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Deputy Chief Tracy Frazzano is leaving to become the first female chief of the police department in Marco Island, Fla. FILE PHOTO

BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
winters@montclairlocal.news

Tracy Frazzano, the first woman to be Montclair’s deputy chief of police, is leaving to become the first female chief of the police department in Marco Island, Fla.

In her 20 years with the Montclair Police Department, Frazzano was also its first female detective, sergeant, lieutenant and captain.

Her last day in Montclair was Aug. 20. 

Frazzano headed the Administrative and Logistics Division within the department, a group that includes the town’s Support Services Bureau, Communications/Dispatch Center, Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Uniform Division and Traffic Bureau. As deputy chief, she managed the police department’s $4 million budget and a force of 112 officers in a community of 39,000 residents. Frazzano will now head a force of 35 in a town with 16,413 residents.

Frazzano is one of Montclair’s two current deputy police chiefs. Wilhelm Young is the other; he heads up the MPD’s Operations Division. Chief Todd Conforti did not answer if Frazzano will be replaced.

The mayor and council congratulated Frazzano at its Aug. 20 meeting in a what was a tearful goodbye for the deputy chief.

Assemblyman Thomas Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic) also read a New Jersey State Assembly resolution and referred to her as a “crown jewel” within the force. 

“We are losing one of Montclair’s finest safety personnel,” said Giblin. “She joined the force at a young age. And she comes from a family of public safety officials. It’s a mixed blessing, we are sorry to see her go, but we don’t want to hold her back. ‘Carpe diem,’ as they say … seize the moment.”

Frazzano became choked up at the microphone.

“It’s hard to walk away. It’s bittersweet. I can’t believe how emotional I am. It makes you see how much you all mean to me,” she said. “Thank you to the community. I was born and raised here, so I will be a Mountie forever.”

Mayor Robert Jackson said the deputy chief represented the police force with honor and dignity, pointing to her rise through the ranks in a male-dominated profession.

“We try to get beyond tags, particularly as a female. But what you have been able to do in a male-dominated profession makes your story all the more compelling,” Jackson said.

At Montclair High School, Frazzano was in the National Honor Society and also received the maximum 12 varsity sports letters. She was the first female basketball player in school history to score over 1,000 career points, and she held the program’s all-time scoring record for a decade after her graduation. 

After joining the MPD in 1995, she has performed uniformed and plain clothes duties in the Patrol Division, Juvenile Aid and Community Policing bureaus. She spent time as a coach in the Police Athletic League, as a tutor for middle school children, and a mentor for the Concerns for Police Survivors program.

Frazzano is a 2010 graduate of the Center at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., where she earned a Master of Arts Degree in Security Studies (Homeland Security and Defense). Her thesis was nominated for the Outstanding Thesis Award and in 2011 she was honored with the Center for Homeland Defense and Security Alumni Fellowship, which detailed her to Washington, D.C., working for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In 2015, she attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. 

Throughout her entire career, Frazzano has supported the Special Olympics and carried the ceremonial torch as a regional police representative. She has represented the United States in the sports of softball and dragon boating in the 2011 and 2015 World Police and Fire Games, winning a gold medal in each.

Conforti credited Frazzano’s efforts that resulted in the department receiving accreditation status with the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police last year. 

“I would like to congratulate Deputy Chief Frazzano on a successful career with the Montclair Police Department. The Montclair Police Department would like to thank Tracy for her years of service to our agency and wish her well in her future endeavors,” he said.

According to her biography on the town’s website, she is also an avid golfer. Marco Island is known for its golf courses.

Frazzano beat out 80 other candidates who applied for the Marco Island chief position.