RARITAN, NJ - The Raritan Borough Police Department is preparing to invite one special fourth grader from St. Ann School and one from John F. Kennedy Primary School to be "Leader of the Parade," and ride with Raritan Borough Police during this year's annual John Basilone Parade.

According to Raritan Police Chief Raymond Nolte, he was driving in the lead car in the parade last year and thought it would be fun for a student to sit with him as the parade rode down Somerset Street.

"I remember seeing all the children's smiling faces and thinking to myself, 'I have an empty passenger seat, wouldn't it be great for one of them to ride in a police car and see the parade from my perspective?'" he said.

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Nolte said he spoke to D.A.R.E. Officer Kathleen Sausa, who ran with the idea.

The department is now holding an essay contest for fourth graders in the two schools to write about why they should be "Leader of the Parade." A winner will be selected from each school, and they will get to ride with the Raritan Police in the lead police cars to start the parade.

Once the cars make their way down the parade route, they will be reunited with their families to watch the rest of the parade.

Submitted essays should be no more than 300 words typed, and they must be submitted to students' teachers by Sept. 19, where they will be picked up by the police department. Winners will be announced on Sept. 20, and winning entries will be posted on the Raritan Borough Police website.