The meeting room at the Byram municipal building was teeming with supporters on Tuesday evening, Feb. 4, all gathered to say goodbye to outgoing Byram Township Police Department (BTPD) Chief of Police Pete Zabita and to congratulate the department’s new chief Kenneth Burke, as well as Brian Moreland and Thomas Delliker, who received promotions.
Along with dozens of family members and friends, among those in attendance were Eskil "Skip" Danielson, who served as the first Chief of Police for Byram; his son Eric Danielson, Chief of Police for Andover Township; representatives of the Sparta, Stanhope, and Netcong Police Departments, the Lakeland Emergency Squad, and various other police and fire departments; the Rev. Hugh Matlack, who serves as the chaplain for the BTPD and BTFD; and Sussex County Prosecutor Francis Koch.
Mayor Alex Rubenstein read a proclamation thanking Zabita for his 24 years of service to the Byram Police, the last four of which were spent as chief. Zabita accepted a plaque from the town and offered his appreciation to the residents and to his police officers. The now-former chief is credited with being the driving force behind the Cram the Cruiser food collection event, which now takes place countywide every spring, and for holding his men to a firm commitment to true community policing.
Incoming Chief of Police Kenneth Burke, a longtime member of the force, served as the lieutenant under Zabita and was sworn in as only the fifth head of the 49-year-old Byram Township Police Department. Sgt. Brian Moreland has been promoted to the lieutenancy left vacant by Burke, and Ptl. Thomas Delliker has been promoted to Sergeant and Patrol Supervisor.