A t the Haddon Twp. Police Department we are very proud of our history. We understand that we owe much of our current success to the officers and officials who have served our department in the past and therefore are honored to share our rich history with you.
The Haddon Township Police Department was formed on June 1 st 1926. The holdup of the Westmont National Bank was the incentive for creation of the police department. Up to that time the township, one of the oldest districts in the Camden County, had never experienced organized police protection. Chief Horace Whitehead was the first appointed officer. In March of 1927, three more officers were added and the department increased to nine men in 1929.
From the inception of the police department, Chief Whitehead's major public safety concern was an area of the Black Horse Pike called "Road House Row." This was a string of taverns that were frequented by known gangsters. On December 30 th 1928, three people were killed and an additional three people wounded during what was later called the Black Horse Pike Massacre. This was determined to be a "gangland hit." A similar incident was prevented on October 3 rd 1931. Sgt. Charles "Reds" Craig apprehended three males in a parked vehicle outside of the Golden Slipper, a local tavern, who were assembling a machine gun and two shotguns. Sgt. Craig ordered the three men out of the vehicle and placed them into custody with the help of Patrolman George Schuck. A fourth male put the vehicle in gear and sped away on the Black Horse Pike. Sgt. Craig immediately pulled his revolver from the holster and fired at the vehicle in an attempt to stop the criminal. His shots were accurate and struck the fleeing vehicle but the gangster was able to escape. Luckily incidents of this nature were rare.
During the year of 1931 the department investigated 885 complaints, made 111 arrests, responded to 117 motor vehicle accidents (four being fatal accidents), answered 46 fire calls and 13 ambulance calls. There were also 25 residential burglaries or attempted burglaries. Summonses were issued to 126 motorists for violations of various kinds.
In 1932, the department maintained two patrol cars and two motorcycles.
The Police Department was first located at the rear of the Tax Office located at Haddon and Reeve Avenues. It was then moved in 1928 to the Westmont Fire House on Center Street. On January 1st 1931 the police department had it's own building located on Highland Avenue to the rear of the Westmont Fire House. It was then relocated to 10 Reeve Avenue where the current Municipal Annex building is now. The department is currently located in the bottom floor of the Municipal building located at 135 Haddon Avenue.
On June 19 th 1934 William Snyder was promoted to the rank of Chief and led the department until 1957. William Gorman was then appointed Chief until his retirement in 1968. Albert Lewko became the fourth Chief until 1978 when Robert H. Saunders was elevated to the top rank. In 1988 Charles Gooley was promoted to Chief and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1995. Joseph Gallagher Jr. was then promoted and is the current Chief of Police.
Through the years the Haddon Township Police Department has grown from a single man department to having up to 30 Officers. Currently there is a Chief, two Lieutenants, four Sergeants, a Detective Sergeant, two Detectives, two Traffic Safety Officers, a Community Policing Officer, and a School Resource Officer. Six Officers are currently serving as DARE Officers and several others serve as Adopt-A-Cops. The department also has members serving on the Zone Once Critical Incident Team and on a Serious/Fatal Crash Team. Two civilian employees are also employed as a Records Clerk and Communications Specialist.
In the beginning the department used motorcycles to patrol and then went to automobiles. There have been many different makes and styles of vehicles used for patrol. The department has just gone to a new design for its patrol vehicles (see photos on this web site). A new Command vehicle is currently being constructed and will be completed in 2006.
A typical patrol car contains numerous pieces of equipment that the Patrol Officers use on a daily basis. Among this equipment are the following: a radar unit, a mobile data terminal (computer), a video camera, and a police radio. The trunks of the patrol cars contain first aid kits, oxygen units, cardiac defibulators, flares, and an assortment of other items.
In the last ten years the police department has become mostly computerized. Reports that were once hand written or typed are now completed on a computer. This allows for easier record keeping and recall of incidents. The department is also using an "inkless" fingerprinting system that automatically sends an arrestee's fingerprints to the FBI's national database.
The Haddon Township Police Department prides itself on being on the "cutting edge" of new technology.