Glen Ridge

Department History

On February 13, 1895 the Borough of Glen Ridge was incorporated as a community, succeeding from Bloomfield, New Jersey. The Glen Ridge section of Bloomfield was also known as "the Hill." The initiation of secession was predicated upon an unfair amount of taxes not being returned to the Hill section. Residents were looking for more street lamps and paved roads as well as other improvements. After many attempts to bring these improvements forward, with no progress being made, it was resolved to break away from Bloomfield. The Glen Ridge Police Department was created at the same time.

Police K-9

As pictured on this web site, the Glen Ridge Police Department is one of the first police departments to utilize police canine - German shepherd dogs during their foot patrols. In 1910, two dogs from Belgium were purchased to aid the night patrols.

Motor Unit

In 2008 the Glen Ridge Police Department reinstated the Motor Unit. Officers assigned to this unit have successfully completed and passed the Maryland State Police Motor Officers Training Course.

Mounted Bicycle Unit

The Bicycle Unit was reinstituted May 1999. Every Police Officer assigned to this detail is required to successfully complete a three-day Bicycle Patrol Riding Course.

A Short History of the Police Patch - Glen Ridge, New Jersey - United States of America

The Borough of Glen Ridge is located in northern New Jersey approximately 15 miles west of New York City, an urban/suburban community of 7,200 residents, daytime work population of approximately 10,000 in a 1.3 square mile area, incorporated in 1895. The department consists of 26 full-time sworn officers and five full-time Community Service Officers. The Glen Ridge Police Department is a full service agency committed to excellence in policing. Our patch displays a gas lamp, these lamps are located throughout the Borough used to illuminate the streets by low-pressure natural gas. We are one of three towns within the State of New Jersey that continues to utilize the natural gas lamps since their inception in 1895.

By 1914, there were about 300 gas lamps in town, presently there are almost 700. (Note: It is reported that around 1970 during an energy crisis, the Borough had to attain a waiver to keep the gas lamps. The cost to convert to electric was far too expensive.)

The first patch change from the diamond style took place in the late 1960's. Most departments in the area were integrating a unique highlight that would be associated to the town. The design change for Glen Ridge was first made by former Chief of Police Thomas P. Dugan, it depicts the gas lamp against a maroon background. The maroon color background is the High Schools official color, the Borough had no official color at the time.

In 1983, the police department became the Glen Ridge Department of Public Safety a transition to better manage the Fire/Ambulance and Police Departments. The idea came from a former Councilperson who saw the operation in Florida. The Public Safety Department concept was designed to completely cross train Fire/Ambulance and Police to allow for a Public Safety Officer to function in any of the disciplines. However, the Public Safety concept did not work in the Northeast.

The Borough had at the time a paid fire department and police department, so the patch incorporated the appropriate "Police Division" on the top rocker of the patch with a green tree behind the gas lamp, it represents the tree-lined streets throughout the town. In 1986 the "division" rocker was enlarged, the first design was actually flawed. In 1989, as the result of fiscal matters, the Borough dissolved the fire department (6 firefighters), we currently contract-out for fire services with a neighboring town, and it has been a very successful and beneficial relationship. Sometime around this period Green became the Borough color. The need for the "division rocker" no longer existed.

Therefore, in 1999 the background was changed to black, and the "division rocker" removed. The background color was changed because it would blend better with the color of our dark uniform shirts, and we have been that way since.

Written by Chief John R. Magnier, M.Ed.
Contributions by Chief Thomas P. Dugan (Ret.)

Unmarked Radar Car
During the mid 1960's the Glen Ridge Police Department started using a mobile radar unit for traffic enforcement. Pictured here is the first radar unit attached to an unmarked police car. Inside the car is Police Office Ken Swain, from left to right is Lieutenant Arthur Carter, Chief Robichaud, and Sergeant Ray Wolski. 1964 Dodge Standard-Size (vs. the Big Dodge 880)  
Station Wagon
Police Officer Thomas P. Dugan and Thomas Guthrie, spring 1967, standing next to the first "marked" car in Glen Ridge Police history. The vehicle was purchased from Boyle Motors in Bloomfield, New Jersey. 1967 Dodge Standard-Size  
It has been stated that the Glen Ridge Police Department was one of the first departments in the nation to use police dogs. A German Shepard and an Australian Shepard, trained and imported from Belgium were sent to Glen Ridge and used to patrol neighborhoods with the walking officers. The dogs only understood commands stated in German. In this picture, an artist completes a painting used for shooting practice and poses with the two dogs.  
Motor Officer Christopher Grogan June 2006  
Cycle Patrol
Cycle Patrol  
GRPD E-bike
E-bike dedicated to Officer Charles Roberts, 2022  
GRPD Police Car
Glen Ridge Chiefs of Police
1905 - 1910 John A. Brown

1910 - 1926 Patrick Higgins (father)

1927 - 1953 William Higgins (son)

1953 - 1957 Howard L. Gardner

1957 - 1970 Henry G. Lieberknecht

1970 - 1982 Arthur A. Robichaud - FBI National Academy 73rd

1982 - 1985 Kenneth R. Swain - FBI National Academy 117th
Appointed by the Mayor and Borough Council as the Director of Public Safety

1986 -1994 Thomas P. Dugan
Appointed by the Mayor and Borough Council as the Director of Public Safety.

1994 - 2001 Robert J. Wohlgemuth
Appointed by the Mayor and Borough Council as the Director of Public Safety.

2001 - 2010 John R. Magnier M.Ed. - FBI National Academy 215th/2001 LEEDA
Appointed by the Mayor and Borough Council as the Director of Public Safety.

2011 - 2021 Sheila E. Byron-Lagattuta - 2005 LEDA
Appointed by the Mayor and Borough Council as the Director of Public Safety.

2021-Present Chief Sean Quinn, M.S.F.S.