BELMAR, NJ — Six officers have moved up in rank on the Belmar Police Department, as its second-in-command, Capt. Thomas Cox, has retired after a 30-year career highlighted by his service in the detective bureau.
In a special outdoor ceremony on April 10, some 100 people gathered near the gazebo at Silver Lake, where Police Chief Tina Scott presented each officer for promotion — Lt. Michael Campbell to captain, Sgts. Todd Lee and Gregory Desserich, both to lieutenant, and Patrolmen John Mahoney, Brian Poppert and Michael Allen, all to sergeant.
“A good leader is only as good as their team,” said Chief Scott, surrounded by the 25-member police force. “This is my team, and I’m very proud to have them all work with me together for the residents of Belmar and Lake Como.”
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After administering the law enforcement oath to each officer, Mayor Mark Walsifer, a retired Belmar police officer himself, offered his congratulations to the group and expressed his confidence in the department, which grows by another 80 special officers in the summer.
“It’s the best police department in the state of New Jersey, but you know I’m a little biased because I worked here for 25 years,” he said. “We have summer coming (and) we wanted to make sure we got these promotions in place before the season started.”
The event culminated with a tribute to Capt. Cox, who was thanked by Walisfer for his three decades of service to the department and received a special resolution from the mayor and borough council that was read into the record by Chief Scott.
Below is the video of the entire ceremony, including a performance by The Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh of the Jersey Shore Pipe Band:
Here are the career highlights of all seven officers:
Capt. Michael Campbell earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina before joining the Belmar Police Department in 2003 as a patrolman. A graduate of the Burlington County Police Academy, he served as a firearms instruction for the department and then was assigned to the detective bureau in 2011. Two years later, he was promoted detective sergeant and then to detective lieutenant in 2016.
Lt. Todd Lee graduated from the U.S. Department of the Interior Law Enforcement Academy in 1997 and then from the N.J. Department of Corrections Academy in 2000. He served as a juvenile officer with the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office before joining the Belmar Police Department as a patrolman in 2001. A graduate of the Ocean County Police Academy, Lee was promoted to sergeant in 2012 and became a member of the Monmouth County’s Sheriff’s Office maritime emergency response team in 2016 and then assigned as a dive supervisor in 2020.
Lt. Gregory Desserich served in the Army before graduating from Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, with an associate’s degree in criminal justice in 1999. Shortly thereafter, he joined the Belmar Police Department — first as a Class I special officer, Class II special officer and then as a patrolman after completing all levels of training at the Monmouth County Police Academy. From 2010 to 2013, Desserich was assigned to the detective bureau and from 2012 to 2020, he was the supervising firearms instructor for the department. In 2016, he was promoted to sergeant.
Sgt. John Mahoney earned his associate’s degree in criminal justice from Ocean County College, Toms River, before joining the Manasquan Police Department in 2006. He completed his police officer training at the Monmouth County Police Academy. After joining the Belmar Police Department as a patrolman in 2013, he was assigned to its detective bureau a year later.
Sgt. Brian Poppert is a graduate of DeSales University in Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He was hired by the Belmar Police Department as a Class I special officer and then Class II special officer after completing training at the Monmouth County Police Academy. In 2014, he attended the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Academy and then returned to Belmar as a patrolman after also completing a waiver course at the Monmouth County Police Academy. He had been in charge of the Belmar/Lake Como Community Policing Program before his promotion.
Sgt. Michael Allen joined the Belmar Police Department as a Class I special officer in 2000 and was hired as a full-time dispatcher later that year. In 2005, he became a special officer for the Lake Como Police Department before returning to the Belmar force in 2009 as a patrolman after completing training at the Monmouth County Police Academy. Allen heads up Belmar’s traffic bureau and serves as liaison to the Monmouth County Special Needs Registry. Since 2001, he has been a volunteer firefighter with Belmar’s Goodwill Hose Co.
Retired Capt. Thomas Cox joined the Belmar Police Department in 1991 as a police officer and was assigned to its detective bureau four years later. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2005, to lieutenant in 2012 and to captain in 2016. Since 2012, he served as supervisor of the detective bureau, responsible for overseeing many high-profile cases that resulted in numerous arrests and prosecutions. In that role, he also trained and instructed many officers in conducting investigations. In addition, Cox was instrumental in the initial development of the borough’s Community Policing Program.
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