Police officer on both sides of the law at Wild West City

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:51

    BYRAM Twp-When Glenn Schnellbacher is working the beat for the Bergenfield police department, he is always on the right side of the law. When he works the "beat" at Wild West City in Bryam Twp., Schnellbacher sometimes finds himself on the wrong side of the law. For the past eight years, Schnellbacher has been a volunteer, playing the part of Doc Holiday and other western icons in various shows and stunts. Once in a while, he fills in as a "bad guy." "I play good guys, bad guys," said Schnellbacher, a 22-year veteran of the Bergenfield police department. He adds with a smile, "It's interesting to sometimes be on the other side of the law." Of course, being on the other side of the law at Wild West City is as fun as being on the good side. Schnellbacher has been a fan for many years, having first brought his oldest child there some 16 years ago. Eight years ago he joined the Arizona Rangers, a group of dedicated volunteers who replicate the 19th Century group that helped to keep Arizona free of crime. Members of the rangers assist in various roles at the theme park all week long. Schnellbacher volunteers at Wild West City anywhere from one to three days a week during the season, that runs from May through October. "Besides having a fascination with the old west, I just really enjoy the whole atmosphere at Wild West City," he said. "It's a really nice place to bring kids. I used to bring my kids 12 times a year. Eventually I decided that instead of just coming and watching on the sidelines, I wanted to be more involved." Schnellbacher has made it a family affair. He is often joined at the park by his five-year old son Kyle, wife Debi, who works at the Golden Nugget Saloon, and 13-year old daughter Kaitlyn. "You don't have to look over your shoulder here," said Schnellbacher, who works for the police department as a school resource officer based at Bergenfield High School. "You can let the kids run. It's that kind of place." Originally opened in the 1950s, Wild West City was originally conceived as a re-creation of Dodge City, Ks. The city features a broad main street lined by hitching rails, old wooden sidewalks and storefronts, and exhibits that relive the old west. A day at the park features stagecoach rides, and a host of shows and stunts, as scenes from the old west are played out, such as the shootout at the O.K. Corral and horse riding exploits. An authentic one-room school house and a quaint chapel, which has actually served as the backdrop for weddings, are added attractions. Wild West City is located just off of Rte. 80 near Rte. 206, where Sussex and Morris counties meet. For more information, call 973-347-8900 or visit www.wildwestcity.com.