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Bergen sheriff ‘Chief for a Day’ event will bring smiles to chronically ill kids

Photo Credit: BCSO
Photo Credit: BCSO
Photo Credit: BCSO
Photo Credit: BCSO

SHOUT OUT: “Chief for a Day,” one of Bergen County’s most popular law enforcement events, is set for this Friday, featuring youngsters with chronic disabilities from 18 towns holding the ceremonial post and attending a host of activities organized by Sheriff Michael Saudino.

The inspirational program provides children and their families a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of law enforcement.

“As public servants, it is our duty to bring care to those who need it the most,” Sheriff Michael Saudino said.

Bergen County Sheriff Saudino w/Brian Tuch, Tenafly Police Chief Robert Chamberlain w/Jonah Gold (COURTESY BCSO)

“I’ve been in law enforcement for more than 30 years,” Saudino told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “I think I speak for all of the officers here today when I say that we live for these days, when we can have a positive impact on our communities and celebrate life.”

This year’s honorary chiefs range from six to 15 years old.

Each gets his or her own uniform before being “sworn in” that morning in as Chief for a Day.

After touring their local police departments, they’re escoted in patrol cars to the Bergen County Justice Center in Hackensack, where they will participate in a group ceremony.

A motorcade will then take them to The Empire Club Restaurant in Little Ferry, where the new chiefs and their families will end the day with lunch, special guest speakers and a variety of fun activities and entertainment.

Each youngster also gets a commemorative plaque.

Michael Kontzamanis with Englewood Cliffs Police Chief Michael Cioffi

Saudino created “Chief for a Day” beginning with a modest number of chiefs and other officers. In just four years, it has become one of the most popular outings in the county.

A host of businesses contribute the uniforms, plaques, meals and other amenities that go with the special day.

“The experience is both humbling and rewarding,” recently retired Fairview Police Chief Frank DelVecchio said. “In a world with so many problems these kids, who are battling illnesses, display something missing in today’s society: courage and bravery.

“It’s equally important to our core mission of what we do as public safety administrators,” added Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler. “I consider it even more important because it energizes me to focus on what’s important in life.”

“It definitely reminds us all why we took this job,” Washington Township Police Chief Randy Ciocco said.

This year’s chiefs will be sponsored by:

Bergen County Sheriff’s Office
Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
Bergenfield Police Department

Bogota Police Department
Carlstadt Police Department
Elmwood Park Police Department
Emerson Police Department
Englewood Cliffs Police Department
Fair Lawn Police Department
Fort Lee Police Department
Garfield Police Department
Montvale Police Department
North Arlington Police Department
Paramus Police Department
Park Ridge Police Department
Teaneck Police Department
Tenafly Police Department
Upper Saddle River Police Department
Wallington Police Department
Washington Township Police Department

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