NJ Cop with an “Eagle eye and good memory”

by Cole Tennant, Staff Writer

It was the hat! The distinct camo hat! The flashing lights and sounds of sirens blared throughout Palisades Park as the patrolman brought three suspects into the station. That day in 2010, unaware of the important discovery he would make in just a few hours.

Rory Tennant, a father of four and a 42-year-old police officer in Palisades Park had checked in for his regular 4-to-12 shift. Tonight’s assignment was a DWI checkpoint on the Route 46 ramp. 

While officers of the PPPD watched over the crowd of traffic, Patrolman Tennant spotted a car that stood out: a tan Ford Aerostar van which had stolen license plates. In the car were three males, one wearing a hat with a camouflage design. There was also a BB gun and numerous bandanas. 

“There is no normal shift,” Tennant said. “You can come into a shift and not get a call for an hour or two. And then there’s other days that you come in and you’re hitting four or five calls right off the bat.” 

Tennant followed interview protocol after bringing the suspects back to the station. He sensed that these men had been arrested before. “They know the game,” he said, recalling. “They’ve been in the system before.”

Months later in early November, Tennant saw the daily New York Post and something caught his eye. The hat! The distinct camo hat! On the New York Post that day he had recognized the man with a camo hat. The NYPD was seeking the public’s help looking for this man. He and two other men had “knocked off 19 businesses, including laundromats, a Baskin Robbins and gas stations.” 

Patrolman Tennant alerted the NYPD Detective Unit immediately about the arrest he had made a few months earlier. Patrolman Tennant handed the report and fingerprints over to the NYPD. They got them. 

Today, Tennant has 21 years of experience and is a certified pistol and rifle firearms instructor for the Palisades Park Police Department. He lives in Glen Rock with his family. 

Aside from his job as a police officer, he coaches his son in baseball and enjoys working out. He also enjoys watching baseball, football, hockey and spending time with his family. 

He still recalls the 19 robberies that he, according to the NYPD police commissioner Raymond Kelly, used his “eagle eye and a good memory” to close.