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Giuliana Riccobono Serves as Hasbrouck Heights Police Chief for a Day

Hasbrouck Heights Chief Colaneri and Chief for a Day Giuliana Riccobono at the Bergen County Court House. Credits: Hasbrouck Heights Police Department
Chief Colaneri and Chief for a Day Riccobono set out on the day. Credits: Hasbrouck Heights Police Department
Chief for a Day Giuliana Riccobono displays her commemorative plaque from the day. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis

As part of our launch during August, TAPinto Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge/Teterboro, will look back at newsworthy events that happened earlier in 2017 that did not get coverage. 

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ -- It was mid-May when Giuliana Riccobono found out.

Mike Sickels, Euclid School principal and Detective Al Baker from Hasbrouck Heights Police Department called her to the front of the classroom with "good news" - she was named the 2017 Hasbrouck Heights Police Chief for a Day.

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"I'd heard of it, and I was excited," said Riccobono. 

She had heard about it from her friend Mary Beth who was a previous Chief for a Day. "I had wondered, 'What if I was chosen for that one day? What would that be like?'"

The fifth grader quickly learned what it was about.

"I'll be able to wear the uniform...that was so cool," she said. "I was so excited."

The seventh Annual Bergen County "Chief for a Day" celebration is hosted by the Bergen County Sheriff's Office. "Chief for a Day" is designed to brighten the lives of local children with chronic health conditions. The program provides children and their families with a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of law enforcement. Children from almost 30 towns are sworn in as young "Chiefs for a Day."

On June 2, she and her mother were picked up by Chief Michael J. Colaneri and Detective Al Baker. She supervised a school-wide lockdown. She checked the classroom doors and then gave the all clear.  While she was unable to visit her sister Daniela because she was on a class trip (as she, too missed her fifth grade trip), she visited her brother Salvatore's second-grade classroom, high-fived the students and hugged her brother before continuing her duties.

She received a complete tour of Hasbrouck Heights Police headquarters, including the security cameras, jail, gym,and courtroom.

"It was so big," she said. "There were so many parts I hadn't seen before."

Following a tour around the town by Detective Ian Robertson in the department's Humvee, she was escorted to Town Hall where she was sworn in by Mayor Jack DeLorenzo. 

From there Chief Riccobono joined almost 30 other local Chiefs at the Bergen County Courthouse for a meeting with Sheriff Michael Saudino and other county law enforcement officials.  After meeting her fellow Chiefs, Riccobono and her colleagues received an escorted motorcade to the luncheon at the Stony Hill Inn. 

"There were so many police cars...it was like the president was in town," she said. "It was never-ending, so many police cars."

At the luncheon, she enjoyed a personal lunch with retire Giants quarterback Phil Simms. and received a commemorative plaque and huge gift basket filled with dolls, toys, art supplies, stuffed bears and New York Yankees items.

"Chief Colaneri told me it was his favorite day of the year in his job," she said.

Aside from being Chief for a Day, Riccobono stays active with cheerleading, Rec basketball, gymnastics, singing, and acting.

When asked her favorite part of the day?

"I loved it all," she said. "But one of my favorites was spending time with Chief (Colaneri)."

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