Department History


The Township of Galloway was created by Royal Patent of King George III of England on April 4, 1774.  At that time it was part of Old Gloucester County and comprised all of what is now Hammonton, Mullica Township, Egg Harbor City, Port Republic, Brigantine, Atlantic City, and the northern part of Absecon.

Historians are unsure as to how Galloway got its name.  One opinion is that is was named after an area in Scotland known as Galloway Mull.  The other theory is that it was named after Joseph Galloway, a Loyalist delegate to the Continental Congress.  

Galloway Township has a rich history.  Its first inhabitants were Lenni-Lenape native Americans followed by European settlers.  During the Revolutionary War Galloway was an important shipping area and the site of the Battle of Chestnut Neck (Chestnut Neck is now a part of Port Republic.)  A stagecoach route ran through Galloway from 1773 until the railroad arrived in 1854 (Great Creek Road was once a railroad line to Brigantine).  The legend of the Jersey Devil originated in the Leeds Point section of Galloway.  

The earliest recorded law enforcement in Galloway was in 1897. Township government appointed five police officers to patrol the various sections of the community.  Elijah Adams and Alfred Webb were responsible for Port Republic, while Charles Filling and William Weise covered Pomona.  Joseph Conover was responsible for Oceanville and John Englehardt patrolled Cologne.  These officers were compensated $1 for each arrest and $.05 mileage. 

In 1952, Galloway had a full time police chief and several part time officers. By 1976 Galloway had 18 full time officers and ten part time officers. In 1982 the Department consisted of 26 full time officers and 7 part time officers. Presently the Department consists of 57 full time officers and 5 part time officers, known as Special Law Enforcement Officers - Class 2 (SLEO II Officers.)  

Township records do not use the term "Police Chief" until 1950, when James Conover served in this position.  Up until that time it appears that the term "Constable" was used instead of Chief.  Since 1952, the following persons have served as Chief of the Police Department:

  • Edwin R. Fenton (1952 to 1977)
  • Roy Heintz (1978 to 1988)
  • Andrew Hamilton (1988 to 1994)
  • Charles Bellino (1994 to 1998)
  • Robert Hickman (1998 to 2000)
  • Keith Spencer (2000 to 2008)
  • Peter Romanelli (2008 to 2009)
  • Patrick Moran (2009 to 2015)
  • Donna Higbee (2015 to Present)

Over a century has passed since the Galloway Township Police Department was established.  From its beginnings as a small part time force staffed with concerned citizens it has grown to the professional and highly trained agency it is today.    

**This page is dedicated to the men and women of the Galloway Township Police Department, past, present and future.  This "Thin Blue Line" has and always will carry on the tradition of professional service to our community.**  

 

Compiled by Lieutenant Joseph J. Picardi #38  

Sources:

  • The Story of Galloway Township, 1774-1976
  • Historic Towne of Smithville
  • Government Records of Galloway Township