HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - Monday night there was a gathering of the seven "Chiefs" at the unveiling of the Chief for a Day "Wall of Honor" at Hasbrouck Heights Police Headquarters on Hamilton Avenue.
The Wall of Honor features the nine previous "Chiefs for a Day," which has been held annually since 2011. Hasbrouck Heights Police Chief Michael Colaneri was joined by his former youth Chiefs and their families for the revealing of a wall which will permanently honor all the prior and future youth chiefs who serve alongside Colaneri, if just for one day. Of the nine former chiefs, six were in attendance.
Colaneri explained that each year he and the chief have their photo taken at the courthouse. Over the years, all the photos had collected in his office. He credits his wife, Brenda, and administrative secretary, Joanne, with the idea to display them.
"They'll always be here, and, and we'll always remember our Chiefs because they're very important to us," said Colaneri. "I know I'll never forget you; you'll always be a part of Hasbrouck Heights history."
The Wall of Honor is in the administrative hallway of police headquarters. A large framed Hasbrouck Heights Police Chief for a Day print is the main focal point. Surrounding it are portraits of all the youth chiefs and Colaneri taken on during their "tour of duty." Colaneri and Detective Sergeant Alan Baker unveiled the display.
The Chief for a Day program was started in 2011 by then Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino. The annual event held in early June continues to be sponsored annually by the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office. Chief for a Day is designed to brighten the lives of local children with chronic health conditions or special needs. 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." They visit and tour their local police departments, and visit their local schools. A luncheon is held to honor the youth chiefs in the county.
Here is a complete listing of the Hasbrouck Heights Chief for a Day by year:
2011 Blake Freschi
2012 Erin Bischoff
2013 Marybeth Barrios
2014 Austin Alvarez
2015 Declan DeBaun
2016 Jack Oettinger
2017 Giuliana Riccobono
2018 Stewie Peralta
2019 Liliana Riordan
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