Friday, December 07, 2007

Police Promotions Evoke Warm Support

Well-wishers crammed City Hall Friday for promotion ceremonies and vigorously applauded new Police Captain Michael Gilliam and Police Sgt. Kevin M. O’Brien after Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs administered their oaths.

Police Chief Edward Santiago read lists of their accomplishments, addressing them by their nicknames within the division.

O’Brien, known as “OB,” joined the force in 2000 and soon won recognition a year later for helping in a narcotics investigation and assisting at Fresh Kills after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

O’Brien later received commendations from Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest and South Plainfield Police Chief John Ferraro for crime fighting. The South Plainfield incident resulted in three arrests and confiscation of two handguns and four kilos of cocaine.

In 2005, he was commended by Major Edward M. O’Neill, commander of the State Police Office of Intelligence, for concluding an investigation with arrests of 31 persons, “effectively dismantling (the) influence the ‘Cash Money Brothers” criminal street gang held within the city.”

In 2007, he received two more commendations. His wife, Yvette, and children, Taylor, Michael and Eric, joined in the applause Friday for his promotion.

Gilliam, a 19-year veteran of the division, has been involved with Tae Kwon Do for 30 years, hence his nickname, “Master Mike.” He has been recognized for his performance in a hostage situation in 1998 and a burglary arrest in 1994. He received the Meritorious Service Award in 1995 for arresting a person who fired a gun at him and received an Excellent Duty bar for apprehending and armed person.

Plainfield Police Sgt. Francess Bennette gave a tribute to Gilliam, noting they were friends before they joined the division.

“You made an excellent, excellent choice,” Bennette said.

Gilliam’s son, Martesse, was also present for the proud occasion.

Gilliam and O’Brien also received kudos from Assemblyman Jerry Green, Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig and Councilman Don Davis.

The event gave a glimpse of the professional camaraderie among Plainfield’s finest. Colleagues snapped dozens of photos of the event and law enforcement officials, including retired Plainfield Police Captain Ronald Law, attended to show their support.

--Bernice Paglia


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