Thursday, July 30, 2015

Chief John Burke


     At the Bogota Borough Council meeting on 16 -July Bogota Police Chief announced to the Council of his request to retire affected at the end of his duty day on Friday 31- July. This was approved by council later at the same meeting. Chief Burke is a 27 year veteran of the Bogota Police Dept and has served as Chief for the last 5 years. At this time no replacement has been recommended.
   Recently Bogota Blog NJ submitted question to Chief Burke the following is a statement from Chief Burke.

   A brief bio of Chief Burke:

       I am very proud of what I have been able to accomplish in 27 years in service for my hometown.  My father brought my family here from the Bronx, NY in 1968 to provide for a better life for my brothers and I.  I can only say Mission Accomplished Dad.  I only hope  I've been able to return to the borough what it has provided for me and my family. Albeit my decision to retire is bittersweet, as  I truly had some more gas in the tank but with the borough being strapped with economic challenges the decision to retire would address some of those short term economic challenges and address some of my own personal challenges.

I have been blessed on this journey.  I am still in search of what I really want to be when I grow up.  In that search one thing that I have learned in my years in Bogota is that the greatest resource that Bogota has is its’ people.  I have been privileged to meet so many people on this journey and who I am today I have taken a small part of each of those people.  Again, I only hope that others may have learned as much from me as I have learned from them.  THANK YOU to each of you.

 His thoughts of the Officers under his command.

I would be remiss if I did not thank two very special groups of people.  To “my guys”, the officers in blue, dispatchers and Patricia Morrone, without you I never would have been able to be a Chief.  It has been an honor and privilege to serve you and work alongside of you.  As your Chief I couldn't be prouder of each of you and you made it easy to be Chief.  I only wish I could have done more for you.  As I have always said we are a small family and you lived up to that, took care of business and served and protected as if every person you came in contact with was a family member.  Yes I will still check in in pre-dawn hours.  To my family at home, Trish, Jenna and John Jr., you have truly lived this career and lifestyle with me every second of every day for the last 27 years.  I cannot begin to think how I can repay you for that commitment and sacrifice.  You have truly been an AWESOME SUPPORT TEAM and I will work every day after retirement to give you what you have given me in my ability to serve others.

On his retirement 

My life after BPD will include continuing to support and work for the various charities I have been involved with over the years, possibly consider several employment opportunities that have come my way,  but most of all I am going to spend time with my family, do a whole lot of cycling, get healthy, and enjoy whatever life has to offer. 

 His opinion of the Bogota Police Emergency Service Youth Academy which began under his tenure as Chief.  

      Youth Academy Comment:  I am very proud of what Sergeant Lynch and his staff have been able to provide to the youth and families of our community over the last 5 years and this year.  The strength of our community has always been the people that make it up and what they are willing to do to pay it forward.  The youth academy is not just about the week of the academy but about the take aways that can be built on each day, week, month and year following the experience.  It involves not only the youth academy recruit but the family, friends and community services working together to further the youth academy mission, objectives and standards.  I congratulate each recruit for successfully completing the academy but also their families and friends who support the recruits and the program.   Five years ago I could not imagine the impact of the program and that we could not only sustain the program but continually improve the program…that is a testament to Sgt. Lynch, his staff and all involved.  I could not be prouder of the Graduating Class but of the entire Bogota Community.  This is their success.

Chief Burke also graciously answers some question from Bogota Blog NJ 

1) Why did you become a  Police Officer. 

     I became a police officer as I knew I was meant to be there to help others.  Following in my father’s footsteps as a law enforcement officer made it a fairly easy adjustment as I was used to the lifestyle.  Again, there is no greater satisfaction than being able to help and protect others.

2) What did your Parents, and other Family members think of your decision

        The decision to retire actually came with mixed feelings.  My entire family wanted me home and knew it was not easy for me to give up what I enjoyed doing but after 27 years of being “all in” for others it was time to be “all in” for my family.  I am confident that the officers I leave behind can carry on and continue what I started.

3) What was the hardest thing for you as  a) Being a Patrol Officer  & b) Being Chief 
      The difficult thing about being a patrol officer was the time away from family and other functions that the general public gets to enjoy.  Missed Holidays, Birthdays and events is part of the job and I took the job knowing that but reality is some of those events only happen once and you either miss it or you're half awake and not completely yourself when attending.  You fight your body’s natural and routine tendencies to be there and you pay the price physically and mentally for it.  As Chief you are always on call so although the work clock changes you probably work more hours under a different kind of stress.

4) What are you most proud of as Chief ( apart  from the Academy) 

      In my 5 years as Chief some of my proud accomplishments include: I have hired about 50% of the current officers working.  The fine officers that came to the Bogota Police Department were being sought by other agencies that had a bit more to offer growth and economically and yet they came to Bogota.  I am proud to say that protect and serve as if this was the hometown that they grew up in.  They give unselfishly of themselves to various charities and some of the endeavors that the police department engages in without seeking compensation.  I couldn't ask for more from them.  The other accomplishments include establishing a clear Written Directive System, having 4 straight years of better than 50% reduction in overtime, proposing Rules & Regulations and a New Police Department Ordinance, instituting a new records management system which can be universally used with other emergency services in the borough, instituting e-ticketing for more efficient processing of summonses, implementing new digital mobile car cameras, new portable radios and upgrading our service weapons.  I am also proud to have been able to provide more training for my officers with minimal or no additional costs in overtime partly through the use of online training.
   My most memorable moments were experienced through the charitable endeavors I've been able to participate in as Chief.  They include the most recent Chief for a Day Program with Kyle Burrell, Riding For Those Who Died in the Police Unity Tour, working with Military Veterans Children through the Bergen County Police Chiefs Foundation at Pony Power Therapies, assisting with NJ Special Olympics, assisting local families in need at Christmas, working with Rebuilding Together to renovate our local VFW facilities.

5) Is there anything you wish to accomplish that didn't happen. 

    I had hoped to expand the roster by three officers as recommended by the merger study the borough participated in when I first became chief.  That would have allowed for, as recommended in the merger study, that we update our written policies and procedures either through accreditation and/or through a firm which will assist you in doing so.  Even with grant monies available the borough has not moved forward 
 on those initiatives which would provide for reduced liability and reduced insurance costs.

6) Who was your biggest influences, and is there any person(s) that you used as an example on how you tried to do your duty.

My biggest influence was my father.  He instilled in me early in life a good work ethic, to take responsibility for yourself and your actions and don't make excuses.  There are no shortcuts in life and To Always Go Above and Beyond the Call of Duty is what was learned from my father.  My father also showed compassion as he would always extend himself to others in need and I learned that from him too.  In addition to my father I have taken a little bit from all those that I have met along the way to make me who I am today.  I am not perfect but who is but I will work every day at it. 
And one final statement from Chief Burke;

   I wish the best for the Borough of Bogota, my hometown.  I wish the best for the officers and staff that I have been privileged to work alongside of.  It was truly an honor.


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