HPD participates in fundraisers

HILLSIDE, NJ — The Hillside Police Department is a whirlwind of activity these days as they prepare for a busy season filled with charitable initiatives and community outreach events.

Hillside acting Chief of Police Louis Panarese is conducting a fundraiser within the agency to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness during the month of October.
Panarese has purchased Breast Cancer Awareness pins for each member of the HPD, including clerical staff, and he is encouraging each officer and civilian employee to wear this pin for the months of October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and November, which has come to be known as ‘Movember.’ Movember is an annual event involving the growing of facial hair during the month of November to raise awareness of various cancers, such as prostate cancer.

Although not mandatory, Panarese is asking for a donation for wearing the pin, with a suggested minimum donation of $20.

In addition, Detective Carlos Graca and Officer Ryan Cruz, both of the HPD, have designed T-shirts for the initiative, also available for a $20 donation, and Panarese has authorized the wearing of the pink T-shirts under officers’ uniform shirts throughout October and November. One hundred percent of the profit will be donated to breast cancer research in the name of the Hillside Police Department. A police car will also be outfitted with pink decals to show the department’s support for the Breast Cancer Awareness.

A separate donation will be made by each officer as well, allowing them to grow a beard during the month of November.

According to Hillside Police Sgt. Nancy Swider, the response from the department has been very positive. “Lieutenant LaShonda Burgess had the idea to have the members of our police department show our support for breast cancer awareness for the month of October, and Chief Panarese put the initiative into motion,” Swider told LocalSource in an email. “Chief Panarese, along with the members of the Hillside Police Department, feel it’s very important to show our community our support and to bring awareness to this cause.”

Swider said that Movember is an initiative that was started several years ago by members of the HPD, who decided to sport moustaches to show their support for Prostate Cancer Awareness in the month of November. “Per Hillside Police Departmental policy, members of the police department are permitted to have a well-groomed mustache only, and no other facial hair is permitted,” said Swider. “But last year, Chief Panarese authorized members of the Hillside Police Department to wear well-groomed beards for the month of November if they donated $100 to cancer research.”

More than $2,000 was raised last year for cancer research with the Movember initiative, according to Swider. “We anticipate raising more than double that amount with the Movember and the Breast Cancer Awareness initiatives this year,” she said.

Swider said that the community has been supportive of the initiative, as well as the many others that HPD takes part in. “Chief Panarese and the members of the Hillside Police Department are dedicated to improving police-community relations in the township of Hillside,” Swider said. “We are honored to have the support from our community so that we may continue to be successful in preventing crime and improving the quality of life standards for the citizens of Hillside.”

One way the department is reaching out to our community, said Swider, is by hosting their ‘Coffee with a Cop’ event, which will be held Oct. 10 at the Oasis Bakery and Pastry Shop in Hillside. “This event is open to all members of the Hillside community that would like to meet with Chief Panarese, Capt. Lomonte and other officers from the Hillside Police Department,” said Swider.

Complimentary pastries and coffee will be provided to those that attend the event.

In addition, the HPD will be collecting gently used or new winter coats during the month of October, which will be distributed directly to Hillside families in need.

Donations are being accepted at the Hillside Police Department, 1409 Liberty Avenue, For more information, contact Sgt. Nancy Swider at nswider@hillsidepolice.org or 973-926-5800, ext. 284., or Sgt. Terence Clerk at tclerk@hillsidepolice.org.

To purchase t-shirts, contact Officer Ryan Cruz at Rycruz11@yahoo.com.