Joseph F. Berenato
Council honors Fiorentino
Former HPD Captain
retired in August 2022
HAMMONTON—Retired Hammonton Police Capt. Mark Fiorentino was honored at the October 24 meeting of town council.
Hammonton Police Chief Kevin Friel said that Fiorentino began with the department in 1990.
“He has served the community for 33 years, reaching the attainment of captain—at which, that point, he has retired as captain. It’s fitting to notice and recognize someone dedicating that much time in service to our community,” Friel said.
Friel presented Fiorentino with a plaque and a shadowbox containing one of Fiorentino’s duty shirts.
“I make a shadowbox for everybody, just so—no matter where they wind up in their travels and in their retirement—they always take a piece of our family with them,” Friel said.
Fiorentino thanked Friel, as well as Mayor Stephen DiDonato and town council, for the honor.
He also expressed appreciation to his co-workers, the residents of Hammonton and those he met while performing his duties, and gave particular thanks to his family and friends.
“To my wife Gloria, who has had my back since the first day of academy to this day, it’s not easy being a cop’s wife. Thank you for being the glue of our family. I love you. To my children, who fill my heart with love and pride, it’s also not easy being a cop’s child. You miss things in their lives because you’re working that you can’t get back, so I cherish the moments I have with you. You are my world; I love you guys,” Fiorentino said.
Fiorentino also had a message for the other members of the police department.
“Be well. Stay safe and be there for each other. Have integrity, respect and honor in knowing you gave it your all with the intent of going home to your families after every shift. Remember: do this job to have a life, not for this job to be your life,” Fiorentino said.
After Fiorentino left the podium, Friel announced two new hires for the department. Friel said that, while waiting for civil service results, the department has restarted its Class II program.
“When COVID struck, courts were shut down and we had a few people that were Class IIs that were on the list—and wound up being hired as full-time officers; we let our Class II program go by the wayside,” Friel said.
The program restarted, Friel said, with “the advent of hiring retired officers as sworn Class II’s for our public school system.”
“Also, we are going to be providing Class II’s to help augment our patrol staff,” Friel said.
The first hire, Friel said, was Alexandra Mardell, a graduate of Hammonton High School who is currently enrolled in Rowan University.
“She served the city of Ventnor as a Class I officer, and this summer served the community of Stone Harbor as a Class II officer,” Friel said.
Friel asked for permission from the mayor and council to hire Mardell. Councilman William Olivo made the motion, which Councilman Sam Rodio seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
After Olivo swore Mardell into her position, Friel continued, noting that there are fewer individuals interested in a career in law enforcement.
“It takes great courage and dedication to step forward for that. It’s not always the best life to be your brother’s keeper—or your sister’s keeper—and I applaud someone of her youth stepping forward to begin that 30-year career,” Friel said.
The second hire, Friel said, was Joseph DeLaurentis. Friel said that DeLaurentis was a police officer in Winslow Twp. who retired after 25 years “in good standing.”
“He has completed a background check here, and would complete our cadre of two officers—two retired, Class II officers—to provide security for our elementary school and our Early Childhood Education Center,” Friel said.
Rodio made the motion to hire DeLaurentis, who was not in attendance. Olivo seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
Friel informed council that the most recent civil service list included eligible promotions. He asked for permission to proceed with the interview process for promotions to sergeant and lieutenant. Olivo made the motion, which Rodio seconded, and it carried.