The Barnegat Police Department first opened its doors at 8:00am on Tuesday, July 3rd, 1973. The agency started with just three officers: Chief William Brazzel, Patrolman Kenneth Vogel, and Patrolman Harold Powell.
The early Barnegat PD patrolled the Township from 8am to midnight. The New Jersey State Police continued to be responsible for public safety during the overnight hours.
The first police department headquarters was located on West Bay Avenue near Route 9 on the second floor of what was then the municipal building. That building was originally constructed in 1910 as Barnegat’s first post office.
More officers would be added during the 1970s as the town’s population steadily grew. Some of those early officers would have a large impact on the future of the agency. Ed Smith and Joe Manger, both veterans of the Woodbridge Police Department would leave Woodbridge PD for jobs in Barnegat. Both would become Chief; Chief Smith in 1979, and Chief Manger upon Smith’s retirement in 2004.
On January 1, 1977, Barnegat officially changed its name from Union Township to Barnegat Township. Accordingly, the agency was officially changed from the Union Township Police Department to the Barnegat Township Police Department.
Also in 1977, Barnegat PD became just the second police agency in New Jersey to make the change to semi-automatic firearms, arming its officers with the Smith and Wesson Model 39. While Dover Township PD (Toms River) was the first in New Jersey to make the change to semi-auto pistols (6 months before Barnegat PD), Barnegat PD was the first agency in New Jersey to use 9mm semi-automatic pistols.
By 1977, the town’s population had grown to 8,000 and the department had grown to eight patrolmen, two lieutenants, a captain, and a detective.
In 1979, Edward Smith was appointed Chief of Police.
In 1981, the department moved to its current location at 900 West Bay Avenue. Other than a small addition, the building that housed the agency’s 14 officers in 1981 is the same one that houses the 51 officers who work for the department today.
In 1991, Barnegat PD began using its first Computer Aided Dispatch and Records Management System provided by Computer Information Systems, a Chicago-based company.
In June of 2000, Captain Kenneth Vogel, one of the original three officers, became the first officer to retire from the Barnegat Police Department after 25 or more years of service.
In 2002, Sarah Girgenti was hired as the department’s first female officer. The next two years saw the addition of three more female officers giving the department the highest percentage of female officers in Ocean County.
In 2004, Barnegat PD transitioned fully from shotguns to patrol rifles (Colt M4) becoming what is believed to be the first agency in New Jersey to deploy patrol rifles as the only agency long guns.
In 2004, Barnegat PD installed mobile data computers in all of its marked patrol cars, vastly increasing officer capabilities and efficiencies while in the field.
In 2005, Joseph Manger was appointed Chief of Police. Manger was a veteran of Woodbridge PD before joining the Barnegat force in 1975. Manger started the Detective Bureau within the Barnegat Police Department as the first detective and created many of the processes and procedures still in place today. With his appointment as Chief, Manger represented the first change in leadership for the department in over two decades. Manger engineered the first major restructuring of the department’s organizational structure since its inception and was the driving force behind the professionalization of the police department through the pursuit of accreditation.
In March of 2005, Barnegat PD issued QuikClot Hemostatic Agent to its officers, becoming one of the first agencies in the state to provide the unique treatment for traumatic bleeding control.
In December of 2006, Arthur P. Drexler was appointed Chief of Police.
In 2007, Barnegat PD installed mobile video recorders (MVRs) in all of its marked patrol cars, becoming one of the first agencies in Ocean County to fully adopt mobile cameras.
In 2008, the Barnegatpolice.com website was launched.
In November of 2008, Barnegat PD was awarded state accreditation by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. The accreditation award was the culmination of Chief Manger’s vision of professionalism and accountability and the pursuit of accreditation that he began in 2005.
On February 24, 2011, Barnegat PD launched its Facebook Page.
In November of 2011, Barnegat PD was awarded international accreditation from CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies), becoming the first agency in the history of Ocean County to be CALEA accredited (and one of only seven CALEA accredited municipal police agencies in the State of New Jersey).
Today, Barnegat PD remains the only CALEA accredited agency in Ocean County, having successfully earned re-accreditation in 2014 and 2017.
On February 1, 2012 Barnegat Ptl. Lauren Keilitz and Ptl. Michael Diblasi were featured on a live morning segment of Fox and Friends in New York City for the rescue of a man trapped in a burning vehicle. Ptl. Keilitz was able to get the car open and pulled the unresponsive man free of the vehicle as it was engulfed in flames. This marked the first time that a Barnegat Police officer appeared in a live, national news studio broadcast.
On February 9, 2016, Barnegat Township entered into an agreement with the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department to provide dispatch services for the agency.
On February 1, 2017, Richard J. Dugan became Chief of Police in his 30th year of service.
In July of 2017, Barnegat PD saw the first change in uniform since 1977, moving from the concealable vest and French blue button-down shirts, to the Cowell external vest carrier with French blue Blauer Armorskin shirts. This move allowed for the transfer of equipment and weight off of the duty belt to the load-bearing vest– a move that studies showed reduced injury to officers and on the job injury claims.
The move further allowed Barnegat PD to become the first agency in New Jersey to mandate the wearing of rifle-resistant body armor by all uniformed officers. The move further allowed the officers to carry their newly issued CAT-7 tourniquets.
On February 1, 2018, Keith A. Germain became the agency’s 6th Chief of Police.
In November of 2018, Barnegat PD adopted a new patch and logo featuring the Half Moon, the ship on which Henry Hudson was sailing near Barnegat Inlet when the Dutch initially settled and named our area Barndegat.
In December of 2018, Barnegat PD began mandatory use of body worn cameras for all uniformed officers assigned to patrol duties.
On March 5, 2019, MaryAnn Cirulli was promoted to sergeant, becoming the first female sergeant in the history of the agency.
In June of 2019, Barnegat PD began deploying the Axon Taser X2 as a form of enhanced mechanical force, increasing the available force options for officers on dangerous calls for service.
Barnegat PD Duty Pistol History
1973: Smith and Wesson Model 66; .357 caliber revolver
1977: Smith and Wesson Model 39; 9mm semi-automatic pistol
1994: Glock 19; 9mm semi-automatic pistol
2000: Glock 22; .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol
2014: Glock 21; .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol