On April 3, 1930, the River Vale Township Committee passed an ordinance creating the River Vale Police Department. The ordinance called for the appointment of a Chief of Police and as many special officers as may be required for the enforcement of the law.
At the time, the annual salary for the Chief of Police was $1. The special officers were volunteers and were not salaried employees of the Township. At the time, the population of River Vale, according to the U.S. Census, was 871.
Exactly 9 years later, on April 3, 1939, David N. Roberge was appointed the 1st permanent Chief of Police of the Township (salary unknown). The 1st official records of the police department began being recorded on that date. Chief Roberge was the only police officer and was assisted by special police officers. The police officers at this time were actually called "marshals."
The old police blotters contain the calls that the police department responded to. They included investigating motor vehicle accidents, burglaries, gambling houses, suspicious person, assaults, missing persons, dogs killing chickens (there were numerous farms in town), nude swimmers at the Old Dock swimming hole, etc. When "undesirable persons" were found in town, they were driven home - as far away as New York City! In 1944, Nelson Roberge succeeded his father as Chief of Police.
Although the population has grown to over 10,500, the size of the police department remains at the manpower level established 25 years ago with 20 officers. In addition to the current police officers, there have been 35 other officers employed by the Township. 15 of these officers have retired from the department after 25-37 years of service. The remaining 21 officers either resigned, were dismissed, or transferred to other law enforcement agencies. As we enter the new millennium, the River Vale Police Department will continue its mission, "to provide the highest quality of service to its residents."