Linden Police Uniform on Display
Submitted by Lt. Christopher Guenther
It’s not an uncommon practice for police officers to pass down uniforms and other items to their children or other family members who choose to follow in their footsteps by entering into law enforcement. It’s also not uncommon for officers to pass down uniforms to young officers they mentored or worked with either. Back in the 1980s, police uniforms were quite expensive for rookie officers, so it was common for senior officers to pass down their old uniforms they no longer needed to help a fellow officer. Such was the case for Captain Jeff Vitrano.
Not long after he was hired, Captain Vitrano was given a brand-new, hand-me-down dress jacket. This “new” jacket had been passed down through several officers long before he first slipped his arm through the sleeve. And although he never met the original owner, he discovered his name still visible on a tag sewn inside the pocket, which was marked with the name: F. Callahan.
When Patrick J. Callahan was sworn in as Colonel of the New Jersey State Police in 2017, Captain Vitrano learned that the Colonel’s grandfather was retired Linden Police Officer Frank Callahan, who walked the beat in Linden for 32 years until he retired in 1975, whose uniform he was given as a rookie officer, and whose uniform endured through the years, still hanging in his closet.
Nearly 45 years after Frank last wore it, the jacket was returned to the Callahan family!
Last week, Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, Police Chief Dave Hart and members of Linden Police Department met with Colonel Patrick Callahan, LTC Fritz Frage’ and Matt Callahan to present the Colonel with the uniform his grandfather proudly wore during his 32-year tenure as a Linden Police Officer.
Frank Callahan’s uniform is officially retired and will now reside at Division Headquarters where it will remain for posterity.
Photos by City of Linden