10-year-old invited to visit West Orange police HQ after writing letter

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange Police Officers Herbert Granados and Frank Romayo welcomed 10-year-old Darielle Eagan to police headquarters on June 24. She was accompanied by her mother, Brigette Eagan, and grandmother, Barbara Shrank. Darielle lives in West Orange and attends Golda Och Academy. She had taken the time to write a letter to police Chief James Abbott suggesting ideas on how to better fight crime. The chief was so impressed by her initiative that he invited her to police headquarters for a tour of the building, which was given by the two officers.

Darielle listened attentively as Granados and Romayo brought her into the West Orange Municipal Court to explain the court’s role in police work. They continued the tour to the room where suspects taken into police custody are interviewed. The officers explained the detailed procedure and showed Darielle the room where these individuals are detained. She also viewed the jail cells with the separate facilities for male and female detainees if a longer stay in police custody is necessary.

Darielle was very inquisitive throughout the guided tour and asked both officers how realistic police shows on TV are compared to the reality of actual police work. Granados and Romayo explained that although there are many elements of real police work depicted in these shows, they don’t necessarily always show the real-life circumstances police officers often encounter. Darielle paid close attention and asked many follow-up questions during the tour, which lasted well over an hour.

Darielle was then escorted into Abbott’s office, where he expressed praise and gratitude to her for the letter she sent. The chief then presented Darielle with a Certificate of Appreciation from the WOPD for her support and was invited to sit at his desk as honorary acting chief.

“Engagement with our community is an important component in developing relationships built upon respect and trust. This is especially true with our youngsters. Darielle’s interest in police work reflects how our department’s commitment geared towards community engagement works. It invests our youth as stakeholders in the future of West Orange, which lays the foundation for a safer society through a better and accurate understanding of our work,” Abbott said, also thanking Granados and Romayo. “I probably don’t say thank you enough to our officers, but their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed and makes my job easier.”

Before leaving, Darielle and her mother and grandmother were brought into the communications center inside police headquarters. She learned and witnessed first-hand how incoming calls are processed and saw how responding police units are subsequently dispatched to locations where they are needed.

The tour then ended where it began in the front lobby of police headquarters.
Photos Courtesy of Joseph Fagan