Union City swears in first female police chief of Hudson County

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Union City swears in first female police chief of Hudson County Union City swears in first female police chief of Hudson County
UNION CITY -

Union City has sworn in Hudson County’s first female police chief.

"This position is everything about my dedication to community, my work ethic, my ability and my drive and nothing to do about gender,” says newly appointed Union City Police Chief Nichelle Luster.

But Luster says that she does concede that she holds a certain level of responsibility to her gender. She shared comments a male police chief once offered to her.

“’As a father of two daughters, I want to tell you ‘thank you.’ You're the person that I point to when I talk to my daughters.’ And that means a lot to me,” she says.

Luster was an MP in the United States Army before joining the police force in 1994. She spent time investigating homicides and also commanded the patrol and professional standards divisions.

Luster was one of only four women when she joined the Union City Police Department. Today there are 22 women among the 140 men. Luster says that she expects more women to join the force in the future. But she says that she will not mandate it.

“It doesn’t matter, male or female. What we are looking for is quality officers,” she says.

Former Union City Police Chief Richard Molinari says that Luster carries an empathy and connection to the very diverse community of Union City.

"I can see that when she's on the phone with somebody and I hear the conversation, and you just can see the gentleness in her voice, when she needs to be,” he says. “But then, when she needs to let you know who the boss is, Nicky lets you know who that is."

Luster says that she will maintain her compassion now that she is chief.

"I think it's ‘treat people the way you want to be treated.’ When I'm speaking with someone on the phone or dealing with somebody on the street, I treat them the way I'd treat a family member or friend,” she says.

Luster takes over for Molinari who is retiring.

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