RED BANK, NJ – TAPinto Red Bank has been offering a series of articles profiling the men and women of the Red Bank Police Department. Our purpose is to have the borough residents gain a personal sense of the law enforcement officer (LEO), behind the badge and the support personnel who keep us safe 24/7/365.
We asked a few questions of Lt. Juan Sardo, who arrived in the U.S. from So. America and was drawn to public service from his positive experience growing up in Red Bank. He’s one of the reasons that makes this town and country great.
TAP: Tell us about yourself, where you grew up and how long you’ve been a LEO with the RBPD
Sardo: I was born and raised in Venezuela, and my family immigrated to the United States when I was six years old. As you can imagine, I faced immediate challenges as a non-English speaker and struggled to learn the language of my new adopted country. I grew up on the west side of Red Bank where I learned to never take anything for granted.
I’ve been working with the Red Bank Police Department for 23 years and have been married to my amazing wife, Nohemi, for 24 years. I have two sons whom I’m very proud of, Juan Jr. and Javier. And, I can’t forget our Shih Tzu dog, Mr. Cooper.
TAP: Lol, how did he get that name?
Sardo: My 14-year-old son Javier named him Cooper, not sure but possibly after the vehicle Mini Cooper!
TAP: Talk about the moment or circumstances in your life where you realized that you wanted to become a police officer
Sardo: My career in law enforcement is definitely rooted in my upbringing. Our humble lifestyle serves as a shining example of achieving the American dream. Growing up on the west side of Red Bank, I learned to never take anything for granted and to appreciate what I have. With all of this, I felt a strong sense of urgency to serve the community that did so much for me. I answered the call to duty in 1997 when I was hired as a Police Dispatcher and later as a Police officer with the Red Bank Police Department
TAP: You were previously in the Detective Bureau. Tell us about your experience there and what you learned
Sardo: During my time in the Detective Bureau, I worked under the tutelage of Chief Stephen McCarthy who instilled in me good work ethics and how to be a thorough Detective. There, I began as an investigator in the Detective Training Program, and then went on to being promoted to the rank of Detective, and Sergeant.
During that time, I was the lead detective in multiple homicide investigations as well as other high-profile criminal investigations. In this capacity, I learned many investigative skills and developed good interpersonal skills that allowed me to be a more confident officer and more proficient in the interviewing and interrogation process. These investigative skills were enhanced by the official training I received from the Police Department
TAP: As a Lieutenant and Watch Commander, how many officers are you responsible for and what are your specific duties?
Sardo: I oversee one of four squads consisting of a sergeant, several patrol officers and a dispatcher. Some of my major responsibilities include: directing calls for service, enforcing criminal and motor vehicle laws, approving reports, scheduling and ensuring department rules and regulations are followed by subordinates. Additional duties deal with community relations, mentoring youth, department’s liaison for the Latino community, as well as the Communicator (Interpreter), and Chaplain Programs
TAP: The borough recently launched an outreach to the Spanish community. How does that work and what does it entail?
Sardo: While being a native Spanish speaker at one time seemed to be a major obstacle for me, it has actually opened many pathways, especially in my work with the RBPD. A main reason why I chose to work in my hometown was to expand my reach and forge alliances with Red Bank’s growing Hispanic community.
The borough recently launched this outreach to attend to the needs of the Spanish speaking Latino community. This is an extremely important program due to the growth of the Latino immigrant community in Red Bank. In this program we utilize local volunteers to help bridge language divides in dealing with the public. When there isn’t an officer available to speak a foreign language, we would call upon our volunteers to interpret. We currently have Spanish and Russian speaking interpreters in the program
TAP: Being a LEO is a high stress job. What outside activities do you do to relax?
Sardo: I enjoy reading the bible, spending time with my family, and practicing Kyokushin Karate at The Phoenix Way in Shrewsbury, NJ
TAP: As a police officer, you see it all. Tell us about your most exciting moment(s)
Sardo: This is a difficult question to answer because some of the most exciting moments in my career are very positive. These positive exciting moments have very little to do with arresting a suspect, or getting involved in a car chase with a suspect that has committed a felony
Some of these positive exciting moments involves providing a helping hand to a fellow human being that has been the victim of a crime, consoling someone that has just lost a family member, feeding a homeless person, or something as simple as by bringing a smile to a child’s face who wants to meet a police officer
TAP: Your most gratifying moment(s)?
Sardo: My most gratifying moments involve bringing some closure to victims of violent crimes as well as to the family members of the victims of a homicide.
“I sleep alone, so you can sleep safe.” An unknown police spouse.
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