A TRIBUTE: John “Jack” Schmidig, a former Bergen County Police Department chief admired for his loyalty to his staff, has died at age 65.
Schmidig, formerly of Bogota and then Saddle Brook, retired to Port Charlotte, FL, in 2009 after a police career of nearly 37 years — one that began on June 12, 1972, as he was fond of noting.
A former police inspector, Schmidig joked when he took over the department that he’d avoid what had been front office upheaval by bringing his own desk.
His immediate priorities included increasing county highway patrols — in large part to take dangerous trucks off the roads — and boosting diversity throughout the department.
Schmidig was all business: His tough-love approach to administration at times came off as gruff. But to a man and woman, those who worked under him noted that he had an genuine open-door policy and always went the extra mile whenever they needed his support.
Schmidig was a cop nearly all his adult life, except for a four-year Navy hitch that included a Pacific tour in Vietnam and short-term work in the chemical industry.
He also took great pride in being “a local boy.”
Despite being the boss, Schmidig made headlines more than once by chasing down criminals — including one who led him on a foot chase after tossing a crack pipe onto Route 4.
It was less than a year ago that Schmidig’s father, Joseph, of Lodi, died at age 93.
Both Schmidig’s son and son-in-law are Demarest police officers.
PHOTO ABOVE: Jack Schmidig with Detective Gidget Petry (Courtesy: G. Petry)
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