The courtroom on the second floor of the Union City City Hall was packed to the rafters last week when two Union City Police Officers were promoted.
Sgt. Brian Wolpert and Deputy Chief Charles Everett lured a standing-room-only crowd of family members, colleagues and friends for the ceremony. Captain Joseph Blaettler acted as master of ceremonies and presented both officers as "bright and dedicated individuals that care deeply for the people of Union City."
Wolpert is an almost 10-year veteran of the force. He is also an ex-Marine and veteran of the Persian Gulf War, having served in Iraq for almost two years. Wolpert’s father is out-going Union City Deputy Chief Leonard Wolpert, who is retiring after 30 years on the job. Everett, the other officer promoted last week, is replacing him.
According to Union City Police Chief Norman Bareis, Sgt. Wolpert went through college on the G.I. Bill and is currently working towards his Masters in Criminal Justice.
Deputy Chief Charles Everett is a 27-year veteran of the Union City Police Department. In his opening remarks, Union City Mayor Brian Stack said of Everett, "Without saying too much, Captain [now Deputy Chief] Everett has been a friend and an able police officer. He has never lost sight of why he became a police officer in the first place. Over the years, he has won the respect of the city. And with his trademark positive attitude, he never forgot ‘the beat,’ no matter how high his rank took him. It’s my honor to pass the badge of Deputy Chief to Captain Everett."
Continued Stack, "This shows that hard work is recognized. In fact, he thanked me this morning for making him Deputy Chief and I said, ‘Don’t thank me – you earned it’."
As he came to the podium, Everett was characteristically understated about the event, not wanting to shed too much light on himself . During a speech that he claimed the mayor forced him to make ("The mayor said ‘There’s no way you’re not saying something’, said Everett), Everett said, "I am not so confident in my own abilities, I believe that I will be doing God’s work. He will work through me."
A deeply religious man, Everett’s calm demeanor makes him somewhat of an anomaly among police officers, known for their tough, hard-bitten exteriors. Everett has a smile on his face almost all the time. A calm serenity seems to emanate from him, and according to those who have worked with him, it has a direct effect on the other officers on the department.
Stack said of Everett in a post ceremony interview, "[Deputy Chief] Everett will represent the department very well. I’ve known him forever. He’s worked his way up from the bottom. He has compassion for the common man. He is level-headed, calm and compassionate."
Continued Stack, "Both Captain Everett and Officer Wolpert have approached their jobs with dedication, compassion and a high degree of professionalism. While at very different points in their careers, they share a common goal – to protect and serve the people of Union City."
According to police sources, Everett was the first commander of Union City’s Community Policing Unit, established in 1992. He was highly regarded by the city’s business establishment. He was able to build rapport with the various business owners to such a degree that during last week’s ceremonies, Everett was presented with a plaque from Jay Schlesinger, head of the Union City Merchants’ Association, for his years of service.
In an interview, Everett laid out his "philosophy" of policing, and by extension, life. Said Everett, "It’s not so much about looking good all the time. It’s about serving the public. It is very important to remain approachable. My philosophy of life is that people are very important. When you forget policing involves people, it can get very stressful. It’s not about how many summonses we hand out. It always goes back to the people."
Sgt. Brian Wolpert expressed much the same sentiment in a recent telephone conversation.
Said Wolpert, "My philosophy since joining the force has been to ‘lead by example’. And since I’ve been promoted, that has even more meaning. But what it really comes down to is pride in the job and caring for people. You have to give a good effort everyday."
Wolpert’s status as a war veteran, according to the officer, continues to translate to the streets. Said Wolpert, "Anything to do with the military forces you to grow up fast because you’re all by yourself. At a young age, you’re responsible for million dollar pieces of equipment. So you definitely take that sense of responsibility to the streets."
Added Wolpert, "I grew up in this town. My grandpa still lives here, so this promotion is really important to me. In the last couple of years, since Mayor Stack has come in and Captain [Joe] Blaettler has been promoted, there has been a real turn-around in this department. Ask any of the guys on the department and they’ll tell you."