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Palisades Park Boy Rescued From Overpeck Creek Is 'Chief For A Day'

Sheriff's officers salute their "Chief for a Day."
Sheriff's officers salute their "Chief for a Day." Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Joseph and sheriff.
Joseph and sheriff. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Joseph and Audrey Beverly.
Joseph and Audrey Beverly. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Joseph with Audrey Beverly (left), mom Angela Cassese and Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino.
Joseph with Audrey Beverly (left), mom Angela Cassese and Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Joseph with Audrey Beverly (left), mom Angela Cassese and Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino.
Joseph with Audrey Beverly (left), mom Angela Cassese and Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

PALISADES PARK, N.J. — An 8-year-old boy with autism from Palisades Park who was rescued from drowning in Overpeck Park last fall was spending Friday as "Chief for a Day," sponsored by Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino.

Joseph Cassese, who is nonverbal, began his day with an escort to the Bergen County Sheriff's Department before a trip to the county seat in Hackensack for the 7th annual event.

Daily Voice was with Joseph, who was rescued after wandering off from his therapist last November.

Thankfully, a bystander dialed 911 and responders were at the park almost instantly.

"It means the absolute world to us that we've been getting so much support from everyone -- especially law enforcement," said one of Joseph's moms, Angela Cassese. "It's just a miracle he's still here with us."

Nearly two dozen other children from across Bergen County — all with chronic health conditions -- were also serving as Police “Chief for a Day” for their towns on Friday.

The seventh annual event includes motorcade rides for the youngsters, aged six to 15, to the steps of the county courthouse.

Each gets his or her own uniform at the various agencies, including the sheriff’s and prosecutor’s offices.

This year's participating agencies include:

  • Bergen County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Bergen County Office of Emergency Management
  • Bergenfield Police Department
  • Carlstadt Police Department
  • Cliffside Park Police Department
  • East Rutherford Police Department
  • Edgewater Police Department
  • Emerson Police Department
  • Englewood Cliffs Police Department
  • Englewood Police Department
  • Fair Lawn Police Department
  • Fairview Police Department
  • Fort Lee Police Department
  • Garfield Police Department
  • Hasbrouck Heights Police Department
  • Haworth Police Department
  • Moonachie Police Department
  • Montvale Police Department
  • North Arlington Police Department
  • Oakland Police Department
  • Oradell Police Department
  • Teaneck Police Department
  • Tenafly Police Department
  • Upper Saddle River Police Department
  • Washington Township Police Department
  • Westwood Police Department
  • Woodcliff Lake Police Department

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