How To Eat a Donut Like a Cop

A ride along with the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association

by Mike Ham

Earlier this year I spent my first time in the back of a cop car, well actually it was a union car and I’m sure it’s not normal to eat donuts in the back seat. Which is exactly what this week’s episode is all about. We were joined by distinguished guests Patrick Colligan, President of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA), and Vinny Rizzo, a seasoned police officer and trusted PBA delegate.

As a 31-year veteran of law enforcement and the PBA President since 2014, Pat Colligan shared his wealth of experience, offering insights into the vital role the PBA plays in representing officers across the state. Vinny Rizzo, an 18-year police force veteran from Bergen County, provided a valuable perspective as a dedicated delegate in the PBA Conference.

Our journey took us to Plainfield Donut Shop and Vaccaro’s Bakery in Clark, New Jersey, where we explored more than just the delectable world of pastries. Beyond the irresistible allure of donuts, we delved into the significance of community policing and the positive impact officers can make through engagement with local businesses and residents.

Contrary to popular stereotypes, our conversation touched on the enduring tradition of police officers and donuts—a practical choice dating back to the early opening hours of bakeries, offering a convenient breakfast for night-shift officers. We shared our experiences and preferences, fostering a lighthearted atmosphere that aimed to dispel stereotypes and highlight the human side of law enforcement.

Our love for food extended beyond donuts, encompassing New Jersey’s culinary treasures like pizza and hot dogs. Throughout the episode, we emphasized the shared enjoyment of simple pleasures, fostering a connection between officers and the communities they serve.

In the later part of the podcast, we shifted gears to discuss the PBA’s history, its crucial role in supporting law enforcement officers, and the challenges they face, both professionally and personally. We underscored the importance of humanizing police officers, sharing poignant experiences from various regions of New Jersey.

Additionally, we shared a heartwarming story of community support during the COVID pandemic, where the Port Authority Police played a role in saving Vaccaro’s. This highlighted the significance of spreading the word about local businesses to ensure their survival—a cause we passionately support.

As we wrapped up our culinary ride-along, we mentioned future plans to explore other notable donut shops, promising more delightful adventures in upcoming episodes. Thank you for helping us humanize the badge, one delicious bite at a time.

About the Author/s

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Mike Ham is the voice behind the popular podcast, "Greetings From the Garden State". Traveling up and down New Jersey, Mike brings his listeners the stories of the people and places shaping the Garden State. Not only is he a Jersey diehard, he is also a respected member of the podcast community and has spoken at several podcasting conferences. As he continues to amplify the voices of New Jersey, Mike Ham remains a passionate advocate for the diverse narratives woven into the fabric of the Garden State.

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