For more than 15 years, Joseph Pica Jr. has served as the head of the West Windsor Police Department. He became the police chief less than a month after the September 11 attacks and right before the anthrax attacks.
Pica will retire in July after serving the West Windsor Police Department for 43 years and Lt. Robert Garofalo, a 28-year veteran and also a West Windsor Township resident, will become the new chief effective on July 1, 2017, officials announced Wednesday.
Garofalo, who is highly regarded within the department and by police chiefs in the region, previously served in the patrol division, detective bureau, and administration while rising up the ranks. He was promoted to administrative sergeant in 1999 and then to investigative lieutenant in 2008.
He led the police department’s efforts to use social media as a way to connect to the community, setting an example for police departments around the state. During Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, residents were provided with frequent updates by the West Windsor Police via Facebook and Twitter. Gradually other police departments have followed West Windsor’s example. The police department was also one of the first to use the Nixle alert system. Information is sent to West Windsor residents in an easy-to-understand format and the police use a conversational tone, sometimes employing humor to make a point.
“What a great fit Lt. Garofalo is for our community,” Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh said. “Our longstanding tradition of organizational structure will continue seamlessly under the new leadership of Robert Garofalo.”
Garafolo will become the fourth chief of the town in almost five decades. In 2018, the West Windsor Township Police Department will be celebrating its 50th Year Anniversary. In 1968, a fledgling police department began under Chief Francis Maguire, who served as chief until 1980. Maguire was succeeded by Chief Frank Cox and remained until September of 2001. In October of 2001, Joseph Pica Jr. was named chief.
“I’m ready to accept the challenge and continue the legacy of excellence by Chief Pica,” Garafolo said.