History of the JCPD

January 28, 1820 - Jersey City was incorporated, although the area was still part of the Township of Bergen and by 1829 had its first watchman. This is an amazing fact because the British Parliament, in 1829, coined the word “police” and officially formed the first modern police department in London. We can trace our roots back to September 5, 1661. At this time, the Sheriff was commissioned; this was the first form of law enforcement in New Jersey. Prior to 1661, enforcement of the laws was administered from New Amsterdam (New York).

May 4, 1829 - An act was framed for the appointment of watchmen; thus, in 1829, we have the first form of law enforcement under the corporation of Jersey City.

March 3, 1868 - The control of the Police Department was assumed by “the Jersey City Police District”. The government and discipline of the police became vested and exercised by a Board of Police Commissioners, a Chief of Police and such a number of patrolmen, not exceeding fifty.

August 5, 1873 - Mounted police was formed

1900 to 1928 - The Automobile - In 1928, the Jersey City Police Department took this giant step forward and like nothing else, this totally changed the shape of things to come. From 1900 to 1928, we saw the introduction of telephones, electricity and other inventions into our police stations, but the auto was revolutionary and it was about to open up a whole new field of police work. Jersey City soon had a central location from where cars were turned out and dispersed to different precincts. This soon was given the name of Motor Patrol.

January 1, 1914 - The Department consisted of seven police precincts and the force numbered 508 men. This, for the beginning of the century, was one of the largest police forces in the United States. The city was growing by leaps and bounds and predictions were that Jersey City would be a city of three million people in years to come.

May 24, 1924 - The Eighth Precinct was officially opened, located at Ege and West Side Avenues. February 10, 1931 - The Emergency Squad was established with headquarters at the No. 9 Engine Fire House located at Duncan and Bergen Avenues.

November 1, 1947 - 100 World War II veterans appointed to the JCPD.

December 1, 1953 - Closing of the Eighth and Third Precincts. The Police Department was set up as follows:

  • Police Headquarters - 769 Montgomery Street
  • First Precinct - Newark Avenue and Third Street
  • Second Precinct - Grove and Seventh Streets
  • Fourth Precinct - 576 Communipaw Avenue
  • Fifth Precinct - Ocean and Cator Avenue
  • Sixth Precinct-Hutton Street and Central Avenue
  • SeventhPrecinct-769 Montgomery Street


November 19, 1954 - The new Fifth Precinct building was opened at 191 Bergen Ave, strategically located to provide better service to the people of the Greenville area of the city.

March 14, 1955 - The innovation of the Central Complaint Room at Headquarters was to be the first installation of its kind in New Jersey. This was to provide for instantaneous police response to police calls of all types by electronically recording all complaints and immediately dispatching the necessary assistance.

1957 - Establishment of the Jersey City Police Academy

1961 - The Jersey City Police Department tied its communication system into the State Police teletype system to facilitate transfer of motor vehicle information. This was a great asset for the radio car officer who could stay in the field and check motor vehicles. This was a great time saver and stopped the practice of bringing motor vehicles into the precinct and using the telephone.

May 1962 - We see the use of a new two way radio system in patrol cars.

1968 - The creation of the Community Relations Unit.

1972 - Establishment of the Homicide Squad. Numbering from ten to twelve officers, this unit became very well respected and had a high clearance rate. The unit lasted until 1984, when it was dissolved and the men were sent to work for the County Homicide Squad. Establishment of the Bandit Squad. This squad was merged into the more modern Street Crime Squad. We also see a great new advancement in a system called 911, a system providing the public with direct access to the police radio room in an emergency for speedier dispatch of police cars.

January 19, 1973 - The Housing Security Bureau was established specifically to patrol housing developments.

February 4, 1974 - The Neighborhood Task Force was formed. The force consisted of 40 police on lightweight motorcycles patrolling selected neighborhood areas.

March 11, 1974 - Police Headquarters was moved to 8 Erie Street, giving the Department more room in keeping with the increasing roles assumed by a modern police department.

April 4, 1974 - The Organized Crime Unit was established. This unit consists of the Gambling Squad, Special Investigations Unit, and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Unit.

May 27, 1975 - The Neighborhood Task Force was reorganized into the new Special Patrol Bureau.

June 12, 1975 - The former police precincts were reincorporated into four administrative patrol zones to insure greater efficiency in administering the Police Department.

April 2, 1976 - The radio room at the new Headquarters modernized with computers tied into the National Crime Information Center. All working police officers now were assigned walkie-talkies, enabling response time to be cut to minutes.

January 1, 1979 - The Bureau of Criminal Identification was modernized with the ultra modern C.S.M. Color Montage System and color photographic equipment was installed. With this installation, the Jersey City Police Department is now equal to the top ranking police departments in the country.

May 4, 1979 - The celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Jersey City Police Department.

January 1986 - The K-9 unit is formed.

November 1, 1987 - Jersey City Police academy moves to their new location at Caven Point.

March 1988 - First appointed Chief of Police Walter Adams appointed after Civil Service title of Chief was abolished.

June 1988 - Jersey City Police department reorganized. Prosecutor Paul Depasquale assumed the role as director in addition to his duties as Hudson County Prosecutor.

September 1992 - The East district began a pilot "Community Police Officer" program.

May 1997 - The Bicycle is introduced as a patrol vehicle.

September 11, 2001 - JCPD provides the support, care, and means for injured survivors of the World Trade Center tragedy to be transported to hospitals. Hundreds on volunteer officers worked tirelessly on rescue and recovery efforts in the weeks that followed.

October 14, 2004 - Celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the Jersey City Police Department.