COURT HOUSE – Middle Township added two new sergeants to its roster of officers during Township Committee’s Dec. 3 meeting.
In front of friends, family and fellow officers, Corp. Francis Fiore III and Corp. Mark Higginbottom took their oaths promoting each to the rank of sergeant.
Higginbottom has been a police officer since August, 2001. He and his wife Jennifer celebrated their first wedding anniversary Oct. 7 and welcomed their first child, Liam Scott, Oct. 6.
Over the course of his career, Higginbottom has served as a patrol officer and as a member of the county Prosecutor’s Office Guns, Gangs and Narcotics Task Force as an undercover agent. Most recently assigned to the township’s detective division, he said he is very excited about his promotion.
“When you take the job everyone has their goals to move up through the ranks,” he told the Herald. “It’s a change.” His promotion means he will now be back on patrol as a patrol squad sergeant.
Higginbottom is a 1993 graduate of Middle Township High School and served four years of active duty in the Marine Corps.
Fiore served as a law enforcement officer since 1990. He told this newspaper his initial position was that of a summer Class II officer in Stone Harbor. His first full time position as a police officer was in West Cape May. He began his tenure in Middle Township in 1996 as a patrol officer.
The father of two daughters, Fiore is a graduate of Wildwood Catholic High School. He, as well as his parents, live in the township.
According to Fiore, the best parts of being a police officer are intrinsic.
“I get the reward of being able to help someone,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to be a part of the town you grew up in.”
As sergeant, Fiore hope to be able to share his experiences with other police officers. “I’m looking forward to it,” he said, “because as a sergeant, I get to lead individuals in police work and share my experience with younger officers.”
Mayor Dan Lockwood administered the oaths to both new sergeants.
“It’s great to see these two officers move up in a fantastic police department,” said Lockwood after the swearing in. “We wish them the best in their new positions in the department.”
Lockwood said he was familiar with Higginbottom through his daughter’s involvement with the local DARE program.
“He was a huge asset that way and I’m sure he’ll do just as well as a sergeant.”
The mayor said he has worked with Fiore as part of the department’s Toys for Tots program. “I look forward to working with him on that again. Hopefully he won’t take that off his checklist.”