Borough Appoints New Police Chief and Police Captain

At the Reorganization Meeting of the Mayor and Council held on Tuesday, January 2, 2024, Mayor Charles J.X. Kahwaty appointed Police Captain Mark McCombs as the next Police Chief for the Borough of Franklin Lakes, and appointed Lieutenant Robert Grassi, as the next Police Captain. With the recent retirement of Police Chief Carmine “Dean” Pezzuti, the Mayor and Council moved forward with promotions to fill the Chief and Captain positions. 

Both Chief McCombs and Captain Grassi have raised through the ranks with distinction. At the Reorganization Meeting, retired Franklin Lakes Police Captain Robert Lyon introduced Chief McCombs for the large audience, and Chief McCombs then introduced Captain Grassi. The best way to capture what Chief McCombs and Captain Grassi bring to these positions is to include the remarks by Captain Lyon about Chief McCombs and the remarks by Chief McCombs about Captain Grassi. Below are those remarks (as edited slightly for Buzz article purposes).


Introduction of Chief Mark McCombs
by retired Police Captain Robert Lyon

Former Police Captain Robert Lyon introduces new Police Chief Mark McCombs.
Mayor Charles J.X. Kahwaty is standing next to Captain Lyon. Chief McCombs
and his wife, Megan, are holding their daughters, Marlow and Maggie.

In April of 2021, Mark McCombs was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, where he served as Commanding Officer of the Patrol Division, which included assignments as: 

  • The Department's scheduling officer;
  • The Department's training officer; and
  • The department's Accreditation Manager, where he was in charge of overseeing the agencies first successful re-accreditation process in 2022. 

In April of 2022, Mark was promoted to the rank of Captain, where only six months later, he was also assigned as the Officer in Charge of the department, responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the agency. Throughout his distinguished 23 year law enforcement career, Mark has been recognized and awarded countless citations for his actions in the line of duty. 

I had the privilege of serving with Mark for 22 years as we came up through the ranks together. When I first met him in 2001, I quickly identified Mark as the competition, and he immediately became the measuring stick that I used to evaluate my own work performance and career. Mark earned my respect, and the respect of his peers, through his exceptional character, work ethic, and discipline. He’s a highly motivated, self-driven individual that just never seems to have an off day.

Mark sets the bar extremely high for himself, and by doing so, he not only sets the standard, but he himself becomes that standard.  Without even knowing, he made each of us better, everyday, by leading from the front, and that’s the definition of a true leader. 

Borough Administrator Hart, Mr. Mayor and esteemed members of council, I can assure you that the men and women of the Franklin Lakes Police Department, and the residents of the Borough of Franklin Lakes, are in very capable hands.

“Ordinance Number #48” established the Franklin Lakes Police Department on July 13, 1936. It was originally a part-time police agency that consisted of three officers and one patrol vehicle. It was not until 1950 that Chief Art Pickering was sworn in as the Borough's first full time Police Chief.

Ladies and gentleman, I am extremely honored to be here tonight, and to have the distinct privilege, to be the first to introduce the seventh Chief of Police in the history of the Franklin Lakes Police Department... Chief Mark McCombs.

Introduction of Captain Robert Grassi
by Chief Mark McCombs

Captain Robert Grassi being sworn in by Mayor Charles J.X. Kahwaty.
Pictured from left to right: Captain Grassi's father, Marty Eskow, his son, Marco,
his mother, Debra, his daughter, Briella, Mayor Kahwaty and Captain Grassi.

Rob Grassi grew up in Bergenfield and graduated Bergenfield High School in 1991. He is a proud United States Marine veteran, having served from 1993 to 2001, achieving the ranks of Lance Corporal, Corporal in 1996, and Sergeant in 1998.

In March of 2000, Rob joined the New York City Police Department, serving until December 2001. He was a assigned to the 44th Precinct in the Bronx.

Rob was hired by Franklin Lakes on January 1, 2002 and completed the Bergen County Police Academy as the Commanding Officer of a class of 88 recruits. He was assigned to the patrol division where he served for 13 years. Rob achieved the rank of Detective on January 6, 2015. He was assigned to the Detective Bureau and soon became the acting supervisor. He was promoted to Detective Sergeant on June 19, 2019 and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on April 1, 2022.

During his career, he has served in numerous capacities including Internal Affairs, Bicycle Patrol, as the Evidence/Property Manager, Department Training Coordinator, Traffic Bureau and Patrol Supervisor, Domestic Violence Liaison, Field Training Officer, DARE Officer, Detective Bureau Supervisor, to name just a few responsibilities.

Rob's knowledge and experience have been instrumental to the continued success of the Department. 

His leadership style has earned him the respect of both subordinates and peers. His dedication and commitment to the Borough and his profession set an example for those he works with.

Rob is the proud father to Marco and Briella.