During a 2019 ceremony, Capt. Anthony Garreffi, left, joins with Lt. James McQuillen, Sgt. Shawn Lesniewski and then-Police Chief Tom McQuillen. (Photo courtesy Sea Isle City Police Department)

By Maddy Vitale

Sea Isle City gave the nod to two police officers who have served the community for years, to help keep it safe, by approving their promotions.

Police Sgt. James McQuillen was promoted to the rank of lieutenant Monday, along with Officer Shawn Lesniewski, who rose to sergeant.

“They are two hard working and dedicated officers,” Police Chief Tom McQuillen said Thursday.

McQuillen explained that both officers did stellar on their civil service examinations.

“They put the time in to study and prepare for their exams and came out No. 1 overall on their prospective lists,” McQuillen said. “I look forward to working with both of them in their new positions. I feel they are both great leaders and will be fine examples for the officers they will lead.”

James McQuillen is the younger brother of Chief Tom McQuillen. He joined the police department in August of 2006, after serving in the Marine Corps for six years. He became a sergeant in 2015.

Lesniewski, who began with the department in 2011, will serve as a patrol sergeant, replacing James McQuillen in that role. McQuillen will oversee patrols as the new lieutenant.

The Sea Isle City Police Department is in City Hall at 233 JFK Boulevard.

There are 23 officers in the police department, including the chief, one captain, a patrol lieutenant and an administrative lieutenant, four squad sergeants and one detective sergeant.

In the summer, 30 Class II seasonal officers assist with patrols when the population swells with visitors.

Chief McQuillen said it is crucial to have capable and ample staff in the police department.

“When I was promoted (in March 2018), we never officially replaced my position,” the chief said of his former rank of captain. “We tried to make do with less administrative staff, but there are more administrative tasks now with advancements in body cameras and discovery-type issues than in prior years.”

He added, “In order to maintain the arduous standards of best police practices you need administrative staff who can help you maintain that. We certainly recognize the balance between more with less, but at the end of day, you need these folks to fulfill these critical roles.”

Some Sea Isle City Police Department Facebook comments reflected some of the public’s thoughts about the two promotions:

Nelson Snowden wrote: “Congratulations Lieutenant Jim McQuillen. Thank you for your service. Be safe out there.”

He continued with: “Congratulations Sergeant Shawn Lesniewski. Thank you for your service. Be safe out there.”

Dennis Felsing wrote: “Outstanding, congratulations Jim.”

Jon Gansert Sr. said: “Well deserved boys. Stay safe.”

Ruth Brown said: “Well done!! Thank you for your service.”