In April of 1953, seven additional special police officers were hired by the township to assist Chief Showell and the NJSP. Each officer would receive $1.25 hr while working for the township as a special police officer. Sadly, during the first week of August 1962, Chief Showell drowned in a fishing accident in the Barnegat Bay. Two weeks later, with the continued growth in the eastern portion of the town, the municipality needed to increase the size of the force and three active police specials were appointed as full-time police officers, Acting Chief Walter McCurdy, Ronald Schoonover and Borden Applegate, Jr.
Moving Forward - From the mid-1960’s to the late 1970’s, the Jackson Township Police Department had seen significant growth within the ranks. By the fall of 1964, the department had 10 full-time police officers and had promoted Louis DeMair, Bruce Cottrell and Borden Applegate to the rank of Sergeant. In 1966, the police department moved out of the municipal building and into a home owned by the township across from the municipal building on Lakewood-New Egypt Road (West Veterans Hwy). By 1968, the department had 20 full-time police officers including several detectives. In 1970, the police department moved to its third location next to the municipal building on the corner of Lakewood-New Egypt Road and Coventry Road (Don Connor Blvd). The 1970’s brought forth continued growth through the rank and file of the police department with many officers transferring from other police agencies throughout the state including Jersey City, Irvington, Orange, Garwood and even local departments such as Point Pleasant and Marlboro. By the end of the decade, the police department had more than doubled in size and had over 50 full time police officers.
Due to continued growth over the past 20 years within the township and the police department, the two finally caught up to each other and not many police officers were hired during the early 1980’s. The department did develop the first Special Response Team and K-9 unit in Ocean County. Then in the mid-late 1980’s some of the first officers started to retire and make way for the next generation of police officers to join the ranks. This included the retirement of Chief Walter McCurdy in 1986. From his retirement, the department has been lead by a Public Safety Director in lieu of a Chief of Police. Several of the officers that were hired during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s included local residents and several officers’ who were laid off from police departments throughout the state including Princeton, Elizabeth, Manasquan and the NJSP Alcohol Beverage Control. At this time, the first two female officers were hired by the Jackson Police Department, Sandra Franco and Lisa Matusz, both from NJSP ABC. Many of the officers hired during this period continued to contribute to the community and are currently in leadership positions within the organization today.
The Next Generation – The mid to late 1990’s brought forth several changes within the Jackson Township Police Department. In addition to the hiring of many new police officers’, the volume of calls began to dramatically increase due the second growth spurt both residentially and commercially that the town was facing. Once again the police department brought on many officers from other police agencies including New Jersey Transit Police, Asbury Park, Monroe Twp., Monmouth County Sheriff’s Dept., along with Seaside Heights and Seaside Park Police Departments. The department also moved out of it’s “Old Building” on West Veterans Hwy and Don Connor Blvd and into it’s new location at 102 Jackson Drive, with the address reflecting the badge number of Captain Borden Applegate, one of the town’s first full-time police officers. By the year 2000, the department had 72 full-time police officers.
In March of 2001, the department suffered a tragedy and had its first line of duty death. P.O. Robert Ventura #213 lost his life in a motor vehicle accident on West Veterans Hwy while on patrol. Please visit the Memorial Page for further details on P.O. Ventura #213 and the events surrounding his tragic death.
During the first decade of the 21st century, the police department grew and expanded through a steady stream of hiring to a high of 92 officers in 2008. This was necessary due to the rapid growth of the township and increased vehicular traffic and calls for service. We also saw a return of the title of Chief of Police after a 22 year absence when the Director of Public Safety, Matthew Kunz was appointed to Chief in April 2008.
Over the past 10 years, the department has seen several changes in personnel and the number of officers employed with the agency. As of January 2017, the department is currently comprised of 88 full-time police officers including the Chief of Police, 2 Captains, 4 Lieutenants, 10 Sergeants, 6 Detectives and 65 police officers fulfilling a variety of roles within the police department. These officers are assisted by a civilian support staff that includes 11 full time telecommunicators, 6 part-time telecommunicators, 9 administrative and records secretaries, and 3 Class II police specials that perform a variety of functions from traffic enforcement to court security. All are dedicated and proud to serve alongside you in developing and maintaining a safe community in Jackson Township.