1932 TO 2009
The New Providence Police Department was officially organized by ordinance on January 1, 1932. Harry C. High, a World War I veteran, was appointed Chief of Police. Chief High took his training at the New Jersey State Police Academy in Trenton, in 1932. The 1st police vehicle was a 2-seater Ford, with flaps serving as side windows.
Prior to the adoption of the ordinance creating the police department, part-time marshals assisted in the law enforcement of the borough. The part-time marshals were James Morgan, Wallace Parcells, and Michael DeCorso.
After the appointment of Chief High, the Borough Council appointed six part-time marshals to assist him. They were Harry Pictroski, Elmer Ayers, Edward Hammond, Ernest Reichenbach, Robert Webster and Anthony Beatrice.
At first, Chief High did not have any radio communications in the Borough. However, he had a police telephone in his home, and his wife, Bert High, would answer the phone. If Chief High was needed to respond to a call, Mrs. High would get in her car and drive around town until she found the chief in his patrol car. She never received any salary for this type of work.
In 1947, Carl Ehnis was appointed to the police department as a patrolman. James J. Venezia was appointed patrolman in 1950. Later in 1951, Patrolman Richard Schmidt was appointed to the growing police force. These new police officers received their police training at the newly formed Union County Police Academy.
The population in 1950 was 3,800. The police department had two patrol cars. One was a 1941 Chevrolet. The other was a 1950 Ford. Radio communications equipment was added and tuned in on the Summit Police band. As Mrs. High would receive a telephone call, she would call the Summit Police Department and the call would be given over the radio. Chief High worked from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM and the patrolman would work from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM. Patrolmen Ehnis and Venezia had a police phone in their homes. Every other night, one would answer the phone, and if necessary, go out on the call. The officers had only one day off a week. However, it was never a Saturday or Sunday.
On May 10, 1955, as Chief High was about to leave his home to go on duty, he suffered a heart attack and died. Sergeant Ehnis was appointed as Chief of Police. Chief Ehnis attended the FBI Training Academy in Washington D.C. Sergeant Venezia was appointed Lieutenant and assumed Chief Ehnis’ duties while he was at the FBI Academy.
As time went on, the police department began to grow with the population. In 1960, there were thirteen men. The department consisted of a chief, a captain, a lieutenant, two sergeants and eight patrolmen.
By 1975, the department had grown to twenty-three police officers. Dispatchers were hired to work the Police Desk and dispatch officers to calls. The first dispatcher to be hired in 1975 was Kathleen Finneran.
Chief Ehnis retired in 1974 and Deputy Chief Venezia was appointed Chief of Police in 1975. During Chief Venezia’s tenure, the department enjoyed a reputation for having a very low crime rate. In 1984, in a book titled “Safe Places for the 80’s”, by David and Holly Franke, the Borough of New Providence, was rated one of the six safest communities in New Jersey and one of the safest communities in the United States.
Chief James J. Venezia, Sr.,
Served from 1950 to 1990
During his fifteen years as chief, many changes took place in law enforcement. Police training was expanded from six weeks to twenty weeks and educational levels rose. Chief Venezia brought the department into the technical age with the introduction of computers in 1987. Computer aided dispatch and computer links to the state and national crime information database became an integral component of daily operation.
Chief Venezia retired on January 1, 1990, after completing 40 years of dedicated service to the community. At the time of his retirement, the police department consisted of twenty-four officers, four dispatchers, one secretary and one part-time secretary. Seven patrol vehicles were in operation. His son, Lieutenant James J. Venezia, Jr. was appointed as Chief of Police in 1990.
Under Chief Venezia, Jr.’s leadership, the department continued to promote “a community policing philosophy”. Several initiatives were implemented and include: “bicycle helmet and pedestrian safety program”, “park and walk details”, “D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) training for 5th grade students”, and “bicycle patrol”. These initiatives were designed to strengthen ties with the community, improve service to the residents and enhance the quality of life for everyone.
In 1995, under the direction of Captain William Hoefling, a new “public safety radio system” was placed into service. The police department, fire department, and rescue squad all share a common radio frequency that improves communication throughout the Borough.
In 1997, an Auxiliary Police Unit, composed of community minded volunteers, was reestablished under the guidance of Captain Douglas R. Marvin and deployed to supplement the regular police force.
As of January 1999, the police department employs twenty-one male and two female police officers. The department consists of a chief, two captains, five sergeants, twelve patrolmen, one traffic safety officer, and two detectives. The department also has four full-time dispatchers, ten auxiliary police officers, one special police officer and two secretaries. Eight police vehicles were in operation.
Chief James J. Venezia, Jr. retired on September 1, 2000, after completing 25 years of rewarding service to the community. Captain Douglas R. Marvin was appointed Chief of Police on September 1, and became the borough’s 5th police chief. At the time of Chief Venezia’s retirement, the department employed of 25 sworn officers. The department consisted of the new chief, one captain, two lieutenants, six sergeants, four corporals, two detectives, nine patrolmen and four dispatchers.
Chief Douglas R. Marvin
Served from 1978 to 2005
Douglas R. Marvin was appointed as the fifth chief of police on September 1, 2000 and continued the philosophy of community oriented policing. The programs in place were continued with a “senior citizen liaison” program implemented to enhance communications between the police department and members of the senior community. The receipt of a federal grant also permitted the hiring of an additional police officer to assign an officer as the school resource officer.
Technology continued to play a major role in the department and a federal grant allowed for the purchase of a new computer system which included mobile data terminals in all patrol vehicles for instant access to state, local and federal motor vehicle and crime bases.
The police department was reorganized in 2002 to create a Community Services Bureau which combined the resources of the “traffic safety” and detective bureau”. The merging of these bureaus allows for greater flexibility in the deployment of officers to meet specific needs of the community. In addition, the Office of Professional Standards was established to track training issues and begin work on the NJ State Chief’s of Police Accreditation.
Chief Marvin retired on December 31, 2005 following a 28-year career with the department. At the time of his retirement, the department consisted of a chief, deputy chief, two captains, five sergeants, five community service investigators, twelve patrolmen, four dispatchers and two administrative assistants.
Chief Anthony D. Buccelli, Jr.
Serving Since 1980 until present
On January 4, 2006, Anthony D. Buccelli, Jr. was appointed as the sixth chief of police for the New Providence Police Department following a fine legacy of Chiefs.
In March 2006, the New Jersey State Chiefs of Police Association recognized the New Providence Police Department as an accredited agency. The accreditation process requires a re-evaluation every three years to assure the department is in compliance with the 112 standards set forth by the State Chiefs. In January 2009, our department was recommended for re-accreditation, an accomplishment all of our employees are very proud of.
Under the leadership of Chief Buccelli, our department continues to take great pride in our community policing efforts. The officers in our department participate in many community-oriented programs, such as D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), Senior citizen Liaison Program, School Resource Officer, which assigns a trained police officer to our schools to provide additional security and educational programs, Crime Prevention/Neighborhood Watch program, and many other school based programs.
It is with great pride that our department works to live up to our slogan,
“In Partnership with our Community since 1932”