Port Authority Police Badge No. 1214 may not be as shiny as most, but it’s every bit as treasured.
On Friday, Nick Farfalla accepted that badge as he graduated from the Port Authority Police Academy, just as his father and grandfather had before him.
“It means a lot,” said the Ridgewood resident. “It’s pretty funny, because when it was presented to me, everyone had these shiny new badges — mine is old and tarnished. I liked it, I felt like I was the next chapter.”
The honor of carrying on the family’s badge was an unexpected one. Although he took the entrance test, Farfalla said he never actually expected to be a police officer and was planning to go into software engineering. But now those plans have changed.
His father, Frank Jr., was a Port Authority officer for 30 years who retired in March as a lieutenant. Frank Sr., his grandfather, was a detective lieutenant and served for 38 years. An uncle is also a veteran of the force.
The three-generation succession is highly unusual, perhaps even a first.
“It’s not uncommon for relatives to be in the Port Authority Police Department, but it’s very unique that that many generations are,” said Joseph Pentangelo, a spokesman for the agency.
“In fact,” Pentangelo said, “it’s unprecedented, I believe.”
The father and grandfather were both thrilled to see another Farfalla go to work for the Port Authority Police Department.
“It’s amazing,” said Frank Farfalla Jr. “And (Frank Sr.) is just as excited as I am. I’m very proud to pass it on to him.”
Nick Farfalla described his upbringing as scary at times because he never could be sure his dad would come home safe at the end of the day. Ultimately, though, that did not deter him from donning the uniform himself. He said life comes with risks, no matter what people do for a living, and in fact, he’s excited to get the chance to be a police officer.
“It’s a big risk, but you have to trust your training and everything you’ve done,” he said.
Farfalla said he expects to start on Monday, but the enthusiasm in his voice during a phone interview seemed to indicate he would start sooner if he could.
“I’m excited to get there and starting helping people,” he said.