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Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Lower Police Join a Select Group in Earning 5th Accreditation

Christopher South
Lower Township Police Chief Kevin Lewis receives a certificate of accreditation from Harry Delgado, accreditation program director with the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.

By Christopher South

VILLAS – The Lower Township Police Department is in the top 3.6% of New Jersey police departments in that it has received accreditation from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police five times.

Harry J. Delgado, accreditation program director with the chiefs association, said only 54% of the police departments in the state are accredited by his association, and the number of departments receiving multiple accreditations goes down significantly with each accreditation.

Delgado said 32% have been reaccredited once, 19% three times, 7.9% four times, and 3.6% five times.

The chiefs association’s accreditation program started in 2002, and reaccreditation is due every three years.

Delgado traveled from Trenton to present a certificate of accreditation at the Monday, May 20, Lower Township Council meeting. He told the council the reaccreditation is evidence that the department is committed to best practices, being prepared and staying on track with national standards for police departments.

Lower Township Police Chief Kevin Lewis said he and others from the department, including Deputy Chief Don Vanaman, who he said taught him everything he knows about accreditation, traveled to Trenton in March for the accreditation interview.

Delgado said law enforcement agencies are evaluated on 112 state standards, among them how progressive the department is, whether it encourages continuing education for officers, its crime prevention procedures and whether it uses bike patrols, to name a few. He said accreditation benefits the entire department, which he described as “highly regarded.”

Mayor Frank Sippel said: “You all do a great job for us.”

Departmental Update

At the same meeting, Lewis presented the council with a departmental update, but first read a certificate he had received from the New Jersey National Guard commending the department on its commitment to supporting the National Guard and Reserves and its members in the township Police Department. Among them are Vanaman, who is a chief warrant officer 4 in the U.S. Army Reserves, and Patrolman First Class Kevin Boyle, who is currently deployed to the Middle East.

Lower Township Police Chief Kevin Lewis reads a commendation for the department’s support of its members who belong to the National Guard and Reserves. Photo Credit: Christopher South

At full strength, the department has 52 officers from the chief down, including newly promoted Capt. Michael Majane.

The department has one deputy chief, one captain, three lieutenants, two sergeants first class, four patrol sergeants, one detective sergeant, five corporals, one detective first class, four patrolmen first class, one senior detective, four detectives, 22 patrolmen, one year-round class II officer and a recruit who must complete the final week of the police academy. The department also employs six civilians in the records department.

Lewis said it is very difficult to maintain a contingent of class II officers, called special law enforcement officers, to augment the department in the summer.

“They are getting hired full time by other departments,” the chief said. He said the department currently has nine class II officers in the hiring queue.

Lewis said that, between its regular patrol and investigative functions, the department must prepare for and oversee various special events in the township. He provided a list of 33 events over the course of 2024 that the department will be involved in, including the Escape the Cape Triathlon, the Independence Day Festival, Whale of a Day and various other parades and holiday events.

Going over the department’s 2023 accomplishments, Lewis mentioned the reaccreditation and added that the department obtained multiple stationary automated license plate readers, which he said would be able to record everyone entering or leaving the township.

The department will also have seven licensed drone pilots, the chief said, which he doesn’t think any other department has. The department also has 12 trained and licensed ATV operators.

In 2023 the department created three new positions, the deputy chief, to which Vanaman was named, patrolman first class and senior detective.

In 2024, Lewis said, he would like to implement a data collection and storage system called the Axon Air Program, obtain a command trailer to use for command staff during critical incidents and special events, obtain more automatic license plate readers to post throughout the township, digitize archived records, continue recruiting and retention efforts and become familiar with and adhere to 2024 State Police licensing standards.

He said the state is requiring police officers to be licensed for three years at a time and has implemented a staggered renewal plan, where one-third of the department will be renewed every year. In January, all officers were issued a one-, two- or three-year license.

Contact the reporter, Christopher South, at or 609-886-8600, ext. 128.


Christopher South is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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