HISTORY OF THE GLEN ROCK POLICE DEPARTMENT
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The Glen Rock Police Department was established in 1918 to provide full time law enforcement services to the Borough of Glen Rock, located in northwest Bergen County, New Jersey. At the time of the department’s inception, Glen Rock was a small agrarian community of approximately 4,000 people.
Between 1894 and 1918, part-time “Marshals” were hired by the community to provide law enforcement services. Often referred to as policemen, these marshals had no training and were issued only a handgun, nightstick and badge. They were called to duty as needed and were paid for any arrests they made. The Chief Marshal was Martin A. Jensen.
On September 1, 1918, the Glen Rock Police Department was formed with the appointment of its first full time police officer, James R. Houlihan. A former Village of Ridgewood, NJ policeman, Mr. Houlihan was named as Chief of Police and patrolled Glen Rock on a bicycle. He also used trained police dogs to locate missing persons and deter crime, a concept the department re-instituted in between 1993 and 2000, with the creation of a modern police canine unit staffed by then P.O. Eric Reamy and K-9 Cezar
The first police car was purchased in 1923, assisting the officers who patrolled the borough on foot and on Motorcycle. At that time, no police radios existed, and officers communicated by using telephone “call boxes” which were located at various points throughout the town. By 1928 the department had grown and now included seven officers. This number would remain constant through the 1940’s.
Shortly after the beginning of World War II, a volunteer auxiliary police force was established to augment the full time police department. The Glen Rock Auxiliary Police acted as additional eyes and ears for the police. These auxiliary officers provided the borough with secondary patrols, and were available for emergencies, disasters, and public events requiring crowd and traffic control. Many of those who served as Auxiliary Police Officers went on to become full-time Police Officers both locally as far away as Mesa Arizona. Due to ever increasing training requirements, which were in many cases equal to that of regular officers, the auxiliary police program ended in 2012.
Following the Second World War, Glen Rock began to see many changes. Located approximately twenty minutes away from of New York City, and near the city of Paterson, Glen Rock was fast becoming a suburban residential community. Today, Glen Rock’s 2.8 square miles are populated by approximately 12,000 residents and includes numerous business establishments. The community is a pleasant mixture of single family residences, town houses and light industry. The town is also home to a vibrant central business district; several strip malls, two high volume commuter railroad lines, a highly rated public school system, several park areas, and a number of different religious institutions, including an Indian Sikh temple.
As Glen Rock grew and changed, so did its police department. In 1946 a two-way radio system was installed in police headquarters as well as the department’s patrol cars. This dramatically increased the police response time to the growing number of calls being received each year. As the day-to-day needs and problems of the community increased, so did the demands placed upon the police force. Increased training, additional manpower and better equipment soon became necessary.
During the 1950’s, society began to recognize the need for specialized police training and Glen Rock police officers began attending formal programs conducted by the FBI, State of New Jersey, and Bergen County. This type of formal training became mandatory for all police officers throughout New Jersey in the 1960’s, and during the next decade officers began seeking college degrees in criminal justice, public administration and psychology. Today, anyone wishing to become a Glen Rock police officer is required to have a college background.
During the 70’s, the department grew to twenty-six sworn, full-time police officers. Radar equipment for speed enforcement, and hand held portable radios for more effective communications were placed into service.
In 1984, Glen Rock was one of the first police departments in Bergen County to issue semi-automatic 9mm handguns to its officers.
In 1995, duty side-arms were upgraded to .40 caliber auto-pistols, a weapon that since has become a standard among law enforcement agencies. Glen Rock Police Officers currently carry Glock model 23 .40 calibers semi-automatic hand guns.
As information system technology began to emerge during the 1970’s, the Glen Rock Police became involved in a countywide movement aimed at computerizing criminal records as part of a larger federal program.
In April of 2002 the Department replaced its long outdated MDT, in-car computer system and purchased Mobile Data Computers. In later years these computers were upgraded to rugged lap-top terminals. This state-of-the-art system placed the department at the forefront of the technology curve.
The specialized, touch screen computers allows officers on patrol instant access to FBI criminal and wanted person files, as well as several other state and countywide law enforcement databases, including New Jersey motor vehicle records.
This system has resulted in the detention of numerous wanted persons and other violators found on the streets in our community.
