As reported by, a former state trooper and veteran of the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office has been selected by Mayor Tony Mack to head Trenton’s police department, the city’s legal counsel confirmed. Ralph Rivera, Jr. rose to the rank of major during his 27 years with the New Jersey State Police and was a candidate to lead the agency as superintendent in 2003. Upon his retirement, he was hired as executive undersheriff in Bergen County and served as the second-in-command of that department for five years.

Rivera and former New Brunswick Police Director Michael Beltranena were the two names the state Department of Community Affairs sent Mack following interviews with a number of candidates. Beltranena was not selected because he refused to move into Trenton as part of accepting the post.

Rivera’ selection must be confirmed by City Council, and the city’s legal counsel expected they would take up the matter at their next meeting on April 3. George Dzurkoc, the Policemen’s Benevolent Association president, said he was not familiar with Rivera. “We’re just going to wait until he gets here and hopefully he’ll get indoctrinated to the city and we can move forward,” he said.

Rivera’s confirmation would make him Mack’s first permanent police director in 20 months of his administration. Current acting Police Director David Armitage said today he’d been given no instructions by City Hall as to how much longer he would serve.