehicle for detectives to follow up with is incredible. By doing this mundane task, he provides our detectives with more time to conduct better follow up investigations.
Joe has become so good at this task that our officers think anytime he is given the slightest information, he will inevitably give them a suspect. On those occasions when he does tell our officers and detectives that he couldn’t find any vehicle, they are disappointed but know that nothing more could have been done if Joe couldn’t find it. To this end, he has been commended on two separate occasions for actually developing the suspects in two strings of burglaries that resulted in the arrests of the offenders.
Apart from his dispatching abilities, Dispatcher Piccoli is always there to take a vacant shift to assure the department remains properly staffed and he is always willing to take part in all the community events the department does. For all of these reasons, the 2023 Fairfield Police Department Employee of the Year is Dispatcher Joseph Piccoli.”
Authorized by: Chief Anthony Manna