By Kerry Breen
Hanover Township police officer Eric Prach visited a birthday party on July 8, surprising attendees, including children who ranged from three to eight years old.
The visit was organized by Jason Mongiovi, a local resident who grew up in Cedar Knolls and currently lives in Whippany. Mongiovi runs the bar and lounge attached to the Hanover Shoprite and encountered Prach while the officer was patrolling.
“We began talking, and I simply mentioned that my daughter, Maria, was turning three tomorrow and we had a bunch of kids coming over, all under the age of eight, who would love to meet a real-life police officer,” Mongiovi explained. “He asked where we lived, and that was that.”
The next day, Prach visited the afternoon party, much to the surprise of Mongiovi and the other partygoers.
“Officer Prach came in a squad car, walked outside, and said hello to all the kids,” Mongiovi said. “They loved him! He showed them his squad car and turned on the sirens, [which was] obviously a huge hit.”
“I have had many interactions with the Hanover Township Police Department,” Mongiovi continued. “None compare to the above and beyond service Officer Prach provided our family.”
Mongiovi recounted the story in the unofficial Hanover Township Facebook page, where residents often share information and express opinions about the town. The post garnered almost 350 ‘likes’ and over a dozen comments, including several residents stating that they had had their own positive experiences with Prach.
“Officer Prach and the rest of Hanover Township Police Department’s officers are an amazing asset to our community,” said Pete Berkenkamp, another local resident. “Our kids know that they can go to an officer with a problem, or if they are just scared. That’s community policing.”
“I am proud to be a member of Hanover Township, and think we have an amazing force protecting us,” said Mongiovi.
Prach and the Hanover Township Police Department were contacted for comment, but did not respond before the publication’s deadline.
By Kerry Breen