GLEN RIDGE, NJ — Community policing officers from the Glen Ridge Police Department visited Carteret Park on Thursday, Aug. 1, and for the kids it was a lucky thing. The day was a scorcher and the officers, detectives Sgt. Daniel Manley and Patricia Romaine, brought lemonade with them. A canopy and table were quickly set up and they were in business.
The detective bureau oversees community policing which is responsible for engaging borough youth. Romaine is the departmental liaison to Glen Ridge High and Linden Avenue schools. She offers advice on how to behave when someone is driving and stopped by the police, about Halloween safety, and about the importance of obeying crossing guards. Her counterpart at Ridgewood Avenue, Forest Avenue and Central schools is Detective Anthony Rivera.
This is the second year the police have come to Carteret with lemonade and it quickly disappeared. Manley departed to obtain more and the kids returned to their board games. A couple of young cyclists pedaled up and, as Romaine registered their bikes, officers Joe Anello and Guiseppe Oliva stopped their patrol car and walked over.
Carteret Park has a slate of activities for the kids during the summer. For a fee, the children are brought to the Bronx Zoo, Medieval Times, Tomahawk Lake, Camel Beach, Pa., and to swim at the community pool on Mondays. But the sight of Anello and Oliva was a big attraction, too. The kids flocked the lemonade stand.
“Where are your bombs?” one little boy asked Oliva.
“That’s not an AK-47,” another boy told a friend, pointing toward the officer’s pistol.
One child wanted to see the inside of the patrol car.
So with a park supervisor forming the children into an orderly line, Oliva opened the patrol car door and the kids, two by two, peeked into the vehicle and then returned to the lemonade stand, where Romaine and Anello waited.
“A shotgun is powerful, but it’s harder to load,” one boy said authoritatively.
“I didn’t know that,” Oliva said.
At long last, Manley returned, loaded down with enough lemonade for two stands. And the summer day lifted while Anello poured and asked if the children wanted pink or yellow lemonade.