Pleasantville fills hall to congratulate new sergeants

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Pleasantville Police Officer T.J. Zyckowski takes the oath of office Monday, July 16 to become one of the department’s two newest sergeants. Mayor Jesse Tweedle Sr. delivered the oath.

PLEASANTVILLE – Praise and applause filled City Council Chambers on Monday, July 16 while Mayor Jesse Tweedle gave the oath of office to two officers who were promoted to sergeant.

Officers T.J. Zyckowski and Vaughn Howse were both promoted to sergeant before a packed room that included members of the City Council, and Pleasantville Police Department and the officers’ families and friends.

"I’m blown away by all of the support," T.J. Zyckowski said. "I would like to thank Chief (Jose) Ruiz, my family and my friends."

Howse thanked his family and parents "for their many years of guidance."

"I wish the both of you the best of luck," Council President Judy Ward said. "Vaughn, I’ve known your parents since before you were born. You are like family."

Councilman Lincoln Green encouraged the officers to continue "to be careful out there and to do your duties."

Ruiz said he watched Howse throughout his career grow in his duties with the department.

"Now he is one of our senior guys," Ruiz said.

"T.J. has impressed us with his leadership skills," Ruiz continued. "I look forward to the young guys who are up and coming."

But new officers weren’t the only people receiving praise during the meeting.

Tweedle and Pleasantville Police Communications Director Fred Wood acknowledged the efforts of the two women who manned the 911 phones during the June 30 derecho.

In one hour, dispatchers Nicole Grasty and Michele Mansour handled as many calls as they normally receive during an eight-hour shift, Wood said.

Even more impressive was the duo’s ability to answer calls within state guidelines.

"They want 90 percent of the 911 calls answered within the first 10 seconds," Wood said.

But during the evening of the derecho, "our girls answered 98 percent of the calls within 10 seconds," Wood said.

Then a few days later, Dispatcher Hannah Walters convinced a couple to come to the city’s safety building to charge their cell phones so they could reach out-of-state family members, Wood said.

While the couple was in the building, Lt. Matthew Hartman went out for a couple of coffees for them but returned with full breakfasts instead, Wood said.

Also, Officer Theresa Tully called the couple’s out-of-state daughter to let her know that her parents were safe while they waited for power to be restored.

Tweedle said the officers’ actions set them apart from other departments and deserve praise.

"We do appreciate it," Tweedle said. "It does not go unnoticed."
Mayor Jessie Tweedle, right, delivers the oath of office to Pleasantville Police Officer Vaugh Howse on Monday, July 16. Howse was one of two officers promoted to the rank of sergeant during a ceremony held during the regular City Council meeting.

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