History of the Police Department

1932 to 2019

Chief Harry HighChief Harry High, Served From 1932 to 1955

The New Providence Police Department was officially organized by ordinance on January 1, 1932. Harry C. High, a World War I veteran, was appointed Chief of Police. Chief High took his training at the New Jersey State Police Academy in Trenton, in 1932. The 1st police vehicle was a 2-seater Ford, with flaps serving as side windows.

Prior to the adoption of the ordinance creating the police department, part-time marshals assisted in the law enforcement of the Borough. At first, Chief High did not have any radio communications in the Borough. However, he had a police telephone in his home, and his wife, Bert High, would answer the phone. If Chief High was needed to respond to a call, Mrs. High would get in her car and drive around town until she found the chief in his patrol car. She never received any salary for this type of work.

Chief Carl EhnisChief Carl Ehnis, Served From 1947 to 1975

As time went on, the police department began to grow with the population. In 1960, there were thirteen men. The department consisted of a chief, a captain, a lieutenant, two sergeants and eight patrolmen.

By 1975, the department had grown to twenty-three police officers. Dispatchers were hired to work the Police Desk and dispatch officers to calls. The first dispatcher to be hired in 1975 was Kathleen Finneran. Chief Ehnis retired in 1974 and Deputy Chief Venezia was appointed Chief of Police in 1975.

Chief James J. Venezia, SrChief James J. Venezia, Sr., Served From 1950 to 1990

During his fifteen years as chief, many changes took place in law enforcement. Chief Venezia brought the department into the technical age with the introduction of computers in 1987. Computer aided dispatch and computer links to the state and national crime information database became an integral component of daily operation. The department grew with the population, to 13 officers in 1960 and to 23 by 1975, the same year that civilian dispatchers were added to the roster.

Chief Venezia retired on January 1, 1990, after completing 40 years of dedicated service to the community. At the time of his retirement, the police department consisted of twenty-four officers, four dispatchers, one secretary and one part-time secretary. Seven patrol vehicles were in operation. His son, Lieutenant James J. Venezia, Jr. was appointed as Chief of Police in 1990.

Chief James J. Venezia, JrChief James J. Venezia, Jr., Served From 1975 to 2000

Under Chief Venezia, Jr.'s leadership, the department continued to promote "a community policing philosophy". Several initiatives were implemented and include: "bicycle helmet and pedestrian safety program", "park and walk details", "D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) training for 5th grade students", and "bicycle patrol". These initiatives were designed to strengthen ties with the community, improve service to the residents and enhance the quality of life for everyone. Chief James J. Venezia, Jr. retired on September 1, 2000, after completing 25 years of rewarding service to the community. Captain Douglas R. Marvin was appointed Chief of Police on September 1, and became the borough's 5th police chief.

Chief Douglas R. MarvinChief Douglas R. Marvin, Served From 1978 to 2005

Douglas R. Marvin was appointed as the fifth chief of police on September 1, 2000 and continued the philosophy of community oriented policing.

The police department was reorganized in 2002 the Office of Professional Standards was established to track training issues and begin work on the NJ State Chief's of Police Accreditation.

Chief Anthony D. Buccelli, JrChief Anthony D. Buccelli, Jr., Served From 1980 Until  2020

Anthony D. Buccelli, Jr. was appointed as the sixth chief of police on January 4, 2006. Under Chief Buccelli, the police department achieved its initial accreditation from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police and recognition from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement in March 2006. On July 27, 2015 the police department moved to the newly created shared dispatch center with Summit and Millburn. This former dispatcher center was transformed into a records bureau. Today the department employs 26 sworn officers, 2 Class II Officers, 3 Class III officers and 2 administrative assistants, all of who are proud of our community policing efforts, our level of expertise and our professionalism.

Chief Theresa Gazaway, Served from 1995 Until 2022

Picture of Police Chief Theresa GazawayChief Gazaway is the seventh Police Chief of the Borough of New Providence.  Over her 27 years of service she had been assigned or promoted to nearly every role in this agency including Traffic Safety Officer, Investigator, Patrol Sergeant, Patrol and Detective Bureau Lieutenant and Captain, ultimately being promoted to the rank of Chief of Police in May of 2020.

During her career, she was been a member of the Bicycle Unit and Senior Citizen Liaison Program.  She was a former DARE Instructor and Union County DARE Association President.  She is a former Instructor at the John H. Stamler Police Academy and served on the NJSACOP Accreditation assessor committee.

In Partnership with our Community since 1932