Few new police officers joining the Warren Township Police Department have a testimonial offered on their behalf by a former mayor, but Eric Task got some high praise from Township Committeeman Victor Sordillo after he was sworn in at Thursday's committee meeting.
"I've known Eric Task since he was about 10 years old and he's always been...his whole family's been...great friends," Sordillo said, noting the family's history of volunteerism and community service. "It is so nice someone is giving so much at such a young age to be a member of our proud police force."
For Ofc. Task, that community service included time as a volunteer firefighter with the Mt. Bethel Volunteer Fire Co. and Warren Special Police, before his step into a role as a fulltime police officer.
"I look forward to serving the community," the 2005 Watchung Hills Regional High School graduate said. "I'm happy and feel fortunate to have a career with the department."
Task said he didn't always seek a career in police work. He graduated from Seton Hall University with a bachelor's in business administration, but didn't head for a job in that field rigth away.
"After college, I wasn't too sure what I wanted to do," he said.
So he went to work with the Seaside Heights police for about a year-and-a-half, but tired of the "shore patrol." He returned to Warren, and got involved in community organizations and soon recognized the police department was where he wan't to be.
"I know it's a great group of people, from the chief to the officers and dispatchers," he said.
Ofc. Task is also following in the footsteps of Chief Russell Leffert, who also grew up locally. Chief Leffert said Task has been a fixture around the police headquarters since he was "about 14-years-old."
"This is a really great day," Chief Leffert said at Ofc. Task's swearing-in. "This is like bringing it full circle and bringing it home."
A contingent of about a dozen well-wishers attended the meeting to congratulate Ofc. Task, many wearing uniforms also—police, fire and a Coast Guardsman, which he said were all friends he'd made who share his commitment to public service.
This article was edited to correct errors in captions.