Denville Police Department was officially created on September 2,
1936. Prior to this time, the protection of life and property and
the function of preserving the peace in Denville Township were delegated
to Special Officers appointed by the Township Committee. The most
notable of these Special Officers was Benjamin Kinsey, who served as both
the Fire Chief and Police Chief from 1928 to 1935 (Kinsey Place was named
in honor of him).
1936, the Denville Police Department was established by an Ordinance
passed by the Township Committee. Harry Jenkins was appointed Chief
of Police and Arthur Strathman was appointed as a Patrolman.
the 1930's and 1940's, there was no actual "police
station". Chief Jenkins worked out of his residence on Myers
Avenue. Calls to the Denville Police were then answered by either
Chief Jenkins or his wife Pauline.
the early 1950's, space was found in the back of the first floor of the
Main Street Fire House (presently a Professional Building, 95 East Main
Street) to house the Officers.
the early 1960's, the Department was moved into a converted two bay
ambulance garage at the back of the then Main Street Fire House. For
the first time, the Department had office space, a locker room and holding
cells. Prior to this, any prisoners from Denville were held in the
Dover Police Department's holding cells.
Harry Jenkins retired in 1962, after 26 years of faithful service to the
Township of Denville. Chief Donald J. King was selected to replace
him. Chief King served in this capacity until 1980. During his
tenure, the department grew from 13 sworn Officers to 30 sworn Officers
and 3 civilian employees.
then, the Department was bursting at the seams in its "old
headquarters". After years of planning, a new police headquarters
was built adjoining the present Municipal Complex on Saint Mary's
Place. The building and property had originally been Saint Mary's
School number two.
Anthony P. Strungis, Jr. oversaw the planning, building and transition
into the new facilities during his short tenure. When Chief Strungis
retired in 1983, Chief Howard C. Shaw took charge.
the years that Howard Shaw was Chief, the department came into the
computer age. This now allows all reports and pertinent records to
be stored and accessed by computer.
Chief Shaw retired in 1995 and Chief Steven C. Boepple was appointed to
command the Department. In the year 2000, the number of full-time
department personnel was 31 sworn Officers, 4 dispatchers, 1 parking
enforcement officer, and 3 clerical/secretarial civilian employees.
the Department has seen modernization and change in various areas.
Patrol cars are now equipped with in-car computers. Headquarters has
been upgraded with a new communications center and lobby area. The
Department Rules, Regulations, and Policies have been replaced with a new
system based on national standards. The Community Policing Bureau was
established to better address the changing safety and enforcement concerns
of our citizens and businesses. The Traffic Bureau has been expanded
to meet the increased traffic problems of the Township. A strong
emphasis on training and keeping high ethical and professional standards has
been a major priority.
Chief Boepple retired in 2004 and Lt. Anthony Strungis, III was appointed as the new Chief of Police. Under Chief
Strungis, the department continued to grow and adapt to changing police
needs. In 2005, the Community Policing and Traffic Bureaus were merged
to make better use of both units' resources and the department's first
bicycle unit was created.
Lt. Christopher Wagner was appointed as the new Chief
of Police in 2007 with the retirement of Chief Strungis. Chief Wagner
is looking forward to continuing the long standing traditions of the
department, as well as incorporating new ideas that will help the department
meet and exceed all future expectations.
The members of the Denville Township Police Department are proud of its
65-year history and the 94 men and women (to date) who have worn the
Denville Blue. The Denville Police are determined to continue to
live up to the highest standards of law enforcement professionalism.
Denville Police Department would like to thank the late
Lt. Richard McConnell
(Ret.), who contributed this article.
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