A group of Italian police officers recently visited Boston as part of a two-week work trip on the East Coast. “It’s a tradition we’ve been carrying on since 1997,” said Alberto Caracciolo, a deputy officer based in Florence who has been organizing the Italian police visits for the past several years.
For 15 years, a rotating group of officers has taken part in the Columbus Day festivities in New York and New Jersey, and since 2011 the group has extended its stay to include a trip to the Greater Boston area. This year, 27 agents and officials were treated to a dinner at the Paesani d’Italia organization in Somerville on October 14, followed by an intense day of activities on October 15: After visiting the Canton headquarters of LoJack — the security systems company that sponsored the Boston trip — the Italian police went on to greet the Norfolk County Sheriff, followed by a visit at the Middlesex County firing range. The day was topped off with a dinner at Gennaro’s restaurant in the North End.“There’s a professional exchange,” said Caracciolo. “We talk about technology and operating procedures with our American colleagues.” While in Boston, the group was accompanied by Middlesex County deputy officers Joe Christman and Bob Malkasian.
Paesani d’Italia’s president Rocco DiRenzo is working to have the group come to next year’s Italian Heritage Month kickoff event. “I hope we can make it happen,” said DiRenzo.
The hope is shared by members of the Italian police, who feel at home when in the United States. Officer Laura Pratesi, of Pescara, was on her second trip to Boston. “There is such great respect for the flag and for the institution,” she said. “We can sense the pride immigrants brought with them to this country.”
The trip was even more emotional for agent Ermanno Cichella of Teramo.
“It was my first trip to the United States,” he said. “It was amazing. You can see the joy and respect in people’s eyes. It was an honor to be here.”