Today all police vehicles assigned to routine patrol functions are equipped with Mobile Data Computers in the form of Panasonic “Tough Books”. Officers on patrol are able to write most basic reports in their cars and submit them over a wireless network, thus keeping them on the street where they are needed. Even Traffic Summonses can now be generated electronically and immediately transferred to the Municipal Court directly from the patrol car. Officers in the field also have the ability to search the department’s in-house data base for local alerts, premise histories, prior reports and field contacts instantly from their cars. They can also communicate with and transfer information to other officers and agencies throughout the region.
Currently, the Glen Rock Police Department consists of twenty-one full-time police officers, one parking enforcement officer and two part-time police administrative aids who maintain the police records and reception desk during limited hours Monday to Saturday. Sworn police personnel are divided into two divisions, consisting of a patrol section and a detective bureau. The command staff presently includes the Chief of police and one Captain. There are five patrol Sergeants, one Detective Sergeant and one Detective. Several of our officers also provide specialized services including, traffic safety, juvenile officer, domestic violence investigation, law enforcement accreditation, certified car seat technicians, computer and information technology services, records management, as well as firearms training and radar instruction, in addition to their normal patrol assignments. Several officers have been certified in “train-the-trainer” programs allowing the department to expand the use of in-house training during regular working hours.
In 1994 the Glen Rock Police Department closed down an antiquated police dispatch desk and moved Police dispatch and 911 services to a regional dispatch center, the NorthWest Bergen Central Dispatch located in Ridgewood, NJ. This center is the primary point of contact for all emergency and non-emergency calls to Glen Rock’s public safety services.
In January 1999, the department instituted an enhanced emergency medical program under which all members of the patrol force were trained in the use of portable cardiac defibrillation units known as AED’s. These units were obtained through a project developed by the Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, NJ, and are used by trained personnel to start the heartbeat of a person suffering from cardiac arrest.
Today many of the Glen Rock Police Officers on patrol are also certified as Emergency Medical Technicians (E.M.T.’s), one officer is also a fully certified paramedic.
Having out grown its former substandard facility at old Borough Hall, Glen Rock Police Department, along with other Borough Offices, moved into a temporary Police Headquarters at 175 Rock Road behind the CVS in 2007. The department operated out of this location until January of 2010 when operations were moved back to a newly renovated and state-of-the-art police facility at the Harding Plaza Municipal Building.
In 2011 the department’s Motor Cycle Unit was re-instituted. The department currently has two motorcycles, which get about 40 miles to the gallon and are equipped to respond to all calls handled by patrol cars. In addition to the standard police radio, the unit is equipped with a radar unit, e-ticket printer, oxygen, defibrillator, first aid gear, flares, police line tape and flashlight. It is outfitted with a siren and all required emergency lighting as well as a laptop computers similar to those used in borough police cars but designed for use on police motorcycles. The motor cycles are on patrol 12 months a year except during extreme weather conditions.
History compiled by Sgt. Dean Ackermann
LIEUTENANT PAUL BALCH HONORED
From L to R (Lt. Paul Balch, Chief Frederick Stahman, Captain Jonathan Miller)
The borough council Wednesday paid homage to retiring Glen Rock Auxiliary Police Lt. Paul Balch for serving 55 years in that organization. Balch received a citation during a ceremony which included a large contingent of the police department, including Chief Fred Stahman, Captain Jonathan Miller, approximately 15 officers and two officials from the Glen Rock Office of Emergency Management, which uses auxiliary police for certain functions. Others on hand included retired police chief Neil Finn and a representative for Congressman Scott Garrett.
In addition to recognizing Balch’s local volunteerism, borough officials thanked him for dedicating 70 years to serving his country and local law enforcement. Balch joined the U.S. Army Air Corps, a forerunner of the Air Force, on Dec. 8, 1941, one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor triggered America’s entrance into World War II. Upon returning home, the retired lieutenant also served the Massachusetts Auxiliary Police. In 1955, he moved to Glen Rock and started volunteering for the local organization.
“I just hope everyone heard that number,” said Councilman Michael O’Hagan, public safety committee chairman. “Fifty-five years of service [in Glen Rock]. That’s incredible.” The governing body read the citation with each of the seven members reading parts of it, before all joined together to read the final passage. “I’d like to thank you, once again, for your many years of service and for being part of an organization that saved the world,” Mayor John van Keuren said. “Thank you very much for your time.”
Miller, the department’s second senior officer, recalled the privilege of knowing Balch his entire tenure. “I’ve known him for many, many years,” the captain told the audience, generating a few laughs when he said, “It was a pleasure working with you when I was young.” Stahman presented a replica of Balch’s lieutenant’s badge, citing the traditional ceremony for all retiring officers “as one of the biggest honors” they can receive. “So Paul, congratulations to you and display that very proudly,” Stahman said. “Thank you for your service.”
