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Wanaque is the name given to the valley located in northern New Jersey by the Lenni Lenape Indians who inhabited it hundreds of years ago. They had no written language, therefore the pronunciation, spelling, and meaning have been questionable. Some other spellings have included Wynokie, Wynocky, Wynoky, and Wynockie. Most residents agree that the proper pronunciation is Wah'nah'key but common pronunciation is Wah'nah'cue. Some historians believe the name was taken from the Algonquin root meaning "rest and repose". However, the most popular interpretation is "valley of sassafras".

The Wanaque Police Department: The first police officer to patrol the streets of Wanaque(at this time, a part of Pompton Township) was appointed on August 5, 1912 to serve on the weekends between 2:00pm to 2:00am at a salary of $3.00 a day. He had to supply his own uniform and horse.
The first ordinance to establish and regulate a police department was passed on November 6, 1916. The department was to consist of a chief, captain, lieutenant, and patrolmen. The chief and captain were to serve without compensation and all other officers were to receive $85.00 a month. the following year, the police ordinance was amended to include the rank of sergeant.
In April of 1918, The Borough of Wanaque became its own entity, no longer a part of Pompton Township.On May 8th, the newly elected mayor and council passed the first ordiance to establish a department of police for the Borough of Wanaque which was to consist of a chief, sergeant, and four patrolmen.
The first police car was purchased on May 8, 1925 for the sum of $644.50. Between 1930 and 1940, the department had two full time officers and several part time officers. In 1940, the number of full time officers rose to three and this same year, the first police car radio was purchased. Prior to this purchase, calls were taken by phone at the chief's home.
By the 1950's the police department had four full time officers and the number increased to five by 1960. In 1962, a forty hour work week was approved and two more officers were hired this same year. By 1967 the department had grown to eight officers. On August 1, 1967, the first detective bureau was created.
Seven more officers were appointed between 1969 and 1974. In November of 1974, tragedy struck the borough. Municipal Court Judge Joseph J. Crescente, was shot and killed while conducting court on the second floor of the municipal building. Two individuals were convicted for 2nd degree murder and three others were convicted for conspiracy.
Between 1978 and 1998, seventeen officers were appointed to the police force. In July of 1998, the department suffered a great lose when Det/Lt Robert J. Jordan, K-9 handler, lost his battle with cancer. He was a 27 year veteran of the force and was assigned to the detective bureau from 1974 until his death in 1998.
Today, the department is staffed by thirty-three members - a chief, a captain,Det/Sgt, detective, five sergeants, one K-9 handler, two SRO's,ten patrol officers, six special police officers, three communications officers, a records clerk, and one canine.
Members of the department active in the DARE program, coach little league football and baseball teams, and host "Friday Fun Nights" at the local grammar schools where children are treated to fun and games at no charge. Members also participate in the annual Torch Run and Polar Bear Pludge for the Special Olympics.
The department's standard uniform consists of a french blue shirt with navy blue trousers with french blue stripe and french blue hat. Short sleeve shirts are worn during summer months switching to long sleeve shirts with tie or navy blue turtle neck during the winter. Dress uniform includes a french blue blouse with black Sam Browne leather. The department also utilizes navy blue BDU's for special duties.
Officers are issued the Glock 22 .40 calibre semi-automatic pistol and qualifications take place four times a year at a local police range. Benelli 12 guage semi-auto shotguns are carried in each patrol unit.

To contact the Wanaque Police Department -
By mail:
Wanaque Police Department
579 Ringwood Avenue
Wanaque, NJ 07465

By phone:
By fax:

For the Court Clerk, call:
For Borough Hall, call: