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Department History

This area was first settled by European colonists around 1699, it was part of Hopewell Township, and continued under that name until the City of Trenton was established in 1719. From 1719 until 1834, the area was named Trenton Township. On February 22, 1834, the name was changed from Trenton Township to Ewing Township in honor of Charles Ewing, who was posthumously honored for his work as Chief Justice of the New Jersey State Supreme Court from 1824-1832.

In order to better serve the community of Ewing Township, a decision was made to hire a full time police force.  On February 20, 1928 the first Ewing Police Officers were sworn in and reported for duty.  They were Chief Harry Prince, William C. Forst, John Elder, and Charles Whitehead.  The salary of the chief was $1,950.00 per year and the Patrolmen ranged from $1560.00 to $1820 per year.  They were expected to purchase their own guns, uniforms, motorcycles and gasoline.

These men patrolled the large area of the township on motorcycles.  There were no radio communications and only one phone to headquarters.  If a patrolman was needed somewhere he was summoned by the man at headquarters turning on a red light placed atop several poles located throughout the township.  When the patrolman saw the light he would call headquarters and find out where his assignment was and would proceed.  Between times he would be required to clock in at various call boxes. 

The original police station was located at the intersection of Parkside Avenue and Pennington Road; it was hardly able to accommodate the four officers at one time.  A second building was taken over and used for a short time, it was located at the entrance to Trenton State College (renamed The College of New Jersey) where the lake now sits.  The first full time township building was built in 1934 using Works Project Authority (WPA) funds and labor.  It was located on the corner of Pennington Road and Green Lane.  Part of that building was the police station.  This allowed the police to expand its services and add a few more officers.

At the end of World War II, the township entered the beginning of urbanization.  More patrolmen were added at a steady rate to help see to the increased needs of the community.  The needs of the police force were also affected by this growth.  No longer was it sufficient for the patrol officer to be big and tough, now he had to be involved in counseling and a deeper knowledge of the law.

Chief Calvin Steepy, who was sworn in as Chief of Police in 1966, took on the task of building an effective and well-educated police force.  He relied on FBI schooling and methods to instruct his men in the proper application of law enforcement.  Now all patrolmen had a vehicle equipped with radios to respond to the calls for help.  Traffic Services and Detective Bureaus were made independent of the patrol officers to increase the effectiveness.  In 1987 the department formed its Tactical Response Team and Crime Scene Unit. 

By 1988, the police force had grown to include over sixty-five officers.  Again growth and changes in society have impacted on the police force.  On November 11, 1991, a new municipal building was completed at 2 Jake Garzio Drive, our current location.  The official dedication of the building was December 20, 1991.   The need for services has steadily increased and been met by the patrol force and special services have been increased to keep up with the demand.

In 1999, the department entered into a new era with a priority of community oriented service under Chief Coulton.  Changes in laws and procedures caused daily updates on job techniques and requirements.  In Oct. 2004, Ewing established a K-9 Unit which began with two handlers and their canine partners.  Today the department has four (4) canines, each having their own handler.  All of the dogs are patrol/scent trained.  They are either trained for narcotics or explosives detection. 

Chief John Stemler III was promoted to the rank of Chief in 2014. During his tenure as chief, Stemler .... Stemler retired in 2020 after 27 years of dedicated service to Ewing Township.

Today Chief Albert Rhodes leads a department of approxiamtely seventy (70) professional police officers who are trained to handle all the diversified tasks presented to them.