The Fort Lee Police Department was originally formed by ordinance on August 9, 1904. During this time, the council appointed six marshalls. However, the department was not formally established until October 5, 1927. During this time, another ordinance was enacted to equip, organize, and control the department. The first Police Chief was Andrew McDermott. He served the department for thirty-nine years. Council members Peter Cella, John Mallon, and John Reardon manned the police committee.
POLICE MEMORIAL SQUARE
On September 12, 2009, the Fort Lee Police Department dedicated the Fort Lee Police Memorial Square. This is a memorial dedicated to all Fort Lee police officers. The Mayor and Council of Fort Lee donated the land on which to build the memorial, and the rest of the funds were acquired in the form of donations. The park is located on the north end of Abbott Boulevard, in an area where many local residents walk.
BUILDING THE PROJECT
The project to build the memorial was spearheaded by Chief Thomas Ripoli and Officer Mark Finocchiaro. The memorial was built by workers from the borough's Department of Public Works. Fort Lee PBA President Detective Kevin Kosuda stated, "For every officer, they have a story and it's our duty to remember the officers that served in the line of duty."
OFFICER’S KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY
POLICE OFFICER WILLIAM T. BIRCH
Police Officer William T. Birch was gunned down while responding to a hold up alarm at the Riviera Motel on Route 4 on September 4, 1966. James Beldon, who shot and killed Officer Birch, was originally sentenced to death in 1967, but that sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1972. A mere ten years after having his death penalty commuted to life in prison, Beldon was paroled and a free man in 1982. In 2005 at the age of 79, Beldon was arrested for attempting to sell an illegal handgun in Massachusetts while bragging he had killed a New Jersey police officer and had gotten away with it. He was returned to prison in New Jersey for violation of his parole. Beldon died in prison 2 years later at the age of 81. In 2007, a Yellow Labrador K-9, "Birch," was added to the Fort Lee Police Department to honor the memory of William T. Birch. On June 6, 2009, the Borough of Fort Lee renamed Federspiel Street to William T. Birch Way in his honor. The location was fitting as it was in the same neighborhood that William Birch had lived in.
POLICE OFFICER KEVIN R. GREENER
Police Officer Kevin R. Greener was killed in a motorcycle accident on August 9, 1999 while traveling to a patrol tactics class he was teaching. Officer Greener was formerly a sergeant with the Essex County Police Department, but left when the department was disbanded. Officer Greener also worked for the West Caldwell Police Department for two years, prior to settling down with the Fort Lee Police Department in 1993. Aside from being a defensive tactics instructor for the department, Officer Greener was also a member of the department's Emergency Services Unit. In August 2008, a German Shepherd K-9, "Greener," was added to the Fort Lee Police Department to honor the memory of Officer Kevin Greener. Within his first month on patrol, K-9 Greener had already assisted Fort Lee Police officers in making two large narcotics arrests.