New Police Chief Takes Charge In Fair Haven

first_imgBy John BurtonFAIR HAVEN – Joseph McGovern is ready for the job.Probably like every police officer, McGovern explained, “You always want to be chief before you retire.” And that dream came true this week for the veteran officer. On Monday evening he was sworn in to take command of the borough department, where he has worked for 28 years.He has been functioning as the acting chief for the last seven months, since his predecessor, Darryl G. Breckenridge, retired after 30 years in the department, the last ten as chief. He has also continued to serve as the borough Office of Emergency Management (OEM) coordinator, which he has done for about the last decade.He takes over a department staffed by 13 full-time officers and two part-time Class II and two part-time Class I officers. He continues to look forward to the challenges the position holds, saying, “I’ve got the easiest job, because of past leadership (in the department).” He has worked with this group over the course of nearly three decades on the job. Along with the leadership, “I have good people here,” among the largely experienced department, he continued. “And I know when I’m not here, they’re still doing the right thing.”McGovern started with the department as a young dispatcher and over the years worked his way up through the ranks to captain, having also worked as a detective. During that time, “I’ve held every every position here,” he said.Along with on-the-job training, McGovern has participated in ongoing supplemental training over the years. He is among the 2 percent of local department officers who have attended the FBI education program at Quantico, Virginia. That, and his responsibility overseeing the OEM, is good training for this position, he believes.McGovern and his wife Theresa have lived in the community for 26 years, raising two sons (who, incidentally, have expressed interest in pursuing law enforcement careers.) The eldest, Joe Jr., will be heading for the U.S. Marines following his graduation from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School this spring.The role of chief—and police officer, for that matter—“is really about solving problems,” usually on a daily basis, he said. And that’s all right. “It really is about helping people,” he explained.For a small town with a large number of children, “It really is about community policing,” reaching out to sectors of the community, like the schools where officers regularly appear conducting bicycle safety and anti-drug use programs. “I don’t think you’ll find a better department that has relationships with the schools,” he maintained.Knowing everyone, while generally beneficial, can make the job somewhat difficult at times. A case in point occurred recently with the arrest of a local volunteer fireman, Nicholas Joyce, 19, who was charged with arson. Without speaking directly about this case, McGovern acknowledged it can be tough to take into custody someone he’s known for some time. But, he explained, he relies on the advice that former chief Breckenridge offered, which has become something of a motto for McGovern: “Just do the right thing,” McGovern remembered. “Do it for the right reasons.”last_img

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