Celebrate National Senior Citizens Day on August 21

As we continue to enjoy the days of summer busy with vacations and visits to the beach, thoughts are already turning to the kids going back to school and Labor Day.

But there is another important holiday this month we need to remember and celebrate.

August 21 is National Senior Citizens Day when we honor the achievements and accomplishments of older Americans everywhere.

There are more than 40 million senior citizens living in the United States today, and that number continues to grow. People are living longer than ever before and many senior citizens are proving that it isn’t about the years in your life but the life in your years.

President Ronald Reagan created National Senior Citizens Day in 1988 when he put forth a proclamation recognizing the establishment of a new national holiday. It is now celebrated with special events at senior and community centers across the country

We should all something do something special on the day. Giving back to our parents, grandparents and older neighbors is so important. We would not be here without the foundation they built for us and we should let them know they are appreciated.

There are many simple yet valuable ways to celebrate National Senior Citizens Day. Pick up the phone and call an older friend or loved one just to say hello. Pay a visit to your local veterans or senior citizens center. If you able, volunteer at a local nursing home.

Also, encourage your children and their friends to get involved and mark the day with a visit to the grandparents or an older neighbor.

Senior Citizens Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the long-term contribution and dedication of older people, and to ensure that we’re doing our best to give something back to older people.

The wellbeing and happiness of our senior citizens should be a priority and that’s why National Senior Citizens Day is so important.

Let’s us take the time to celebrate the older Americans in our lives. We wouldn’t be where were are today without them.

Joseph Cryan is the Acting Union County Sheriff.


Union County Sheriff’s Officers Seek “Tree of Hope” Donations for Kids in Need

Every holiday season for 17 years, Union County Sheriff’s Officers have set up their “Tree of Hope” in the courthouse seeking donations of toys and clothing for needy children throughout the county. Each year the response has been overwhelming.

The “Tree of Hope” was first planted in 1997 when officers encountered children in the courts who were going to experience a less than happy holiday season. The children the officers encountered were homeless or living in shelters, were victims of domestic violence or medically fragile. Their parents or guardians did not have the financial ability to provide holiday gifts.

Every year since the “Tree of Hope” committee have erected a tree in the Union County Courthouse featuring paper ornaments. Volunteers make the ornaments and write a particular gift on each one.

“These caring officers do a tremendous job in helping these children,” acting Sheriff Joseph Cryan said. “It is important not to forget those kids who are less fortunate.”

Monetary donations to help provide additional gifts are also being sought.

Contributions of money (tax-deductible), toys and clothing can be sent to: Union County Sheriff’s Officers Tree of Hope, Union County Courthouse, 2 Broad Street, Elizabeth, N.J., 07207. For more information, call the “Tree of Hope” hotline at 908-629-2158.


Union County Sheriff’s Office Tracks Down Fugitive Wanted Since 1999

Some fresh detective work on a fugitive cold case by the Union County Sheriff’s Fugitive Unit led to the arrest of a suspect wanted for more than 15 years, acting Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan announced today.

Esmelyn Bronfield, formerly of Plainfield, had been wanted since being charged in Union County with first degree aggravated sexual assault in May 1999. Based on new information from Sgt. Darryl Warner of the Sheriff’s Fugitive Unit he was arrested last week by local police in Manchester, New Hampshire, according to the acting Sheriff.

“Thanks to the outstanding detective work by Sgt. Darryl Warner and the Fugitive Unit a very dangerous individual has been captured,” acting Sheriff Cryan said. “This arrest once again proves that our office doesn’t stop looking for fugitives.”

While revisiting the case, Sgt. Warner conducted a wide online search for the whereabouts of Bronfield. Several new leads suggested the suspect was in Manchester, NH.

Working with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the Manchester Police Department, Sgt. Warner was able to confirm Bronfield’s identity and location.

Bronfield, 45, was taken into custody without incident by Manchester police in the early morning of Thursday, October 9.

He was booked into the local jail as a fugitive of justice and is awaiting extradition back to New Jersey.

“This arrest also highlights the importance of law enforcement agencies working together,” acting Sheriff Cryan said. “We truly appreciate the assistance of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Manchester Police Department in finding and arresting this suspect.”


Union County Sheriff’s Officers Arrest Man Wanted in Stabbing

Members of the Union County Sheriff’s Fugitive Unit have apprehended a man wanted for allegedly stabbing a Union resident, acting Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan announced today.

A few days before Christmas last year the suspect, Todgie Smith, was reportedly playing cards with the victim in his Ohio Street residence when the men began fighting over the game. During the altercation Smith grabbed a 6-inch kitchen knife and stabbed the victim several times before fleeing, according the police report made at the time.

The victim survived the wounds.

