In the kitchen with Police Chief Jan Wright

| 22 Feb 2012 | 07:54

Chief keeps fit by running and offers up his grilled salmon recipe, By Laurie Gordon Hamburg’s Chief of Police Jan Wright believes that being in shape should be an integral part of any policeman’s job. “It’s your obligation to the job to be in shape. What if you suddenly had to run up two flights of steps with an oxygen tank and defibrillator to save someone’s life?” Wright grew up in Hardyston and attended Franklin High School for two years, then moved into the new Wallkill Valley High for his junior and senior years. “Fate’s been good to me,” he said. Shortly after high school, Wright was hired by the Hardyston Police Department as a dispatcher. Two years later he became a patrolman. He went to the Bergen County Police Academy in 1988 and then was hired as a patrolman by the Hamburg force. He was promoted to detective in 1995. “I made lieutenant in 2006, then when the chief retired in 2006, was promoted to acting captain,” he said. In 2008, Wright became Chief of Hamburg’s police force. As a child, Wright said, his athletic ability was “limited.” He remembers going to a wrestling camp at Blair Academy as an eighth-grader. Each morning, the campers would run on the golf course. “I didn’t have any wrestling talent, so that morning run ended up being the highlight of the camp for me.” It was after high school, when he was 19 and working as a security officer at the Rockaway Mall that he ran his first real race. It wasn’t a couple of miles. Wright debuted by running a 13.1-mile half marathon held at Fort Dix. That was 1985. For the next few years, Wright used running to get in shape for other sports. When he got into body building, he used it to drop weight. Then, in 1994, he ran his first marathon: the now-defunct Warwick (N.Y.) Marathon. “I’m a four-hour marathoner,” he said, “I have fun while I’m doing them.” He returned to Warwick the following year for the same event. In 2000, Wright met some people who were part of the Adventure Racing Club. For the next two years, he joined the world of adventure racing, participating in races of all sorts that lasted from three to 36 hours. The 36-hour race, The Endorphine Fix, in West Virginia, was his most memorable. Wright was part of a three-person team, and they were very good in the mixed team division. But in 2002, the members moved elsewhere. Racing again went on hold as career and family took the forefront. Wright ran on his own for the physical and mental benefits. His last race was the 2007 New Jersey Marathon. While it’s hard to find time to train for marathons, Wright says, “I use running to stay fit and often when my shift ends head out the back door of the station for my favorite five-mile loop.” The Chief’s feelings about staying fit as a policeman run deep, and in February of 2007, it really paid off when he had to run a quarter-mile to help a man who was unconscious in the Wallkill River. Wright says he’s grateful for a family that fully supports his career and sports endeavors. His wife, Corinne, and four children: Natasha, a 25-year-old who works in marketing for Crystal Springs; Alex, 23 who is a runner like dad and just graduated from Felician College; Tom, a junior at Wallkill Valley High who wants to be an actor, and Kali, a 10-year-old attending the Hardyston School. This summer, Chief Wright will spend eight days paddling the full length of the Delaware River with his buddy, Kevin Konopka, who recently retired from the Cresskill Police Department. “We aren’t sure of the specific dates, but it’s a plan and it’ll be an adventure.” The Chief’s Salmon One pound of salmon Olive oil Basil Oregano Brush the salmon with olive oil, sprinkle with basil and oregano and grill until cooked. Serve with steamed broccoli and sweet potatoes.