SPOTSWOOD, NJ - The relationship between the Grinch and Spotswood Police Chief Michael Zarro dates back a few years. Zarro first arrested the "mean one" in 2016 when he was out to steal the holiday decorations of borough residents. Next, year the Grinch decided to bring in assistance to ruin the Christmas celebrations in Spotswood along with his dastardly crew of cohorts that included holiday haters Krampus, Scrooge and Bumble. Foiled again by the Spotswood Police Department, the Grinch decided to change his ways. Last year, the Grinch and his crew helped to conduct a holiday food drive for Alice's CUP, which helps any Middlesex County resident in need. The result was a huge haul of non-perishable food items to stock the pantry's shelves.
Now, it simply wouldn't be the holiday season for Spotswood residents young and young at heart without a visit from the Grinch and that is just fine with Zarro, who works hard along with his Spotswood Police Department officers to hold several community-centered events throughout the year. The Grinch is a SPD and a community favorite.
"In law enforcement, it's been getting worse and worse for us with the public," Zarro explained. "It doesn't happen much in Spotswood and I attribute that to us and the community/police outreach stuff that we do, but very few times during the year do police officers have positive interactions."
"They (the community) need to see the police in a different light," Zarro continued.
The Spotswood Police Department's Grinch visit has become so popular folks from surrounding towns come just to be a part of it. The Grinch has turned into such a holiday celebrity that other police departments have started inviting him to be a part of events in their town. Zarro doesn't necessarily mind the Grinch's double-dipping with fellow Garden State police departments. The added appearances do help to keep the Grinch on the straight and narrow.
This year the Spotswood High School Troupers will be joining the Grinch and taking a page from the holiday favorite "Elf." According to Buddy the Elf, the best way to spread around holiday cheer is to sing really, really loud. So, the Grinch and Spotswood High School teacher and drama club director Annie Raczko will be singing holiday carols including the Grinch's signature song, "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" for his 2019 visit through Spotswood and Helmetta.
The Grinch, the Spotswood Troupers and officers from the Spotswood Police Department will be departing from the Spotswood Municipal Complex on Wednesday, December 18 at around 5:50 p.m. The merry group's first stop will be at the Spotswood School District's Schoenly School on Kane Avenue. The next stops include:
- the Spotswood Knights of Columbus on 30 Crescent Avenue
- the corner of Wilson and Elm Street
- the Clearwater Village Clubhouse off of Manalapan Road
- the Maple Street Pavilion in Helmetta
The Grinch will now be stopping at the Clearwater Village Clubhouse instead of the previously planned Immaculate Conception parking lot because the Immaculate Conception School is holding an event on Wednesday evening.
The Grinch and the Troupers will be performing holiday songs at each stop for about 15 minutes. Of course, the Grinch will be available for holiday pictures.
"The traditional bad guy was the Grinch," added Zarro. "Everybody has a chance to rehabilitate and reform."
Including the Grinch, after all his heart did grow "three sizes that day", letting "the true meaning of Christmas come through."