Finn called Balch, joined at the ceremony by his wife, “one of the finest members of the borough’s auxiliary police.” During Balch’s long tenure, Finn recalled, the auxiliary officer usually asked only two simple questions relative to any assignment: ” ‘Where do you need me?’ ‘What do you want done?’ That’s all we needed to hear.” “He would deliberately avoid using the word ‘I,’ whenever it was in reference to who was supposed to be in charge,” Finn said. “It was always the word, ‘we.'”
The modest Balch chose to offer only brief concluding remarks when the mayor invited him to address the audience. “There’s been a lot of great times – both [with] regulars and auxiliary [officers] and also the fire department,” he said. “Again, thank you very much for coming tonight.”
Glen Rock Police Department Welcomes Four New Auxiliary Officers
Left to Right: Sgt. Robert Wojtecki, A.P.O. Robert Boncore, A.P.O. Atalay Akat, Sr. A.P.O. Ryan Zakrzewski, A.P.O. Thomas Hursthouse, A.P.O. Christopher Schmitt, Chief Steven D. Cherry.
The Glen Rock Police Department would like to welcome new auxiliary police officers.
They completed a eight week academy at the Bergen County Law and Public Safety Institute in Mahwah where they were educated in assisting sworn officers in areas of traffic control, to C.P.R. They join six other current members of the auxiliary police.
Seated (L – R) Chief James Winters, Lt. Paul Balch
Standing (L-R) A.P.O. Brad Adams, A.P.O. Jeff Casson, A.P.O. Matt Hoogmoed, A.P.O Robert Kibler, A.P.O.Kevin Walther
Police Auxiliary Chief Honored
Left to Right: Aux. Chief James Winters, Chief Steven D. Cherry, PBA President P.O. Frank Riggio
Glen Rock Auxiliary Police Chief James Winters has retired after 32 years of dedicated service to the Borough. Also a former member of the Glen Rock Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Chief Winters joined the Auxiliary Police in 1975 and worked his way through the ranks to Chief, having succeeded the late John Greve.
Numerous members of the regular police force, and auxiliary officers, joined the Mayor and Borough Council in honoring Chief Winters at the Council’s public meeting on April 25th 2007. Chief Winters was presented a gift and a plaque, from the Borough and Glen Rock PBA Local # 110 honoring his three decades of selfless devotion to the residents of Glen Rock.
The members of the Glen Rock Police Department wish Jim the best in his retirement and his new home in North Carolina .
History of the Glen Rock Auxiliary Police
The Auxiliary Police unit was formed in the 1940’s under the Civil Defense operations as a means to assist the Police Department in times of war. Its function was to provide the authorities with trained personnel that could direct the public to shelters and control traffic. After the war, the roles and responsibilities have changed, however the basic functions of the Auxiliary Police are still the same. The Auxiliary’s provide a valuable service to the regular Police Department by providing trained personnel to help control traffic and crowds at civic events and during natural disasters or storm related emergencies.
The Auxiliary Officers patrol the borough on scheduled nights to maintain a greater police presence in an effort to deter criminal activity and provide an increased sense of security. While on patrol, officer are assigned to numerous tasks such as performing security checks of businesses, as well as all borough properties including the schools and parks, in an effort to curb vandalism. If an Auxiliary Officer discovers a situation that requires immediate attention, they are instructed to immediately notify a sworn officer so that the proper action can be taken.
In addition to regular patrol duties, one of the primary functions of today’s Auxiliary Officer is to relieve the sworn officers from tasks that do not require their presence, but still need a trained officer to be present to assure the public’s safety. The Auxiliary’s are dispatched frequently during storms that down large trees and power lines, or to motor vehicle accidents and house fires that necessitate roads be closed or detour be established. These officers may direct traffic or control an intersection when power has gone out and the traffic lights are not functioning. The also assist the Borough by volunteering hours of their own time providing security or assist at pedestrian crossings for numerous public gatherings, such a fairs, football games and parades.
All Auxiliary Officers are required to complete a 54 hour training course at the Bergen County Law and Public Safety Institute in Mahwah, NJ., before being assigned to any duty. At this time, the Glen Rock Auxiliary Police is comprised of only 7 officers, due to the hiring of 10 of Glen Rocks’ auxiliary officers to the Mesa, Arizona PD, Hawthorne PD, Ridgewood PD, Tenafly PD, as well as 4 to the Glen Rock Police.