WOODCLIFF LAKE—Former Police Chief Anthony Jannicelli has been recognized as L.E.A.D.er of the Year by Law Enforcement Against Drugs & Violence (L.E.A.D.), a nationwide nonprofit committed to protecting communities from drugs and violence.
The award was presented to Jannicelli at L.E.A.D.’s Seventh Annual 21st Century Drug and Violence Prevention Training Conference in Atlantic City, held March 20–22.
“We’re pleased to congratulate Anthony on his outstanding work training officers to teach our program,” said Nick DeMauro, CEO of L.E.A.D. in a press release April 13.
DeMauro added, “He’s expanding the network of instructors trained on the L.E.A.D. curriculum and, therefore, helping more students be educated on the dangers of drugs and violence, which continue to be a problem for young students across the country.”
L.E.A.D. provides services “on the street” and “in the classroom” as it brings law enforcement and communities closer together. The “in the classroom” program is taught by 3000 trained instructors in 41 states.
“L.E.A.D. has the only proven effective, law enforcement-focused anti–drug, anti–violence curriculum for K-12 students in the U.S. The L.E.A.D. curriculum is taught over the course of a 10-week program to educate youth on how they can make smart decisions without the involvement of drugs or violence,” the release says.
Jannicelli’s role as a “L.E.A.D.er” includes training officers on the L.E.A.D. program as well as ensuring those that are already in the classroom are properly teaching it. At various police academies in New Jersey, he’s trained 75–100 officers.
In December, 2000, Chief Richard Poliey retired after a distinguished 34-year career. Then- Lt. Anthony Jannicelli was appointed acting chief in December 2000, then rose to chief in full in June 2001. He implemented the Community Police Sector Assignments program, where each officer is assigned as sector of town to handle non-emergency incidents.
He retired after a 40-year career with the Woodcliff Lake Police Department.
John Burns was sworn in as police chief on Jan. 1, 2019 replacing Jannicelli. That year saw two other chiefs named in the valley: Joseph Sanfilippo in Montvale, Sean Scheidle in River Vale. Westwood Police Chief Michael Pontillo was sworn in the previous year.
“I started out as an instructor before I became a trainer, so I’ve had the privilege of working with L.E.A.D. for a little over two years now,” Jannicelli said. “Given the anti-police climate that we’ve seen over the past two years, it’s especially important that efforts are being made to rebuild the trust between officers and communities, which my involvement with L.E.A.D. is allowing me to accomplish.”
The ability to prevent students early in their lives from drug, alcohol and violence use, Jannicelli said, is what makes the curriculum most valuable.
He said, “Just like in law enforcement, it’s better to prevent a crime rather than solve one, and the L.E.A.D. curriculum has convinced kids to stay away from drugs and violence, rather than just stop them in the act.”
Jannicelli said the program is “top notch in educating students on the detriments of these harms, and I’m honored that I’m helping more children receive curriculum that’s highly needed.”
Jannicelli commended the officers he trains on their dedication toward becoming the best L.E.A.D. instructors they can be.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to see the hard work that officers put in to become confident in teaching the curriculum,” he said. “They then get to go into the classroom and have positive interactions with children, which I believe is our road back, as officers, toward the relationships we once had with our communities.”
L.E.A.D. provides the leadership, resources and management to ensure law enforcement agencies have the means to partner with educators, community leaders, and families. L.E.A.D. succeeds by providing proven and effective programs to deter youth and adults from drug use, drug related crimes, bullying and violence. L.E.A.D. is committed to reinforcing the mutual respect, goodwill and relations between law enforcement and their communities.
For more information, please visit leadrugs.org.