The Maywood Police Department came into being three weeks after the Borough was incorporated, on July 22, 1894. George Grassick was appointed Marshal and sole police officer. The official Borough minutes indicate very little unrest or trouble in those times and the Borough fathers did not deem it necessary to include a police committee in the list of standing committees provided for in the bylaws. Mr. Grassick served for a year and was succeeded by Cornelius J. Van Saun, who served until 1900.
An epidemic of burglaries and other disturbances, said to have been perpetrated by tramps traveling on the railroad, called for action. Henry Herring was appointed Special Constable in June 1901 to assist the Marshal in dispersing these vagrants. On that day, conditions apparently became acute and the Borough Council furnished the Marshal with his first service revolver. During this same period, a petition containing the signatures of 88 taxpayers was presented, requesting the purchase of a police dog to assist in the control of prowlers and the like. Further investigation put the cost of such a dog at $125. The matter was apparently dropped as no record of the disposition of the request exists.
In 1910 the Marshal was equipped with a cap and handcuffs and the Mayor and Councilmen were appointed Marshals without any compensation. This was repeated in 1915 when Cal Marshal was also appointed a Constable. The policing of the Borough continued under the Marshal system until February 3, 1925 when the present Police Department was created. Police headquarters had been a booth in the center of the intersection of Maywood Avenue and Passaic Street. The booth was equipped with a manual Stop and Go, semaphore, which controlled traffic along these thoroughfares. In 1924, after a fatal accident involving Mayor Rapp, a new booth was constructed on the site with electrically operated red and green lights. This booth continued to function as police headquarters until 1926 when it was knocked off its base and demolished as a result of an accident involving the Protection Hook and Ladder Truck returning to the firehouse from a false alarm. Police headquarters was then transferred to a small room in the southeast corner of the Public Safety Building. The Police Marshal had to answer any appeals for assistance on foot until 1925, when the Borough furnished each man with a bicycle. In 1926, the department acquired its first Ford automobile. A few years later a second car was purchased and both were used until the Great Depression when both cars were turned in for one new patrol car.
In 1933 the Department's communications system was improved by the installation of a headquarters receiver and a patrol car receiver tuned to Bergen County Police Station WPRK. Two-way communication with the police cars did not surface until 1940 when the Borough installed its first two-way radio system between headquarters and one patrol car. In 1967 a completely new radio system was installed with a radio provided for all police vehicles. The department also had portable radios, then called walkie-talkies, that measured about 4 inches by 10 inches and took two hands to operate. In 1958 Maywood was one of the first departments in Bergen County to hire women as dispatchers on the police desk. Civilian personnel on the desk were phased out over the years and was reestablished with the implementation of 9-1-1. The Record's Bureau also has a civilian worker.
In 1960 an old Police Department garage attached to the present Public Safety Building became headquarters. In 1967 when other Borough offices moved to the present Maywood Library, the Police Department took over the entire first floor of the Public Safety Building. Additional Room was now provided for a Detective Bureau, Juvenile Bureau, Record Bureau and Identification Bureau together with offices for the Captain's and Chief of Police. The original police desk was moved from the back of the building to its present location in the front and a new up-to-date telephone system was installed replacing the manual switchboard. On May 21, 1967, the new police headquarters was dedicated and a plaque was mounted on the wall in front of the police desk to commemorate the event.
In 1984, when Bergen County became part of a new regional computer information system called REIN, the Department purchased a computer for the record bureau to keep track of criminal activity. The new technology enabled the transfer of information that had been logged in books throughout headquarters. The computer has become an indispensable tool, within minutes an officer on patrol can obtain information on suspects through the use of the on-board computers in the patrol vehicle. Information that once took hours to obtain through conventional means is now available almost instantaneously.
The 1990s saw the installation of a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) terminal in Headquarters. Better known as the 9-1-1 system, telecommunicators and officers were now capable of answering emergency calls for police, fire and EMS services.
In recent years, the Department has implemented several new technologies, equipping its officers with tools that have improved safety and maximized efficiency.
The use of social media sites (Facebook, Twitter) and emergency notification systems (Nixle, Swift911) has enabled the Department to communicate vital information to residents in a timely manner. These resources have helped build a sense of community between residents and the Department, providing a forum for residents to ask questions and for the Department to share tips and other valuable information.
In 2012, the Department placed two Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) units into service. ALPR is a technology that uses optical character recognition to automatically read license plate characters. The units, which are mounted onto patrol vehicles, can identify stolen vehicles, wanted persons, unregistered vehicles, suspended drivers and registrations.
The following year, all Maywood Police officers were equipped with TASERs. Each officer received TASER training at the Bergen County Public Safety Insitute and are required to qualify with the device bi-annually. TASER is a less-lethal weapon designed to temporarily incapacitate a suspect through the use of an electrical current and offers officers another alternative when handling potentially lethal situations.
In 2014, in response to the rise in opioid addiction and overdoses affecting the area, Maywood officers along with several other Bergen County departments were equipped with and trained on how to administer Narcan. Narcan is an intranasal spray that delivers naloxone, an opiod antidote that reverses the effects of an overdose from heroin or prescription painkillers such as oxycodone.
To this day, the Maywood Police Department prides itself by continuously progressing forward and working with the community in order to better serve the Borough of Maywood and its residents.