Kearny Police Dept.


Our Mission

At the Kearny Police Department, we are committed to serving our community with integrity, fairness, and dedication. Our mission is to protect Kearny from harm, uphold the rights of our citizens, and work collaboratively to maintain a safe and welcoming environment for all.


Officer Of The Year

Jose Perez Fonseca

Celebrating exceptional dedication and service, our Officer of the Year award recognizes the outstanding achievements of an individual who exemplifies the highest standards of law enforcement.

This honors not just professional excellence, but also the courage, compassion, and commitment to making a difference in our community.

Name Year(s)
George King 1988
Anthony Gouveia 1989, 2003
John Plaugic 1990
Sidney Lowry 1991
Richard Poplaski 1992
Scott Macfie 1993
John Dowie 1994
Paul Dispoto 1995
Kevin McConnell 1996
John Taylor 1997
James Mackintosh 1998
Thomas Silkie 1999
Stephen Podolski 2000
Robert Turkowski 2001, 2008
Timothy Wagner 2002
Timothy Castle 2004
Charlie Smith 2005
Steven Hroncich 2006
Francisco Norat 2007
Michael Gonzalez 2009, 2013
Neil Nelson 2010
Raymond Lopez 2011
John Fabula 2012, 2018
Paul Bershefski 2014
Michael Andrews 2015
Richard Poplaski Jr 2016
David Bush 2017
Jonathan Dowie 2019
Anthony Oliveira 2020
Sean Kelly 2021
Ryan Stickno 2022
Founded in 1889 by town ordinances, the Kearny Police Department began with Chief William Tolen, two sergeants, and eight patrolmen.
Patrolmen worked three shifts, covering 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The department’s structure evolved over the years, with Walter Oliver becoming chief in 1920, overseeing a force of approximately 40 officers. Notably, Philip T. Bell served as chief from 1924 to 1939, concurrently serving as president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
John Helmsley succeeded Bell, leading the department until 1953. During World War II, a Civilian Reserve Corps bolstered the force, ensuring protection for the industrial section known as South Kearny. Chiefs Carl Berg, James Hanna, and Fred Wandras led the department through the 1950s and 1960s. Wandras oversaw the growth of the force to 100 officers during the turbulent 1960s.
Chief Paul Mulligan took over in the late 1960s, followed by Chief Chester Potter until 1980. After a period of restructuring, John Dowie assumed command in 1998, overseeing a period of decreased crime rates until his retirement in 2017. 

Officer Fabian C. Eklof

  • End of Watch: Monday, December 29, 1930.
  • Killed in an automobile accident while on duty.

Officer William Flack

  • End of Watch: Thursday, November 1, 1928.
  • Killed in a motorcycle accident while providing an escort for New York’s Governor Alfred Smith during his presidential campaign in New Jersey.

Start Your Journey in Law Enforcement

Pursuing a career as a police officer provides a unique opportunity to serve the community, uphold justice, and be a part of a respected and dedicated team.

Scroll to Top