It’s official: John Ward will assume the position of Ridgewood Police Chief effective Sept. 1, according to a press release from the village manager’s office. Ward was appointe senior officer in charge following former Police Chief John LiPuma’s retirement. LiPuma left the force in mid-July, but his official retirement date is Sept. 1.
Ward, who has served in the department for 27 years, ascended to the captain’s position in January 2009. In his interim position as senior officer in charge, he holds all the chief’s responsibilities without the title.
“The nationally accredited village police department is blessed with quality officers,” Village Manager Ken Gabbert said in the press release. “We can look forward to continuing the outstanding service to the community with the new leadership team.”
Ward earned an annual salary of $158,468 in 2009, according to app.com, a website that lists all public employee salaries in New Jersey. He will continue to earn his current salary until the Village Council reviews it and chooses to make any adjustments, according to the village manager’s office.
“I’ve known John since he was a dispatcher, so it’s well over 25 years, and I think John’s positive attitude and new programs that he is going to institute and bring to the village will be an asset,” said Mayor Keith Killion.
Ward expressed his desire to enact a community policing initiative, a philosophy he “strongly believes in,” to work with members of the community to get important information out as fast as possible.
“The department has a large amount of talent that I plan on utilizing to its maximum potential,” Ward said. “I would like to see this organization as a learning organization, responsive to the community’s concerns and needs, balancing the economic realities of increased efficiency with operational readiness. My goal is to help develop the people in this organization to their best potential. That will only help our community.”
Ward is currently implementing a program to inform motorists and pedestrians of new laws and, where appropriate, enforcing those laws in an effort to make Ridgewood’s streets safer.
“Everybody in the community has a stake in how this department operates and how we make the town safer,” Ward said. “I’m excited about this appointment. I’ve always hoped to achieve this level, and I hope my legacy will be that I leave this place a little bit better than I found it.”
Source: MICHAEL SEDON The Ridgewood News
Category: The New Chief