The Verona Police Department provides service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In order to accomplish this, the department currently has three squads (A,B,C) working eight-hour shifts to provide constant 24-hour coverage.
During the day and early evening the town is filled with alert residents who help identify suspicious activity and combat crime. During the overnight hours, between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when the majority of residents are tucked into bed, the safety of the town falls on the officers of A-Squad – aka the Midnight Shift or the Graveyard Shift.
Since July 2017, I have been assigned to the Midnight Shift and slowly began to realize that this shift can be easily forgotten about by the residents. During this time, I have learned a lot about these officers and discovered a new level of appreciation, respect and admiration for them. It’s not easy to turn your life upside down and live like a vampire, but these dedicated officers swore an oath and they do it with professionalism and pride. The squad brings a diversified mix of life, education and work experience — creating a well rounded problem solving team. The combined training and experience of these officers is a valuable asset to any call for service and I have seen first hand there is nothing they cannot accomplish while working together as a team. As a member of the Verona Police Department and a resident of the township, I am proud of the high level of professional and compassionate services these officers provide.
On an average night, these officers travel approximately 150 miles covering the 37 miles of township roadways. In November alone they covered 4,693 miles — checking schools, businesses, residences and township properties. They have undoubtedly deterred numerous crimes by maintaining a visible presence and a watchful eye.
Collectively, since January 2018, the Midnight Shift has stopped over 1,000 motor vehicles, issued over 1,750 summonses, written over 460 reports, responded to over 200 medical calls, responded to over 190 suspicious vehicle calls, conducted over 160 checks (residences, business & vehicles), made 60 arrests and pursued 7 vehicles – one of which was being operated by a homicide suspect.
Most residents never get to meet or interact with the officers on the midnight shift, but I have had the privilege of working alongside them for the past 18 months and I want to give you a very brief peek into who is watching the town while you are sleeping. In addition to taking numerous required and voluntary law enforcement related training courses, these officers have an abundance of valuable experience that enables them to competently provide emergency services.
Sergeant John Lecreux is one of the department’s military veterans having served two tours in Iraq as a combat medic with the Army National Guard. Sergeant Lecreux is the former Traffic Sergeant, a Level 1 Traffic Safety Specialist, a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and is trained in Special Weapons & Tactics (SWAT). Sergeant Lecreux has an associates degree in Criminal Justice and is finishing up a bachelor’s degree in History. Sergeant Lecreux also plays for the New Jersey State PBA hockey team.
Sergeant Anthony Condorelli is currently assigned to the Swing Shift, which overlaps the Midnight Shift from 11pm – 3am. Sergeant Condorelli joined the department in 2002 and was a Field Training Officer, Detective and PBA President before receiving his promotion in 2017. Sergeant Condorelli provides a wide range of skills and additional supervision to the squad. Sergeant Condorelli has received training from the FBI in hostage negotiations and is a certified Physical Training (PT) Instructor. Sergeant Condorelli also serves as the department’s Counter-Terrorism Liaison and State Police Terminal Coordinator.
Officer Herberto Carattini, Jr. brings 18 years of diverse law enforcement experience to the squad and joined VPD in 2006. Officer Carattini is often the go to officer on the shift, providing direction and guidance to the newer officers. Officer Carattini is a Field Training Officer, certified firefighter, Verona PBA State Delegate, 9th New Jersey State PBA Vice President and holds the position of Treasurer for the Essex County PBA Conference. Officer Carattini is also an avid photographer, covering both department and State PBA related events.
Officer Robert Maguire graduated from VHS in 2013 and joined the department in 2015. Officer Maguire put his college education on hold to accept the position, but is still pursuing his bachelor’s degree part-time. Officer Maguire is a Defensive Tactics Instructor and Field Training Officer for the department. Officer Maguire is a certified firefighter and EMT and also an active member of both the Verona Fire Department and Verona Rescue Squad.
Officer Stephanie Colon graduated from VHS in 2010 where she was a standout softball player and joined the department in 2016. Prior to joining the department, Officer Colon earned her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Kean University and had extensive work experience in private security operations. Officer Colon is fluent in Spanish and the department’s first Hispanic female officer. Officer Colon is also one of the department’s first Conducted Energy Device (Taser) operators.
Officer Brian McMahon graduated from VHS in 2012 and joined the department in 2016. Officer McMahon interned for both the Essex and Passaic County Prosecutor’s Offices while pursuing his bachelor’s degree, which he plans on completing in the future. In 2018, Officer McMahon was reclassified to a Humane Law Enforcement Officer (HLEO), becoming one of two Humane Officer Liaisons for the department.
Officer Joseph Pami graduated from VHS in 2012 and went on to graduate from William Paterson University in 2016 as a member of the Criminal Justice Honor Society before joining the department as a meter enforcement officer and dispatcher. Officer Pami joined the police ranks of VPD in 2017. Officer Pami is a certified firefighter and EMT and also an active member of both the Verona Fire Department and Verona Rescue Squad.
Dispatcher Connor McCann graduated from VHS in 2015 and joined the department in 2017 as a meter enforcement officer and part-time dispatcher before becoming a full-time employee in 2018. Dispatcher McCann is currently a Lieutenant on the Verona Rescue Squad and a firefighter with the Verona Fire Department. Dispatcher McCann is also one semester away from completing his bachelor’s degree at Montclair State University.
Like most Verona Officers, these officers are all personally invested in the township. Most still live in town or have family in town, their children attend the schools and they frequently patronize the businesses. If you see an officer that you don’t recognize, there is a good possibility they work on the Midnight Shift. If you have the opportunity to stop and say “hello”, please do, they would love to meet you – especially if the sun is shining.
Lieutenant David Wardrope