Early History Of The Cinnaminson Police Department
In 1861 Cinnaminson was mostly farm land and undeveloped property. The newly formed governing body understood the need for a Peace Officer to maintain law and order and the position of “Constable” was created to carry out this service. Hinchman Wooster was appointed as the first Constable, essentially the first police officer in the newly established Cinnaminson Township.
From 1861 to 1926 the town council appointed several men to the position. Most appointments were for two or three years. They were paid a small salary and received little, if any, training. They would be called upon to handle any issues that couldn’t be resolved on their own, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These men were members of the community who were farmers, carpenters, or had other jobs but understood the importance of serving the community and maintaining order. The Constables in the early years also served as the tax collector, overseer of the poor, animal warden, and truant officer.
By 1926 the landscape in New Jersey was drastically changing with an increasing population. Roads and Highways were filling up everywhere with the transportation of people and goods. Cinnaminson was no exception. Being located between Trenton and Camden, Highway Route 2 (now US Rt. 130) ran through the center of town. The road was improved to accommodate cars and trucks and now a new problem; traffic.
In May 1926 the Cinnaminson Township Committee appointed George Dorworth as a Traffic Officer. There were other police officer appointments in the next several years but Dorworth maintained his position as the chief law enforcement officer, reporting all police activity to the township council until sometime in the 1940’s.
On June 1, 1946 Thomas Adams was appointed as a Patrolman after returning home from his military service. At that time there was only one other police officer and no official leader. For about the next eight years, two or three men were assigned to work around the clock, ten or twelve hour shifts, seven days a week. They had little to no training or equipment; substandard wages and no official police station to work from. The population of Cinnaminson continued growing as well as the increase in crime and traffic accidents. Morale among the police officers was low and many left due to the poor working conditions.
Adams, a visionary, saw the need for a professional, full-time police department. In April of 1954, Adams was appointed as the first official “Chief of Police”. In October of 1954, the Cinnaminson Township Committee passed an ordinance establishing the Police Department. This ordinance gave Adams an operating budget to hire full-time officers, purchase equipment, and establish rules and regulations that gave birth to the professional police agency that he envisioned and continues to this day.