Smith, 34, who was allegedly homeless before living with the victim for several months, had been on the run ever since. He was wanted on charges of aggravated assault, unlawful possession of weapons and possession of weapons for unlawful purpose.

Officers from the Sheriff’s Fugitive Unit recently tracked Smith to an address in Irvington where he was located and taken in custody without incident yesterday. He was transported to the Union County Jail.

“These officers did an outstanding job of finding and capturing a dangerous man and getting him off the street,” acting Sheriff Cryan said.

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Union County Sheriff Warns Residents about Phone Scammers Pretending to Be Law Enforcement Officers

Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan advises residents to protect themselves from telephone scam artists masking their phone numbers so it appears they are with a local law enforcement agency.

The callers will present themselves as a member of law enforcement; claim there is an outstanding federal complaint against the resident and will then try to have the resident send money in order to avoid arrest. Many of the scammers falsely tell the resident they owe money to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and must pay immediately.

“The best way for people to protect themselves from these scams is to be aware they are happening,” Sheriff Cryan said. “Law enforcement does not demand money over the phone to avoid a criminal complaint.”

Any one of these five things is a sign of a scam. The IRS does not:

  1. Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS does not call about taxes owed without first mailing a bill.
  2. Demand that you pay taxes without offering the chance to question or appeal the amount they say is owed.
  3. Require a certain payment method for paying taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.

Sheriff Cryan advises residents who receive calls they believe are a scam to hang up and call local police.

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Freeholder Board Congratulates Undersheriff Amilcar Colon

Undersheriff Colon Union County NJUnion County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders gathered to congratulate Amilcar “Mickey” Colon, on his swearing-in as Union County Undersheriff earlier this month. Undersheriff Colon is the first person of Latino heritage to achieve the position of Undersheriff in Union County (l-r, Freeholders Sergio Granados and Bette Jane Kowalski, Vice Chairman Bruce H. Bergen, Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh, Undersheriff Amilcar Colon, and Freeholders Alexander Mirabella, Angel G. Estrada, and Christopher Hudak).  Photo credit: Jim Lowney/County of Union.


Union County Sheriff’s Youth Academy got a visit from the New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit

The Union County Sheriff’s Youth Academy got a visit from the New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit on Wednesday morning.  The State Police landed a helicopter at the John H. Stamler Police Academy in Scotch Plains as part of Sheriff’s Youth Academy curriculum.  The youth academy is a program offered by the Sheriff for students who have an interest in Law Enforcement.  The curriculum includes physical training, hands on learning, demonstrations from specialized units such as the SWAT Team, K-9, Federal Agencies and the State Police Aviation Unit.

Sheriff Joe Cryan stated: “We at the Union County Sheriff’s Office are very grateful for the level of cooperation we get from the New Jersey State Police with our Youth Academy.  This has been an ongoing relationship in an endeavor that we at the Sheriff’s Office and the New Jersey State Police feel is a most worthwhile investment in our youth.”


Central Jersey Fourth of July Parade

July 4th

Union County Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh, Vice Chairman Bruce H. Bergen and Freeholders Christopher Hudak, Linda Carter and Vernell Wright joined Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan marching in the annual Central Jersey Fourth of July Parade in Plainfield. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)


Union County Sheriff’s K9 Unit Receives Donation of Pet Oxygen Masks

Sheriff K9 Donation

Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan thanks Florence Duggan of Westfield for the donation of pet oxygen masks to the K9 Search and Rescue Unit from the Sussex Hills Kennel Club. The officers from the K9 unit are (from left) Officer Ryan Wilson, Sgt. Brian Howarth with K9 Devante, Officer Timothy O’Grady, Detective Anthony Gialanella and Officer Bryan Frew.

The K-9 Search and Rescue Unit’s assignments include searching buildings, locating missing persons, detecting narcotics, detecting explosives/explosive devices and specialized patrol functions. The services of this unit are requested by law enforcement agencies throughout Union County, and sometimes beyond the county limits. They also respond to calls which include providing assistance to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Drug Enforcement Agency, New Jersey State Police, U.S. Customs, U.S. Postal Police and the U.S. Secret Service.

(Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)


VFW Post 2433 Donates 5 K9 Ballistic Vests to the Sheriff’s Office Unit

VFW K9 Donation

Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan (R) thanked VFW Post 2433 Commander Leo Graf (3rd R) and past Commander and Quartermaster Bob Johnsen (2nd R) as they presented the Sheriff’s Office K9 Search and Rescue Unit with 5 K9 ballistic vests Post 2433 donated.  The officers from the K9 unit are (from left) Officer Ryan Wilson, Detective Anthony Gialanella, Officer Timothy O’Grady, Officer Bryan Frew and Sgt. Brian Howarth. K9 Ruger is wearing one of the donated vests. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)