SPOTSWOOD, NJ – The borough held its annual Memorial Day Parade on May 29 with the festivities showcasing a very special addition; the first ever Spotswood Police Department float. The inaugural float featured the Spotswood Police Department’s newest officer, Trent Powers.
The two-year-old became a member of the SPD back in March and proudly wears badge number 50. He also enjoys tooling around in his own Spotswood police car. Powers’ car is a Big Wheel Tahoe, however, it is an authentic replica of the cars Spotswood officers drive. The lettering was put on by the same company that outfits the departments' own cars. The float included both the Helmetta resident, his parents, Trevor and Kim Powers, along with his first arrest. His first arrest was safely locked up in a cage on the float.
The float was designed by Spotswood native Alan DeLieto and Spotswood Police Chief Michael Zarro. All of the members of the Spotswood PD pitched in to help put the float together right down to the cool, police-themed tunes that accompanied Officer Powers as he made his way down Main Street.
Powers suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which is a rare and incurable disease that typically only affects males. In addition to making Powers a member of the Spotswood Police Department earlier this spring, the officers, along with the Helmetta Police Department, the East Brunswick Police Department, the South River Police Department and members of PBA Local 225, raised $3,000 for Powers Promise.
Powers’ Promise was created by the toddler's parents to promote awareness and education about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The organization also partners with other Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy organizations to help find a cure for the disease that affects one in every 3,500 boys born every year, causing muscular degeneration and premature death.
“We made a special float for him,” Chief Zarro explained prior to the start of the parade. “What we wanted when we originally made him an honorary officer was to raise awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. A lot of times when you do community outreach, it’s one and done. We wanted to keep the ball rolling. So, the Secret Service and the FBI got involved. We made him a fed for a day. We wanted to keep the awareness going for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.”
Since Powers is a Spotswood police officer, he of course needed to make an arrest. DeLieto played the part of the burglar, complete with a mask and black and white stripped shirt. DeLieto rode in the float’s cage while Powers, flanked by his parents, manned his police car. The float was driven by Sergeant John Pfeiffer. His son, six-year-old Sean Pfeiffer got to ride alongside his dad in the SPD’s special float.
Officers following along, handed out t-shirts and bracelets that helped with the department’s goal of raising awareness about the little known, fatal disease.
The Powers family keeps the youngster’s police car at home, so residents can rest assured that Spotswood’s newest officer is always on duty. Powers enjoys patrolling around his Helmetta neighborhood though his father said he’s still getting the hang of driving it.
“It’s two-fold,” Trevor Powers explained when asked what the gesture from the Spotswood Police Department has meant to his family. “The first part is just the awareness it brings to the disease because it is so rare. Then, to just feel the community support, it’s something that I can’t even put into words sometimes. Everyone has reached out to help us, him and the cause (Powers’ Promise). This has meant the world to him.”
The toddler was all smiles as he took off down Main Street, waving to the crowd that had gathered for the parade despite the gloomy and chilly weather.
“We wanted to make it a day for him,” Zarro said.
To find out more about Powers’ Promise and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, visit the Powers’ Promise website.