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Fort Lee Police Hold Retirement Ceremony

Four officers were honored Wednesday for their years of service.

The Fort Lee Police Department held a retirement ceremony for four members who have retired from the force.

Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas O. Ripoli honored Lt. Scott Bendul, Sgt. John Klein, Det. James Hunt and P.O. Steve Pumilia Wednesday with a flag ceremony in front of the Fort Lee Police Station.

As Ripoli gave each retired officer their final salute, he handed each man an American flag that had hung for a portion of time in front of the police station on September 11, 2012. 

Ripoli told the assembled crowd that he wanted to recognize the officers who retired under his watch. 

"I want to thank these men for their commitment to the Fort Lee Police Department," Ripoli said. "They were courageous, loyal, dedicated and hardworking."

Bendul, retiring after 25 years of service, served in general investigation and in the Traffic Division/Motorcycle Unit where he was certified as a master motorcycle instructor, only one of about 20 master instructors in the country.

Klein, a Fort Lee native who retired after 29 years of service, served in narcotics for 10 years, seven of which he was on loan to U.S. Customs. Klein also served as Chief of the Fort Lee Fire Department. 

Hunt, born and raised in Fort Lee, retires after 25 years of service. He began in patrol but has been assigned to the Detective department for 19 years.

Hunt received eight meritorious service awards and three awards for valor. 

Pumilia, also born and raised in Fort Lee, retired after 29 years of service. During his tenure on the force, Pumilia served in patrol, traffic, records, narcotics and anti-crime. An active member of the PBA, Pumilia served as its president from 2004 to 2006. 

Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich thanked the men and the entire police department for their service to Fort Lee. 

Congratulating them on their retirement, Sokolich said, "The talent and commitment of these men will be missed."

"The Fort Lee Police Department is such a fabric of the community," Soklich said. "Your priority, as ours, is community."

Also in attendance were Fort Lee Councilmen Harvey Sohmer and Michael Sargenti. 

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