After 3 decades as a cop, he’s leaving

Observer file photo North Arlington Police Chief Louis Ghione is retiring.
Observer file photo
North Arlington Police Chief Louis Ghione is retiring.


The borough’s highest ranking cop is hanging up his holster.

Police Chief Louis Ghione, who has been chief the last decade and has chalked up 35 years in law enforcement including service as an auxiliary and special cop, said he wants to give other officers a shot at moving up.

“I’ve submitted my [retirement] papers and, unless I change my mind, I’m scheduled to leave July 1,” Ghione told The Observer last week.

Ghione drew praise from both local political parties.

Mayor Joseph Bianchi, a Republican, called Ghione “a wonderful chief and friend. He’s going to be missed awesome.”

And Bianchi’s predecessor, Peter Massa, a Democrat and a former borough police sergeant who recalled breaking in the then-recruit in the ‘80s, credited Ghione with “doing a great job as chief when I was mayor. He performed very professionally.”

Asked his plans for retirement, Ghione said he’s secured a new-private sector job as supervisor of security for Legends, a New York City sports bar, at the newly rebuilt 1 World Trade Center.

Between now and June 30, Ghione said he’ll be taking accumulated unused vacation days as part of his terminal-leave package.

For now, he said, Borough Police Capt. John Hearn, as senior ranking member of the department, is assigned as the “officer in charge.”

“I’m hoping that my successor will be John,” Ghione said. “If I do leave July 1, he will be appointed acting chief by me. Then the mayor and Borough Council have 30 days to either accept my recommendation or appoint someone else.”

At the same time, Ghione said, he plans to “move Capt. Scott Hedenberg, to John’s seat as operations commander.”

As for naming someone to fill Hedenberg’s slot, Ghione said that decision “is something [Hearn] would have to make, in consultation with the mayor and council.”

Asked what improvements in the department had been realized during his tenure, Ghione listed the following:

• Updating radio systems via CAD (Computer-Aided Dispatch).

• Upgrading, with the help of Verizon, MDTs (Multiple Display Terminals) that had been only sporadically operating in patrol cars.

• Acquiring and installing two computerized license plate readers in patrol vehicles.

• Having a seat at all Rt. 21 Corridor crime reduction meetings and working cooperatively with other PDs in the Corridor.

• Securing e-ticket computer devices.

• Increasing productivity and pinpointing particular areas of crime.

“I’ve been an active and visual chief, always in uniform, and accessible by phone or in person,” Ghione said. “And a clear example of that accessibility is having Nixle linked to Facebook and Twitter accounts, creating a venue to communicate with residents and beyond. You sign up, input your cell phone and email and, whenever there’s an emergent situation or issue we need to notify the public about, we sent out a message that is immediately broadcast to your email and cell phone.”

The credo Ghione said he’s tried to live by in his job is that, “I’m an employee of the taxpayers of North Arlington first and I’ve always considered the needs and wants of the public as well as the safety of my officers.

“I will miss the job immensely and I am leaving to give John the opportunity and others the chance to move up. I thank God for every day I was able to sit in that chair and help the public,” he said.

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