NEWARK, NJ: Portuguese-American officers Al Costeira and Joe Rebelo recognized for saving 10-year-old boy

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On Wednesday, March 26, Mayor Luis A. Quintana, Police Director Sheilah A. Coley, and Police Chief Ivonne Roman honored Newark Police Officers Al Costeira and Joe Rebelo for their efforts to save a 10-year-old Newark boy from a vicious pit bull terrier attack on February 12, by presenting them with proclamations at a City Hall ceremony.

On February 12, Officers Costeira and Rebelo responded to a call of an unattended 10-year-old boy being attacked by his father’s two pit bull terriers. The two officers arrived to find the dogs mauling the boy in a blood-covered apartment. The officers shot the dogs and rendered first aid to the boy, while summoning emergency medical technicians. He was so badly injured that he had no pulse at one point, and had to be resuscitated by the EMTs. Fortunately, the boy recovered.

At the ceremony, Mayor Quintana delegated the actual readings of the proclamations and their presentations, and Director Coley rendered the honors to Officer Rebelo.

Officer Rebelo was born in Germany to Portuguese parents, and came to Newark at age five, living in the Ironbound. He graduated from St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, and joined the Newark Police Department in 1993, earning numerous decorations in his 21 years of service. He is married to Olga Rebelo, and they have three-year old triplet sons. All were present for the ceremony.

Chief Roman presented Officer Costeira with his proclamation. Officer Costeira’s family, including his brother, Officer Michael Costeira, assigned to the motorcycle squad, were in attendance.

Officer Costeira was born in Portugal, and came to Newark with his family, at age three, and grew up in the Ironbound. He graduated from East Side High School, and joined the Newark Police Department in 1995. In his 20 years on the force, he has served in a wide array of assignments, including the Mounted Squad, the Prosecutor’s Auto Theft Strike Force, and the Narcotics unit. He has received numerous citations. He is married to Maria Costeira, and has two sons.

Also in attendance were representatives of the Portuguese-American Police Association, headed by the association’s president, José Barra.