BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ The first female police officer ever hired in Bernards Township is getting ready to retire on July 1 of this year.

Gina Loschiavo, currently the school resource officer at the William Annin Middle School, was lauded by the Bernards Township Committee at its virtual meeting last week, when Township Committee members also shared some personal memories of the officer. Loschiavo had joined the department in 1998.

Mayor James Baldassare, whose wife is a police officer, said Loschiavo came from the Branchburg police force, and "was one of the first people I got to know on the police department."

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Township Committeeman John Carpenter said the officer often answered calls near the end of one of his parent's life.

Township Committeewoman Janice Fields said that she remembers when Loschiavo was hired. 

A resolution unanimously approved by the Township Committee said the retiring officer has proudly served the police department in an exemplary manner in numerous capacities, including patrol officer, DARE officer in the schools, and community policing officer before being appointed as school resource officer at WAMS.

"So many of the children have respected her through the years," Fields said. She wished the officer "good health and wonderful years' ahead.

"It’s hard to believe that 22 years has passed since Gina became the first female police officer to join the ranks of the Bernards Township Police Department," Mayor Michael Shimsky said in an email. "In her time here, she has served proudly in a number of capacities, most notably as a DARE officer for many years. I receive comments to this day from former students who remember Gina as their DARE instructor in middle school and what a positive impact she has had on them," he said.

Shimsky recalled his own first memory of Loschiavo, when he attended orientation before entering the Somerset County Police Academy in 1996, "Gina addressed the recruit class offering insight to daily police academy life."

Shimsky said when he visits WAMS, "It is abundantly evident the impact she has on the students who affectionately refer to her in the hallways as Officer 'G-Lo,'"

"Gina's presence and daily interminable smile will be greatly missed," he added. "We will miss Gina and wish her, Frank, Paul and Carmela the absolute best wishes in retirement."

The resolution approved by the governing body said the township "sincerely appreciates the worthwhile contributions you have made towards the material development, communal welfare, safety and quality of life in Bernards Township."