BARNEGAT – Barnegat Police Department added some new members to the force at the March 5 committee meeting. Police Chief Keith Germain also promoted two officers to the rank of sergeant, one of which made history as the department’s first ever female sergeant.
Detective Mary Ann Cirulli was sworn in by her uncle, Mayor Alfonso Cirulli, as sergeant. Mayor Cirulli abstained from voting on the resolution for her promotion due to a conflict of interest.
Sergeant Cirulli joined the force back in 2003, joining Germain’s squad when the chief was just a young sergeant.
“Not long after she was on the squad, we had our first encounter with someone who thought it would be a good idea to try to intimidate what they thought was a short, Italian female,” joked Germain. This person quickly learned their mistake, he added.
“They would’ve done much better picking on me or someone else,” he said, describing Cirulli as a hard-worker, a go-getter, and a positive team member.
“[Mary Ann] has been as steady as the North Star since she got here,” Germain said.
Cirulli has served in the uniformed operations division, as a member of the Barnegat Police Narcotics Unit, and as a member of the investigative division where she earned the title of “go-to arson investigator,” taking after her father who was an arson investigator in his day.
Cirulli will now serve as the supervisor of the agency’s Crime Reduction Unit.
While Germain praised the department for having a higher percentage of female officers than other municipalities, he noted that “we’ve always been missing that next step…it’s a historic day for the department.”
Detective Nicholas Venuto was also promoted to the rank of sergeant during the meeting, sworn in by Mayor Cirulli, accompanied by his family.
“Nick Venuto is one of those guys…just no matter what, always a good attitude, always a company guy, always working hard, always that person that steps up when you need somebody to step up,” said Germain.
Venuto joined the department back in 2007. He was a long-time SWAT team member and did two stints with the Ocean County Narcotics Strike Force.
In addition to these promotions, the department received three new patrolmen, all of which are Ocean County natives.
Patrick Moran, a Barnegat High School graduate, and Keith Falkowski, a Southern Regional High School graduate, were sworn in as Non-Certified Patrolmen.
Brandon Bloodgood, hailing from Toms River East, was sworn in as a Certified Patrolman.