WOODLAND PARK, NJ - The fourth annual Families Behind the Badge softball tournament will be held this year on Saturday, May 19 at the Memorial Field complex behind Beatrice Gilmore and Memorial Schools off McBride Avenue, starting at 8:30 a.m. Rain date is May 20. Admission is $5.
Organized by Councilwoman Tracy Kallert, Councilman Vincent DeCesare and Kaitlyn Kallert, the event, which pits teams of North Jersey police officers against each other, aims to honor officers from New Jersey that have given their life in the line of duty and their families, and raise funds to assist those surviving families via the State PBA Survivors Fund.
This year the event will honor Lt. Christopher Robateau.
The Jersey City Police Department lieutenant was struck and killed by a vehicle while checking on the welfare of another driver who had been involved in an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. He is survived by his wife and three children.
All are welcome to attend and cheer on the teams. There will be food, a beer garden, bouncy house for the kids and more. The 50/50 is already over $3000 to the winner.
Participating departments include the Woodland Park Police Department, Jersey City Police Department, Paterson Police Department, Bloomingdale Police Department, Montclair Police Department, Bloomfield Police Department, Belleville Police Department, Passaic County Sheriff's Department, Passaic County Correction Officers, Verona Police Department, Passaic Police Department, and the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office.
Last year, $10,800 was raised and a check for was presented to $1,800 to Belinda Howard and Bavennia Franklin, mother and sister of Officer Tyron Franklin of Paterson. Franklin was shot and killed during a robbery attempt at a fast food restaurant in 2007. Only 23 years old, he had been serving for 8 months at the time of his death and was survived by a 16-month-old son. In addition, $9,000 was donated to the NJ State PBA Survivors Fund from the event.
In previous years, the family of Fair Lawn Police Officer Mary Ann Collura, who was killed in a shootout, and the family of Jersey City Police Officer Melvin Santiago, who was killed while responding to a robbery, were assisted.
To make a donation or to volunteer to help at the event, call Councilman DeCesare at 201-401-2618. For more information visit www.facebook.com/Families-Behind-The-Badge.