CRANFORD, NJ – As a severe thunderstorm raged outside, 14-year-old Raymond Schwartz fulfilled his dream of becoming a police officer during his swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday evening in Cranford's Council Chambers.
Late last year, Schwartz, a student at Hillside Avenue School, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a rare form of cancer. After summers spent participating in the Cranford Police Youth Academy, Patrolman John Rattigan and Detective Steven D’Ambrola organized the ceremony, followed by a pizza party, to honor Schwartz’s dream.
“I feel great,” Schwartz said. “I liked being in the youth academy. Some kids just can’t handle it, it’s too much for them. My favorite part was the bomb squad blowing watermelon up.”
The ceremony began with a bagpipe processional and an invocation from Pastor Tom Rice of the Cranford Alliance Church. The committee chambers were filled to the brim with Schwartz’s fellow officers, classmates, teachers, family and friends, who gave him a standing ovation.
Schwartz, dressed in his own uniform and badge, was sworn in by Mayor Thomas Hannen, Jr. and Public Safety Commissioner Patrick Giblin, followed by a speech from Chief Ryan Greco of the CPD.
“Ray is an example to his peers and his community,” Greco said. “He embodies everything we look for in a police officer and the finest traditions of the Cranford Police Department. It is my privilege to recommend to the mayor and the council that Raymond Schwartz become a police officer today.”
Schwartz will represent the CPD in the Memorial Day Parade and serve as an instructor at this summer’s Police Youth Academy.
"As the saying goes, leaders are born and not made," Greco said. "Ray, you are a leader. You've shown tenacity and you will exude that during this year's youth academy."