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Posted Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Best of Luck to Mark Chiarolanza

By Peggy Wright

Sheriff James M. Gannon (in uniform) with Mark Chiarolanza

Sheriff James M. Gannon (in uniform) with Mark Chiarolanza

Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Captain Mark Chiarolanza, who wouldn’t let the amputation of his lower right leg deter him from a dream of becoming a law enforcement Officer, retired Friday, January 31, after more than two decades of service with the Agency.

Mark started his career as a civilian dispatcher for the Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department in 1994. Offered employment with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office in 1996, he graduated that year from the 48th Basic Police Training Class at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy and through the years was promoted, ultimately to the rank of Detective Captain on September 3, 2019.

“Working as a law enforcement officer for the Morris County Sheriff’s Office has literally and truly, in every sense of the statement, meant that my dream had come true. I have an overwhelming sense of fulfillment, pride, thanks, and accomplishment in my service to the people of Morris County,” he said.

Sheriff James M. Gannon said Chiarolanza’s tenacity in overcoming a physical challenge, attention to detail and drive to improve the quality of the agency made him an exceptional commanding Officer.

“Detective Captain Chiarolanza has been part of the backbone of this Agency and will be deeply missed for his wisdom, leadership and calm demeanor under pressure,” Sheriff Gannon said.

Mark Chiarolanza and his retirement "walk out''

Mark Chiarolanza and his retirement “walk out”

In his earlier days, Chiarolanza thought of becoming an aerospace engineer or attorney. But he sought a career in law enforcement after falling in love with stories told by his father, a former longtime special police officer in Madison.

After graduating from Parsippany Hills High School, he earned his Associate’s Degree in criminal justice from Erie Community College and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in sociology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Shortly after his graduation in 1992, he sustained a severe injury in a motorcycle crash by the Jersey Shore that led to amputation of his right leg below the knee.

After a long recovery, he was steadfast about finding a law enforcement position and walked into a Civil Service exam on crutches, still awaiting completion and fitting of a prosthetic leg. He was a dispatcher for about 30 months before a job opportunity arose in the summer of 1996 with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office.

He adeptly passed all the Basic Police Training Class requirements, including the physical tests that included maneuvering an obstacle course and running a few miles a day.

During his career, Detective Captain Chiarolanza also earned his Master of Arts degree in public administration from Kean University. He is a commissioner of the Madison Housing Authority and has won awards on the job for his contributions to re-accreditation, maintaining calm at protests, and other achievements.

Upon retirement, Detective Captain Chiarolanza will continue as an adjunct professor at County College of Morris and oversee operations of the Florham Park Memorial First Aid Squad.

Best Wishes Captain Chiarolanza!