In what some people said was a long overdue ceremony, John Reardon was sworn in as the township’s newest chief of police Monday evening.
Dozens of police officers and emergency services personnel lined the back wall of the council chamber and dozens more sat and heard several people speak highly of Reardon and what he has meant to the township and police department.
Reardon has spent his entire career at the Wayne Police Department. He joined the department in March 1980. He became acting chief in 2010.
“John is the right person at the right time for this department,” said Mayor Christopher Vergano. “I am extremely confident that John possesses the necessary skills and qualifications to perform the duties of the office of chief of police. He has continually demonstrated his ability to lead this department of 116 men and women.”
In a separate interview, Reardon said “it is a challenge to lead a department this size” and that he trusts his colleagues, particularly his captains, to assist him in his duties.
Reardon has demonstrated his leadership ability by tackling various projects throughout the previous year. Eleven officers have left the department in that time, forcing Reardon to make several personnel decisions while maintaining the high level of service people have come to expect from the department.
Reardon has been instrumental in upgrading the township’s emergency services communications system. The $9.5 million project involves installing a new radio system for the police and fire departments, department of public works and emergency medical services. The service is expected to be up and running in early April.
The police department is also changing to a new form of electronic record keeping and upgrading its computer software.
“Some of the best letters I’ve ever received being here were about the kind of things everybody did in this department,” Assemblyman and former Mayor Scott Rumana said. “That leadership comes from the top down and I know Chief Reardon will continue that tradition and great work that this department has done.”
While other police officers might have retired before reaching this point in their careers, Reardon said it was not a desire to become chief that has kept him going to work everyday.
“You’re never prepared for what you desire. When I became a police officer I just wanted to be an officer and do the best job I could do. That’s been my basic, simple philosophy all these years,” Reardon said. "I feel I still have a lot to contribute to the Wayne Police Department, Wayne Township and all the citizens of Wayne.”