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Cathy Madalone ’99, ’04 MA

Chief, Bergenfield Police Department

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On September 1, 2015, Cathy Madalone was sworn in as the new chief to the municipal police department in Bergen County, New Jersey. Throughout her 18 year career with the Bergenfield Police Department, she has been a model for achieving ‘firsts’ and this recent appointment is no exception. Madalone graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in sociology and a Master’s degree in applied sociology. Her love of people first led to a short lived career in the funeral business and has now landed her in history as the first woman to serve as chief of a municipal police department in Bergen County.

“I didn’t always like school,” she says, “but I always loved people and at a young age was fascinated by the medical field.”

She grew up playing softball and basketball, which she continued into her time at Montclair State. She remembers back to a time when the softball fields were behind Blanton Hall and parking was available in the quarry, which is today home of the Yogi Berra Stadium and Learning Center. Her memories of being part of a team at Montclair State include playing basketball for women’s basketball Hall of Famer Jill Jeffrey ’80, ’91 MA and softball for Wilma Rucker and Anita Kubicka, who was recently elected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class of 2015. Being part of such hard working teams taught Madalone a lot about leadership and working together with her peers.

In December of her senior year, she ran in to a former teammate, who at the time was a local funeral director. Hearing about her friend’s experiences with the funeral industry and seeing it as an opportunity to explore the medical field, Madalone knew what to do next. She entered a one-year program to earn her funeral director’s license and went to work for Riewerts Memorial Home in Bergenfield, New Jersey.

“Once I got my foot in the door and began apprenticing at Riewerts I knew I was in the right place,” she says. “I remember talking to someone who had been working in the industry for years and the way she spoke with such compassion about the human body hit me in the right spot. I understood that whether one or one-hundred people attended a person’s funeral, it was my responsibility to care for the deceased and serve the living.”

After several years, Madalone decided to take helping people to the next level. In 1994, having at this point earned her funeral director’s license, she filled out an application to become a police officer. Soon after, she passed her police test and entered the police academy, quickly rising through the ranks and serving as an officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and now chief.

“I’m very proud to wear my patch and uniform each day,” she says. “In this new position I look forward to bolstering our community relations, increasing new programs and much more.”

At this time Madalone is focused on her new position but maintains her license as a funeral director. She arrives at her new post with years of experience and is excited for what’s to come.