A full house of dignitaries, police officers and family members were on hand Friday afternoon at Municipal Court to witness the promotion ceremony for new Parsippany Police Department Chief Anthony DeZenzo.
"When I was getting started in politics, Tony DeZenzo was still in elementary school. I watched him grow up," remembered Township Council President Michael dePierro, who, with his colleague Council member Vincent Ferrara, was on hand for the ceremony. "He was always a striver and a hard worker. I know he will do a great job for the department."
"Choosing Anthony DeZenzo to be the chief of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department is going to be one of the best things I've ever done in my administration," said Mayor James Barberio. "To show proof of his leadership qualities, you just have to go back to Aug. 28, when the flood came. He did a magnificent job and the police department showed it was a well-oiled machine. I give him a lot of credit.
"I'm proud to say, Chief DeZenzo, I am proud of you," the mayor said.
Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi echoed the sentiment.
"Parsippany is a key, integral part of [the county's] law enforcement plan," he told the audience. "You couldn't have picked a better man" to head the police department.
Former Sheriff and Town Council President John Fox, who now sits on the Morris County Board of Elections, recalled hiring a 19-year-old DeZenzo, the son of the late Capt. Anthony DeZenzo Sr. of the sheriff's department, to serve as a sheriff's officer in 1981.
"Tony Jr. applied to become a sheriff's officer and, of course, I hired him," Fox said of the man known as "the captain's kid." "He was so good that within four months, he was part of the detective unit."
A year later, DeZenzo joined the Parsippany Police Department. By 1987, he was promoted to sergeant and earned the ranks of lieutenant in 1991 and captain in 1997. He also served as a patrol division commander and worked in the support services division.
DeZenzo kept busy in other areas of citizen service as well, working as a member of the Emergency Response Team and as deputy coordinator of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Office of Emergency Management. At the time of his promotion to deputy chief last year, DeZenzo was supervising the PPD's Investigative Division. He has also served as a Division Commander in the Patrol Division aswell as the Support Services Division.
A lifelong Parsippany resident, the new chief is an alum of Parsippany High School and a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the West Point Leadership and Command School. He holds a Master’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
A visibly jubilant DeZenzo told Patch that he is grateful that so many people turned out to see him sworn into office.
"I am humbled that Mayor Barberio, Prosecutor Bianchi, Sheriff Fox and everyone took time out of their busy day to be here to support me. It means a lot," he said.
Asked about his first priority as chief, DeZenzo said he will focus on staffing issues.
"The mayor and the council are on board with this," he said. "We're down to about 95 officers, which is an unprecedented low in the past 10 years. So, first thing, we're going to address that."
On hand to support DeZenzo at the ceremony was his family, including his wife, Marion; their two sons, Anthony and Michael; and his mother.