Richard Stockton Police Department Personnel, 1982
The Richard Stockton Police Department was organized in 1971 under the leadership of Director James A. Williams. At that time, the department consisted of eleven police officers; three Sergeants and eight patrolman. The college was moving from the Mayflower Hotel in Atlantic City to the new campus setting in Galloway Township.
When the college was moved to the current campus, only A-Wing through D-Wings were completed. The Library was in most of D-Wing. Food services and the Pub were located in lower C-Wing. Only half of the Housing I Apartments were completed. College Drive did not exist as we know it today. The majority of the campus administrative offices were located in houses and buildings around the campus that were left behind by local residents when the state acquired the campus. The Admissions Office was located in a home at the corner of Pomona Road and Duerer Street. The Business Offices were located in a home at Jim Leeds and College Drive. The first police department facility was also located at this intersection and
shared space with the Purchasing Department.
First patrol unit, 1977 Dodge Royal Monaco
What the police department faced in the beginning years was acceptance and recognition by everyone; the college, the local citizens, and above all, our peers in the county and State. Clearly, police officers on campus were new to the state. Mostly, the state colleges did not have police departments but used a security staff for patrolling and relied on local police for their law enforcement needs. Stockton, at this time, was a new and in some views, radically different, State college campus. Students were afforded many options and we were considered a non-traditional institution of higher education in our State. Yet, the first President, Dr. Richard Bjork, supported the formation of a police department over the traditional security department. It was anticipated that the college was destined for rapid growth and the local police did not have the resources needed to serve their citizens and the college community as well.
Those first officers commissioned by the college as police officers faced many challenges. A major issue was the statute that authorized and empowered campus police agencies. The officers were considered police officers with full powers only while on duty and in the actual performance of those duties. Once off duty, they were not considered police officers under the statutes. At the onset, this and a host of other issues caused concern for the department. Among these concerns, was the type of uniforms that the officers would wear. Chief Williams wanted the officers to be in what was considered traditional police uniforms, but many in the college community were against this. They wanted the officers to present a different style and their efforts prevailed. Officers were uniformed with a little of both, but very little of what could be considered a traditional police uniform. The original uniform consisted of the Stetson hat, a light blue uniform shirt, navy blue trousers with no stripe, and a gray blazer with the police patch on the breast pocket. The officer’s badge, name plate, duty belt and all the police equipment was concealed under the blazer. Even the baton was concealed under the blazer so as not to be seen. The issued duty weapon was also non-traditional in its design. It was a standard .38 caliber revolver, but capable of only 5 rounds, with a short, three inch barrel. In addition to this, there were no “marked” police vehicles. Radio communications were also a major concern. The police shared a radio system with the college’s Physical Plant Office. This caused many problems for the officers. With the lack of police uniforms, marked patrol cars, and no secured radio system, the average person didn’t really know who or what the officers were-or did for that matter. Most asked the question that the officer’s dreaded to hear, “Are you guys real cops?” Despite these challenges, the officers let their actions on duty answer this question, and met these challenges as the professionals they were.
Several of the officers that made up the department in the beginning had come from other police agencies to Richard Stockton College. They came for varied reasons. Some came to continue their education, others for the new challenge, some for the salary and benefits. At this time, the starting salary and benefits for a “Campus Patrolman” was more than many of the local municipalities in the area, including Galloway Township.
In 1972, a new head of the department took command. Mr. Phillip Carroll became the second Director or Chief at Stockton. He continued to improve the department. The department grew in numbers of officers and better equipment was obtained, including vehicles. We now had three vehicles, yet they were still not “marked”. But the officers continued to professionally serve the college. The community, both on and off campus, slowly began to recognize the services the campus police provided.
In 1975 the third Chief took over. Mr. William Long had served with the New Jersey State Police prior to coming to Stockton. To date, Chief Long is the longest serving Chief in the department’s short history, serving eleven years. Under the direction of Chief Long, there were major changes in personnel and equipment. The department moved from the house at the intersection of Jim Leeds Road and College Drive to a new building that would serve both the police and Physical Plant. Uniforms, duty weapons, and vehicles were all upgraded and became as mainstream as any other police agency. The training of officers in schools and courses beyond the police academy took priority. Chief Long became the first Chief of Police for the police department as his predecessors held the title of Director of Safety and Security. Thanks to Chief Long’s involvement and leadership in the Atlantic County and State Chiefs’ of Police Associations, the reputation of the department was greatly improved. It was also during Chief Long's tenure that the statutes governing and authorizing police on college campuses, Title 18, was amended to give Campus Police Officers the same authority as other State, county and municipal police officers. Officers now held the title of Police Officer, not Campus Patrolman.
In 1986, Chief Long retired. A new Chief was hired, but it was not what the department expected. The new Chief came from the University of Virginia. Upon taking command of the department, Director Michael Meredith stayed only a few weeks and then submitted his resignation.
In 1987, Chief James Kennedy was selected to head the police department. Chief Kennedy had served in the Philadelphia Police Department, attaining the rank of Lieutenant and later as Director of Public Safety at Widener University. Chief Kennedy was the first Chief to bring both local and campus law enforcement experience to Stockton. He held a Master’s Degree and was the first Chief to become an adjunct professor, teaching within the Criminal Justice Program. Chief Kennedy continued to make improvements within the department. In 1996, Chief Kennedy retired. At this time, the department had moved its office facilities to a new building. It now shared office space with the newly created maintenance department for Housing and Residential Life.
Patrol Vehicle, 1983 Plymouth Fury
In the summer of 1996, the department received its 6th Chief of Police. Chief Thomas Kinzer took command. Like Chief Long, Chief Kinzer had a long and distinguished career in the New Jersey State Police, retiring at the rank of Major. Chief Kinzer continued to improve upon the department. Training remained a priority within the department. While a highly trained officer is an asset it also became a liability. Officers were being lured away by other local law enforcement agencies because of their training and professionalism. The department had long since put to rest all the doubts regarding its professional standing within the law enforcement community. This combined with the rapid growth of the southern New Jersey area meant that mostly all of the local and county law enforcement agencies had salaries and benefits that were higher than what the college offered. Retention of officers was now a major issue facing the department. Thanks to leadership and forsight of Chiefs Long, Kennedy, and Kinzer, we are now a full service, 24 hour police department. The college has expanded dramatically over the years and the police department has met the challenge. Today we have an authorized strength of 22 police officers, a certified 911 communications center staffed by highly trained operators, marked and unmarked patrol vehicles, bicycle patrols, foot patrols, and provide many other services for our college community.
To date, the Stockton College Police Department has had seven Directors and/or Chiefs of Police. In 2004, upon taking the Oath of Office, Officer Michael Price became the 100th police officer commissioned to serve the Richard Stockton College community.