Chief James N. Batelli February 1, 2001 - February 28, 2019
Chief James N. Batelli was sworn in by Honorable Judge Anthony Gianni as Mahwah’s 7th Police Chief on February 1st, 2002. Chief Batelli joined the police force in June 1978, and was promoted to Sergeant in 1986. He was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant in 1989 and Patrol Captain in 1992.
Following his appointment to Chief, Chief Batelli held a Departmental meeting in which he laid out the future goals and objectives of the Department. The Chief is looking forward to improving training and technology within the Department, as well as reaching out to the community and addressing the quality of life issues in one of the fastest growing communities in the state. Below is a look back at the previous Chief’s and the issues that each one faced.
Chief Samuel Alderisio July 1, 1985 – January 31, 2001
Under Chief Alderisio, the technology had changed considerably, and in 1990 a complete new radio system was implemented replacing all the car and portable radios as well as redesigning the radio room. An in-house computer system was implemented to track information, calls for service, and records. MDT (Mobile Data Terminal) which allows officers to access motor vehicle and national crime records in a matter of seconds In 1995 the Department became a regional 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for four jurisdictions, (Saddle River, Upper Saddle River, Ho-Ho Kus, and Allendale). Chief Alderisio was promoted from Sergeant to Chief, bringing a dramatic change to the direction of the Department.
Chief William Russo June 30, 1970 – June 30, 1985
Chief Russo introduced technological advancements to the department and increased the strength of the Department as the Township continued to grow with the opening of Ramapo College and an influx in business and residential developments.
In 1973, a new modern police station containing the latest technology in law enforcement was built on Franklin Turnpike at a cost of over $350,000. The building was not without controversy with many residents opposed to what seemed like a costly expenditure then. The facility has withstood the test of time, and 34 years later it remains one of the premier Township buildings. Throughout the years there have been a number of improvements including a physical fitness room, and the reconditioning of the indoor firing range to meet State Health Department standards.
Chief Edward Wickham June 1, 1960 – May 31, 1970
Under Chief Wickham the Police Department continued to grow at its new location, on the top floor of the old Municipal Building on Franklin Turnpike. Chief Wickham made news when Ford Motor Company, then the world’s largest auto assembly went on strike. Chief Wickham met with labor and management to outline his plans to avert any problems. All days off were canceled and officers manned the picket line on a 24 hour basis.
Chief Charles E. Smith January 1, 1929 – May 31, 1960
Chief Smith starting salary was $2200.00. Under Chief Smith’s rein, Mahwah’s first car for the Police Department was purchased in January 1933. Prior to that Mahwah was patrolled by motorcycle. The car, a Chevy roadster was purchased for $605 from Frank Rothhaupt’s Mahwah Garage. In 1934 a radio receiver was installed in the car as part of a county wide police radio system. Chief Smith served in his post for thirty one years. The headquarters for the Police Department was located in the Miller Road firehouse.