NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Lezlie Maret decided on Monday, Dec. 22 that the New Providence Police Department could use some good cheer for the holiday season, so she set out to organize a pro-police rally. Six days later, the event took place in the parking lot in front of the A & P.
"I have a heart for the struggles of the police," Maret, a 23-year resident of New Providence, said. "This is not politically motived. I think our public servants are way under-appreciated, especially now with the national morale being so low among police officers. I feel like our cops needed something. This is our Merry Christmas to them. When I contacted the police department they were so enthusiastic and appreciative. They said we need this more than you know. So I set the wheels in motion.
"They're excellent at their jobs, but they're also good people."
Officers from Berkeley Heights, the Union County Police, Summit and Fanwood were on hand as well as members of the emergency squad and fire department. Matt Potter of the Police Pipe & Drums played patriotic songs on his bagpipe.
Mayor-elect Al Morgan addressed the crowd and a moment of silence was held for the slain New York City police officers. Residents signed posters of appreciation that will be presented to the police department. Also, residents took the microphone and told personal stories about how the police helped them in a time of crisis.
"It is a shame what's going on throughout the country," New Providence Council member Armand Galluccio said. "I think it's good to let our police officers know that we support them and we're behind them. They work really hard. I think it was great idea. We have a great police force."
New Providence Mayor-elect Al Morgan praises the police and offers a moment of silence for NYC officers
New Providence Patrolman Michael Hand speaks to the crows at the pro-police rally
Matt Potter of the Police Pipe & Drums of Morris County played the bagpipe at the rally
New Providence High football player Tony Randazzo thanks the police