"I don't know how or when it started, but it's always been my dream," said the 23-year-old Brarcaccio, a lifelong resident of Weehawken. "I always wanted to be able to help people."
The same can be said for 25-year-old Anthony Mauriello, also a lifelong resident.
"It was my childhood dream to become a police officer, but then I became more interested after I took some criminal justice classes at St. John's University," said Mauriello, who played baseball at Marist High School in Bayonne. "I just wanted to have the chance to work in my hometown."
The same can be said for Conrad Hablitz and James White, also lifelong residents who had the same dream.
Thursday night, the dreams of these four young Weehawken residents became a reality when they were officially sworn in as the newest members of the Weehawken police department. The four took their oaths in front of Mayor Richard Turner and the Township Council before the regularly scheduled council meeting.
All four were hired at an annual salary of $23,000. They will report for departmental orientation for the next week, then will head to the Passaic County Police Academy after Labor Day. They will remain training in the academy for a period of 24 weeks and will return, ready for patrol duty, sometime in February of 2002.
"The four new officers all come from long-time Weehawken families," said Jeff Welz, the director of public safety for the township. "We welcome the new additions and they were at the top of the state Department of Personnel list. We're so happy that the mayor and council decided to increase the strength of the department to an all-time high. We were able to replace retirees in rapid fashion with these hires."
In the case of Brarcaccio, she becomes only the fourth woman in the history of the Weehawken police department and the third current female member.
"I don't think it's much of a challenge, because I know a lot of the guys already," said Brarcaccio, who attended Weehawken High School at the same time with White and Hablitz. "I think I'll be fine. I don't think there will be a problem."
Hablitz, also 23, believes that the familiarity between the new recruits will go a long way toward getting them through the grueling regimen of the training academy.
"It has to help," Hablitz said. "We all know each other, so hopefully, we'll be able to help each other out."
Hablitz said that he always wanted to be a police officer when he was a youngster, but then turned his attentions toward entering the FBI when he entered high school. He had a job working in computer technology when he took the test for the first time and got hired.
Brarcaccio was working as an office administrator.
"I knew I didn't want to get stuck behind a desk in an office for the rest of my life," Brarcaccio said. "I needed to be out and about."
Brarcaccio was asked about the tough training, whether it would be more difficult on her because she is a woman.
"I'm sure I can handle it," Brarcaccio said. "It's going to be hard, but I'll be able to handle it. Maybe other people might be harder on me, because I'm a woman. I guess we'll find out soon enough."
None of the officers shied away from the six months of training.
"I want to know what I'm doing before I get out on the street," Mauriello said.
"It's not going to be a piece of cake," Hablitz said. "It's going to be a challenge for all of us."
Mauriello, who is the son of respected anesthesiologist Dr. Anthony Mauriello, was working as a food vendor when he received word that he finally was taken off the list.
"I had taken the test five or six times," Mauriello said. "I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever get picked. When I finally received notice, I couldn't believe it. It was finally going to become a reality."
White comes from a family of police officers. His father, James Sr., was a Hoboken police officer.
There were plenty of smiles from happy family members when the four new officers were first introduced by Deputy Police Chief Robert DelPriore and handed their badges from Deputy Public Safety Director Robert Zucconi.
"This is the proudest moment of my life," Brarcaccio said.
"It's a blessing for me," said Mauriello.
"I think we're all very excited," Hablitz said.
Not many people can say they lived out a childhood dream. These four now can say they accomplished that feat.