By Ainsley Layland
Local doctor Carmen Romano, founder and director of the Madison Medical Sports Rehabilitation Center, donated a bulletproof vest to the Chatham Borough Police Force last month.
According to an investigation by “The Washington Post,” 823 individuals have been shot and killed by police in 2016. As these incidents become more commonplace communities across the nation have mourned the loss of loved ones and have, on occasion, unjustly blamed their local law enforcement.
“In the last year or so the police offers have been getting beat down and I really didn’t love that,” Romano said. “I wanted the surrounding areas to know that our guys on the force are supported.”
Romano spoke with the police department, wanting to donate in a way that would help them most and discovered they had a need for an additional bulletproof vest.
“It shows everyone that we the people can protect them,” Romano said. “He was super appreciative. Police officers have had a lot of backlash and don’t feel appreciated so the donation had a dual purpose: to show the officers they still have people here to support them and then also to set an example for the community.”
Chief Philip J. Crosson, Jr., accepted the donation on behalf of the force.
“This is just another example of the cooperative relationship that we share with the community and we are truly appreciative of the support that we receive every day,” Chatham PD’s Executive Administrative Assistant Kevin O’Shea told the Madison Eagle. “It is partnerships like this that remind us that we are all part of a community and that by working together, it only strengthens and supports the bonds to make the community safer and better for everyone.”
As for America’s finest serving in neighboring towns Madison and Florham Park, Romano treated them to breakfast, lunch, or dinner – to cover all shifts and thereby include everyone serving on the force.
“Every shift got a meal,” Romano said. “I wanted them to know they’re appreciated but I like to stay humble in what I’ve done. I wasn’t expecting for this to explode like it has. I hope the local police forces understand that there are folks out there that appreciate them and that this sparks others to do the same. Not that everyone is against them, but we see all the stuff that’s out there – it’s gotten ugly especially on social media – so let’s do something nice.”
Romano regularly treats members of the police force at the Madison Medical Sports Rehabilitation Center.
“A lot of people don’t know that this type of center exists – it’s a 10,000 square-foot facility that treats officers for physicals and other things,” Romano said. “We are the hometown center and want to support those who protect us. Madison is that cozy, cultural town. We still have that culture and roots that I think are so important. It’s something I really value having in the lives of my kids.”
Romano was born and raised in Madison where he currently resides with his wife and three children.