Prior to the establishment of the Manchester Police Department in 1965, the department operated with only part time special police officers patrolling the township. These part time special officers worked long hours, predominantly during the night, and without much compensation. They were not provided with mandatory training, and relied on common sense and experience gained while on patrol. Raymond Byrnes headed the small group of part time officers and oversaw their operations from an improvised headquarters, which he had established at his residence.
The township, with its rapid growth and development, realized the need for a full time police force. In 1960 Harold R. Payne, who was previously employed as a part time special police officer, was appointed as the police department’s first full time police officer. Officer Payne’s duties included patrolling the township during the day and remaining on call during the night. Part time special police officers maintained their patrol function as they did before. In January 1965, the township passed an ordinance to create a full time police department. Sergeant Payne was later appointed as the township’s first Chief of Police.
John LeVance, previously employed as a part time special police officer, was appointed as a full time police officer at the rank of sergeant. Edward Lawler, also previously employed as a part time special police officer, was appointed as a full time police officer as well. This three-man police department dissolved the special police officer position, and grew to a seven man department by 1966. An alternate police headquarters was established at a small building in the Whiting section of the township, and was shared with the townships’ municipal court. It was later relocated to the current location of the Manchester Township Municipal Building when it opened in 1967.
After its incorporation, the Manchester Police Department utilized supplemental patrols from the New Jersey State Police on the main roadways in the township. Radio and telephone communications were handled by the violations clerk during the day. The seven man department patrolled the nearly 83 square mile town 24 hours a day, rotating on three shifts. Officers were assigned to work nine consecutive days with rotating shifts and had three consecutive days off in between. With the incorporation of a full time police force, many changes were forthcoming under Chief Payne’s leadership.
On April 16, 1970, the Manchester Township police patch was adopted to symbolize what each officer serving the department should represent. The handshake represents the brotherhood of all mankind being treated equally; the scale represents the administration of justice and fairness to all; and the ray of light represents the strength of mind to face danger with courage.
Since Chief Payne’s retirement in September of 1995, the following Manchester Township Police Officers have served as Police Chiefs for the department: Chief Thomas S. McCallum, Chief Wayne B. MacGregor, Chief William C. Brase and Chief Brian J. Klimakowski. Most recently, Chief Lisa Parker took her oath on March 2, 2015.
Since the inception of the Manchester Police Department, 157 sworn police officers have served the community, including Officer Robert J. Tobias who was tragically struck and killed by a passing motorist while conducting a motor vehicle stop on May 17, 1975. Officer Tobias was 23 years of age at the time of his death, and had dedicated a year of service to the department and community.
Currently the Manchester Police Department has 72 sworn officers and 19 civilians working full time in the department. The department operates 24 hours a day 365 days a year, with a Patrol Bureau, Investigations Bureau and a Support Services Bureau. It has a full time communications center that is manned 24 hours a day, and a full time animal control officer. The Manchester Police Department takes great pride in serving the citizens of Manchester Township and looks forward to every opportunity to interact in a friendly and professional manner with the community that we proudly serve.