When an individual joins the Florence Township Police Department, police force members want to make sure that incoming personnel understand the courage and sacrifice of those who served before them.
The township police decided the most suitable way to do so was to acknowledge and commemorate previous officials with a new “Wall of Retired Officers,” which was completed this month.
The wall contains photographs of officers that have retired from the township police department after 25 years of service in law enforcement. The wall commemorates each retired officer with their photograph, rank at retirement and year the officer retired. Police officials said that moving forward, whenever an officer retires from the police department their photo will be displayed on the wall.
Officials said that outside of the department, they received help from the Florence Township Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 210 and M&C Designs to put the wall together as well.
Upon completion of the project, Florence Township Chief of Police Brian Boldizar said that the wall is intended to serve as a way to pay reverence toward retired police officials, but to also acknowledge that they will remain a part of department beyond their years of service, too.
“We wanted to do something to honor the officers that retired from our department after a career of serving the people of Florence Township,” Boldizar said. “Now, retired officers can bring their family in to show them how they were and continue to be a part of our department, and that they were not forgotten about after they retired.”
Furthermore, Boldizar said that the wall is aimed to become a focus for incoming officers. The Florence police chief explained that the he felt it was the department’s responsibility to ensure that newcomers of the force recognized the names and faces of those who came before them.
“We have a lot of new officers that did not know many of the officers that are on the wall. We did not think it was right that when a retired officer stops in, that after they leave an officer would ask, ‘Who was that?’,” he explained. “Now, they can put a face with the name.”
As the township police chief anticipates the wall to become a staple of the department, he said that the project is also envisioned to serve as an incentive for current officers to join someday. Boldizar explained that the monument will not only be a testament to an officer’s service, but can have a lasting impression on future generations.
“Starting this year, any time an officer retires from our department, they will be added to the retirement wall,” he said “This will be something they can look forward to that will show off their accomplishment. Years down the road, their grandkids can view the wall.”
Although the project is completed, police said that the department is still missing multiple photos from officers that retired prior to the year 2000. Officials encourage anyone who may have a photograph of a full-time officer that retired and are not currently represented on the wall, to submit them to the department in order to make a copy and add it to the collection.
“Since there was limited use of digital cameras back then, we are not finding a lot of photos of the officers that retired before 2000,” he said.
For anyone with a photo of a retired officer of the Florence Township Police Department that is not currently represented on the wall, they can contact the department at www.florence-nj.gov/police or call the police headquarters at 609-499-3131.