Officer of the Month - October 2007
Detective Michael J. Madonna
Oakland (N.J.) PD
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Detective Michael J. Madonna of the Oakland (NJ) Police Department as the Officer of the Month for October 2007.
Detective Madonna is retiring this month after 41 years of outstanding and dedicated service to the law enforcement profession. It has been a career filled with countless achievements and good works on behalf of young people and charitable causes, and a tireless commitment to improving the plight of law enforcement professionals, and their families, in New Jersey and across the country.
Mike's career in policing began in 1966 when he joined the Oakland (NJ) Police Department. He was later promoted to Detective and assigned to the Juvenile Division where he developed a special affinity for meeting the needs of young people. Over many years Detective Madonna has been director of a Law Enforcement Explorer Scout program, he has coached Little League Baseball, he has served on the Ramapo Regional High School District Board of Education, and he currently serves as a member of the Commission to Deter Juvenile Criminal Activity.
Since 1997, Detective Madonna has been active as a trustee and currently as the 1st Vice President of the New Jersey D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, which gives kids the life skills they need to avoid involvement with drugs, gangs, and violence. For his invaluable contributions to the program, Detective Madonna received the "Volunteer of the Year" award from D.A.R.E. (NJ) in 2001.
Early in his law enforcement career, Detective Madonna also began devoting much of his seemingly limitless energy and considerable leadership skills to meeting the needs and concerns of his fellow officers and their families. He became a delegate of his Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA) local just two years after joining the Oakland (NJ) Police Department. By 1974, he was elected to the Executive Board of the New Jersey State PBA and in 1996 he was elected State PBA President, a position he has proudly held up until his retirement this month.
As head of the New Jersey State PBA, Mike has sacrificed significant time with his own family (wife, three sons and five grandchildren) for the benefit of his extended law enforcement family. "[Mike] is a true selfless hero who has gone above and beyond the call of duty for years," declared Florham Park (NJ) Deputy Chief of Police Patrick P. Montuore.
"As President of New Jersey's largest law enforcement organization and as a police officer with more than 40 years of experience, Mike Madonna has a unique perspective on the day-to-day needs of an officer on the street, behind a desk or inside a corrections facility," stated Harry Phillips, a retired New Jersey officer who now serves as Executive Director of the Police Unity Tour. He has also become a master at fixing the problems he discovers. When retired officers were having trouble paying for medical care, Mike worked successfully to guarantee state health benefits for those retirees and their families, just as he did to increase retiree and disability pensions, and non-line of duty death benefits for surviving family members.
A confidante of governors and legislators, Detective Madonna has been called on to serve on numerous government panels, including: the New Jersey Police Training Commission, where he presently serves as Vice Chairman; the New Jersey Death Penalty Commission; the New York/New Jersey Waterfront Commission; and the New Jersey Commission on Use of Force. As if his state and local responsibilities were not enough, Detective Madonna has also been active nationally as a leading official with the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).
Mike has also worked hard to benefit important charitable causes. Under his leadership the PBA Survivor and Welfare Fund donates thousands of dollars each year to injured or sick officers and their families. He has also directed significant resources to the Special Olympics and holiday toy drives for New Jersey's needy youth. When the tragic events of September 11, 2001 unfolded, Detective Madonna worked nonstop to make sure that the needs of the rescue and recovery workers were fully met, including providing vital counseling and debriefing services for all responding officers.
"But Mike Madonna's leadership is often found in the advice and counsel he offers privately to law enforcement officers every day," added Mr. Phillips. "Through thousands of phone calls and countless meetings, Mike takes the time to listen to what officers need or what troubles them, or to ask where he can be of assistance . . . Mike Madonna has shown more times than any of us know that he selflessly places the needs of the law enforcement community above himself."