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History of the New Garden Township Police Department

The New Garden Township Police Department traces its origins to an event almost 60 years ago. Our history is brief when compared to other police departments, but it’s a proud history steeped in a strong sense of community. Our history began when our residents took initiative; it would take another 6 years for the police department to be established. Join us on our brief journey; we included some important dates and facts from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial website for your reading pleasure.

On April 5, 1954 a group of “concerned residents” approached the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors with a petition requesting them to hire a “Local Law Enforcement Officer”. This was the beginning of a lengthy process which eventually led to the formation of the New Garden Township Police Department.

McKinley Hall
On June 2, 1960 the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the hiring of Mr. McKinley Hall as a special police officer. After several months of planning, Chief McKinley Hall was officially hired on September 22, 1960. Today, Chief Hall’s primary duties seem relatively simple; Chief Hall was required to patrol every State and Township road at least once a week and to keep a log of his mileage. Chief Hall was to “supplement” the Pennsylvania State Police. Chief Hall’s salary was a modest $100.00 per month for working a minimum of 18 hours per week or 72 hours a month, which is an estimated hourly rate of $1.38. Chief Hall patrolled the streets of New Garden Township by himself until 1967.

During the late 1960’s, New Garden Township started to hire additional part-time officers. By the time Chief Hall retired in 1972 the police department had grown to include twelve part-time police officers. Those officers included:

1967 – Marvin Noznesky, Gerald W. Davis, Ernest K. Davis, William Davis and Vernon Ruoss. 

1968 – Frank Zagorskie and Prince White 

1969 – Richard Posey and Charles Reagan 

1970 – Martin Feliciano 

1971 – Ralph G. May Jr. 

1972 – Gerald W. Davis, who was a longtime township resident, was appointed to serve as the department’s next Chief of Police. The police department’s foundation had been put down by Chief McKinley Hall, but it would be Chief Jerry Davis who would oversee the next phase of construction for the next three decades. Over the next 30-years, the police department would experience the most dramatic transformation to its identity and purpose. The department evolved from its roots of being a “supplemental based policing” to becoming a “primary” law enforcement agency with a strong emphasis on “community policing.” As the township grew, so did the demands for police services. To meet this growing need, Chief Davis hired several more police officers; they included Fred Guiliano, Steve Guest and Kevin C. McCarthy Sr. which led to the expansion of coverage hours. 

In 1982, Kevin McCarthy became the township’s first fulltime police officer. Kevin was promoted to Lieutenant in 2002 and served as Chief of Police from 2003 until 2004. 

In 1985, two additional fulltime police officers were hired; John M. Gibson II and our first female officer, Ann Marie (Amy) Oakes. 

Throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s the police department continued to grow, adding new officers to meet the service needs of a growing township. From 2002 to 2006, the police department had grown to 12 fulltime police officers. 

In 2004 Larry Dampman was hired as police Chief and served until 2010 when Chief Gerald R. Simpson was appointed and served until the formation of the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department on January 1, 2017. 

On May 27, 2013, a milestone was reached when New Garden Township Police Department started providing 24 hour police protection.  This came about after Chief Simpson proposed to the Board of Supervisors a plan for the police department to begin providing 24-hour services. The “pilot” program was approved, with several stipulations. The Board of Supervisors recognized the cooperation between the Police Association and Police Chief, but they required negotiations to commence to address the prohibitive articles that didn’t allow the use of part-time personnel. The department had to recruit, hire and train part-time personnel needed to provide the coverage. Finally, there could be no detrimental impact to the current budget.

On September 11, 2013, the 24-hour coverage experiment began. In the ensuing months, the Management Team and the Police Association worked together towards a fair and equitable agreement to make our 24-hour services a permanent fixture.

On December 16, 2013, with a majority vote (4 to 1) the Board of Supervisors passed a new 5-year Agreement and permanent 24-hour police operations. Since the inception of 24-hour policing, police officers have responded to life threatening events and altered their outcome and our crime rate has dropped dramatically. Affirming my earlier statements, we are the primary law enforcement agency for the residents of New Garden Township.

The police department looks very different than it did all those decades ago.  In January of 2014, due to greater demands on services, Chief Simpson asked the Newly Appointed Board of Supervisors if they wanted him to research Regional Policing.  Three years later, after doing their due diligence, having the will to succeed, the right partner and an excellent group of police/civilian employees, they officially became the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department on January 1, 2017.    

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