Burlington Township Police Department Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary
Burlington Township Police Department has always had a close relationship with the community it serves. In December of 1941, with the advent of Pearl Harbor, local defense councils were being established nationwide and tasked with defending the hometowns. Burlington Township was no exception; concerned community residents volunteered to join the Civil Defense Police. When World War II ended, the Civil Defense Police was no longer required, but the Township elected officials were pleased with the service they rendered. So on January 3, 1946, the Burlington Township Special Police and Police Reserves were established. Mr. Hugh Frost, Chairman of the Township Committee, was appointed as honorary Chief of Police for the Township.
The Reserves and Special Police were volunteers who met monthly at Independent Fire Company. These volunteers, through fundraisers and monthly dues, raised money for uniforms and used their own vehicles to patrol and protect Burlington Township.
On October 28, 1947, a special meeting was called by the Township Committee to discuss policing the township with Constables and Special Officers. The motion was approved and Mr. Earl Fields was appointed Constable for one year. Mr. Frost continued in his capacity as honorary Chief of Police.
Another year passed and on October 19, 1948, John W. Lane was appointed as a Special Officer and began his career with the Township. On January 26, 1949, Township Council approved a budget, which included $1,000, in other expenses for the police. This money was used to supply uniforms to all the Special Officers and Police Reserves.
In February 1949, the Municipal Court of Burlington Township was established. Mr. Frost continued his duties as honorary Chief of Police and dealt with complaints of vehicles speeding on Jacksonville Road, along with other issues during the year.
Early in 1950, it was decided that there was now a need to establish a separate department to handle the duties of policing the Township and responding to citizen complaints. An ordinance was introduced on April 25, 1950, to establish a police department. A special meeting was held on May 8, 1950, and the ordinance was approved. The first order of business was to name John W. Lane as a full-time Police Officer and Joseph J. Adams, Leonard Wilkins, Amos Hope, and William Holmes as Special Police Officers assigned to the police department. The Police Officer’s annual salary was $2,340.00, and the Special Police Officers were paid 75 cents per hour when called to work.
In April of 1951, the first police car, a 1951 Ford Tudor Sedan, was purchased from a bid submitted by Lucas Motor Company for $1,540.26. Until this time, Police Officer Lane used his own vehicle to patrol the Township.
On January 2, 1956, John Lane was sworn in as Burlington Township Police Department’s first full-time Chief of Police. Chief Lane was the architect who designed how the department would protect and serve our community.
Through the 1960’s, as the town started to grow from a small farm town into a residential community, so did the police department. Police headquarters, which was located in the rear of Beverly Road Fire Company, moved to the new municipal building, a renovated schoolhouse at the corner of Route 130 and Neck Road. The police department was housed in the basement and consisted of a Dispatch Desk, Records Room, Patrol Room, Detective Bureau, two holding cells, and the Chief’s Office.
In 1972, Lieutenant Michael J. Gallagher, a life-long resident of Burlington, was promoted to Chief of Police. Chief Gallagher, known for being “a cop’s cop” instilled and reinforced the concept of officers creating and maintaining close ties with community residents. He encouraged his officers to listen to citizen complaints, issues, and needs prior to addressing and rectifying their problems. Today, this is referred to as Community Policing.
In 1975, Burlington Township Police Department consisted of Chief Gallagher, a Lieutenant, three Sergeants, two Detectives, and eleven Police Officers.
Chief Gallagher built the foundation that our department was constructed on.
In 1980, Burlington Township Police Department moved to its current headquarters within the Municipal Complex at 851 Old York Road.
In 1983, Lieutenant Jack D. Shull was promoted to Chief of Police. Chief Shull was a “gentleman amongst gentlemen”. His professional demeanor and leadership style began the framework phase of our department’s transformation into the modern police era. Chief Shull retired as the last official “Chief” of the Burlington Township Police Department.
In 1994, Lloyd E. Nippins III was sworn in as Burlington Township Police Department’s second Director of Public Safety. Under his leadership, Burlington Township Police Department pursued and received national accreditation through CALEA® and was the first department in South Jersey to receive this recognition.
Director Nippins successfully led the department through challenging years when the township was experiencing tremendous residential and commercial growth.
Director Nippins was well respected throughout the law enforcement community. He was rewarded for his popularity when he became the National President of the FBI Law Enforcement Development Association in 2002.
Throughout the years, the police department has stressed the importance of community relations and working with our citizens to resolve their problems; a philosophy we still maintain today. As a fully constructed department, we have established strong community relations and take a proactive approach to fighting crime and resolving community issues. Within our town’s 14.23 square miles, the population has more than doubled since 1994. We now have approximately 23,000 residents, with 47 sworn Police Officers, ten full-time Civilian Support Staff, and twelve Special Officers. Of those 47 sworn Police Officers, one officer holds a law degree; twelve hold Bachelor’s Degrees; and nine hold Associate’s Degrees, while many are still working towards their Associate’s and Bachelor’s.
Today, our department’s Chief Executive Officer is the Director of Public Safety who leads our department and is responsible for a command staff that consists of three lieutenants who are in charge of the department’s three divisions listed below:
A. Technical Services Division oversees the Logistics Bureau, Records Bureau, Evidence and Property Management, Information Technology Bureau, and Grant Management Bureau.
B. Investigative Division oversees the Office of Professional Standards, Detective Bureau, Street Crimes Unit, and Community Resource Bureau.
C. Operations Division oversees the Training Unit, Public Information Officer, and Patrol Bureau.
In addition, our Emergency Management and Accreditation Units report directly to the Director of Public Safety.
From our humble beginnings, Burlington Township Police Department has progressed to a modern era law enforcement agency, which is one of five departments in the State of New Jersey and one of 569 nationwide to be a nationally accredited law enforcement agency. Our fully automated department consists of in-car mobile computers, an interactive records management program, and a computer aided dispatch system. For officer’s safety and to enhance prosecutions, each patrol vehicle is equipped with a mobile vision recording system.
As a department, we look forward to protecting and serving the community of Burlington Township for the next 60 years, while continuing to make advancements in law enforcement technologies and strategies as we have in the past.