Page 14 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • March 18, 2009 �������������������������� Police chief to retire after 35 years of service by John Koster Wyckoff Police Chief John Ydo says he is grateful to the people, the elected officials, and the administration of Wyckoff for sustaining him through 35 years of police service that included 17 years as chief. “I have no regrets,” said Ydo last week. “It was a great career, and better than I would have expected.” He will be leaving the force in July but may be off-duty earlier due to accrued vacation time and sick leave. Ydo, who joined the police force in 1974, said the most notable incident of his career happened near the beginning. He and other officers had arrested a pair of professional burglars whose car was parked behind the Wyckoff Reformed Church. One of the burglars fled in the car, while Ydo forcibly detained the other one. After the escaped burglar was collared in a wild car chase by Detective Captain Robert Sokoly, Ydo and Sokoly were both startled to find that the burglar, a career criminal, had a loaded .38 revolver under the front seat. Keeping track of the case, Ydo later learned that the burglar subsequently killed two police officers. “I’m convinced of divine providence,” said Ydo. “I could have very easily been his first victim. He later shot a state trooper and a jail guard, and he made the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. It was a wake-up call for me in terms of the tactics you have to employ as a police officer, and how hazardous the job can be.” Ydo is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a degree in biology/pre-med when he decided to try police work instead. “In retrospect, medical school wasn’t what I was best suited for,” Ydo said. “I had always been interested both in science and criminal justice, so I decided to try police work. I didn’t expect that I’d spend my entire career in Wyckoff.” Ydo completed all the class work for a master’s degree in forensics and maintains a professional interest in the scientific aspects of police work. He served with the Bergen County Fatal Accident Squad for a number of years, where he was able to apply his knowledge of medicine. “Being a police officer in Bergen County may not be on a level with New York City or Jersey City, but all these tragic and horrific events tend to have a cumulative effect,” he said. “A lot of people don’t give police officers credit for the extent of the emotional stress it takes to do this job.” He added, “I’m thankful to the people who responded to some of my abilities.” Ydo became a sergeant in 1982, after eight years on the force. He became a lieutenant in 1984 and a captain in 1989. When Police Chief Don Stapleton retired in 1989, the Wyckoff force was without a chief until Ydo was promoted to the top job in 1990. The Wyckoff Police Department has won superlative awards for traffic safety from AAA, and was a pioneer in the use of computers and video equipment. Ydo has earned an excellent reputation among area police chiefs for his efficiency, keen intelligence, and his dry sense of humor. He is also noted for humility, humanity, and professionalism. “You come to work every day, you do the best you can every day, and you go home hoping you made the department a better department,” he said. Chief John Ydo SHOTMEYER BROS. “We’re the Energy Experts!” The Finest Heating Oil and Service Company in the Industry! AUTOMATIC DELIVERY! COMPLETE INSTALLATION! EMERGENCY SERVICE! Dependable, Reliable Service for Over 80 Years! Call Us Today! 973-427-1000