ORIGINS OF THE NEW MILFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT
The New Milford Police Department was organized on May 1, 1928. Harry L. Jordan was appointed Chief of Police, after serving as Chief Marshal from starting in 1917. At the time, New Milford consisted of 28 miles of roads and about one-third were unimproved or dirt. The Borough was mostly made up of truck farms and gardener-type farms. The population consisted of 2,800 people.
The crime rate was very small and most of the policing was patrolling and traffic duties. In August of 1929, Alfred D. Oakley was appointed a regular Police Officer and after 28 days was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, making a supervisory officer on duty most of the time. Then in February 1930, John D. Riemann was appointed as a regular patrolman, making a three officer department supported by several part time marshals when required.
During this time, the busiest part of the week was on the weekends. Part of this was created by a large amount of men who were hired out of New York City to work on the farms. The said men would celebrate and become over-joyous causing them to create quite a disturbance in the area. They would be detained in the Borough Lockup, consisting of two cells which were located in the old Fire Company No. 1 cellar located where the new Fire Company No.1 Fire House is now built on Center Street between Eagle Avenue and Summit Avenue. They would be released in the early morning to go back to work after being reprimanded and warned of their actions, but if they were picked up again, they would be removed to the Bergen County Jail, located in Hackensack, New Jersey.
In the early history of the Police Department there were two schools, the Junior High School and the Steuben School, which required four intersections to be guarded during the school periods; two were covered by the regular Department and two by Marshals.
In June 1939, James J. Casey was appointed a regular patrolman and in 1940, Milton R. Martin was appointed a full-time Special Officer. After the declaration of World War 2, Milton R. Martin was called into service on May 19, 1942 in the United States Air Corp and Sgt. Alfred D. Oakley joined the United States Navy in June, 1943. John D. Riemann, at the time, was appointed as an Acting Sergeant of NMPD and the Department had to be supplemented with Special Police Officers for the duration. On January 1, 1946, Alfred D. Oakley and Milton R. Martin returned to active duty with the Department.
In June, 1946, Milton R. Martin was appointed as a regular patrolman and on June 10, 1946, Paul Dooley was appointed as a regular Police Officer.
Now as the town expanded and the population became greater, it was found more officers were needed to give adequate police protection and on January 1, 1949, Patrick R. Jodice was appointed as a officer, but in November 1950, he was recalled into the United States Navy and did not return to active police duty until March, 1952.
The same problem occurred after Homer Reighard was appointed a patrol officer in 1950 and in January 1951 he was recalled into the United States Navy and did not return until June, 1952, for active duty in the Police Department.
The first retirement to the Police Department took place in 1961 when Harry L. Jordan retired after 44 years of honest and sincere devotion to police duties, and at this time Alfred D. Oakley was appointed Chief of Police.
In the 1950’s, a big change came over the Borough in a very short while when the population of the borough rose to 20,000 people and road mileage with mostly improved streets extended to 55 miles. Four more schools and two parochial schools were built. The Police Department had to grow.
The New Milford Police left their original headquarters in 1959 and relocated to a brand new station that was part of the borough located at 930 River Road. A Detective Bureau was established and officers were trained in crime scene and fingerprint processing. NMPD was expanded to 24 officers, a full time administrator, and 29 school marshals.