Established in 1826, the Borough of Matawan received police services from duly appointed marshals until May 1, 1925 when Edwin C. Sloat was appointed as a constable.
On February 25, 1926, the Council of the Borough of Matawan passed a Municipal Ordinance establishing and maintaining a Police Department. This Ordinance, adopted and approved by Mayor William H. Sutphin on March 9, 1926, provided for the permanent organization of the department and for the appointment of a Police Committee of the Council, an acting Chief of Police and one Patrolman. Edwin C. Sloat became the first regular full-time police officer to hold the rank of Chief of Police. Chief Sloat was the first secretary of the Monmouth County Police Chief’s Association and was an original member of the Monmouth County Radio Commission. Chief Sloat, with his untiring efforts, brought the radio system into reality in the mid 1930’s making the Matawan Police Department one of the first to have radio-equipped patrol vehicles.
Since its inception, the Matawan Police Department has been under the command of a Chief of Police, the highest ranking uniformed member of the department. Following Chief Sloat’s retirement in 1950, Capt. John J. Flood was promoted to Chief of Police and held that rank until his death in 1959. Flood overcame a serious injury early in his career after being shot in the head by a masked gunman inside of Police Headquarters in 1934. After Flood’s death, Captain John E. Melna was promoted to Chief of Police in 1960. Melna would hold that rank for twenty years until his death in 1980. In 1980, Deputy Chief Robert V. McGowan was promoted to Chief of Police and held that position until his retirement in 1986. In 1986 Detective Lieutenant Carmen Messina was promoted to Chief of Police following a 19 year stint in the department’s detective division. In 2000, following Messina’s retirement, Lieutenant William W. Toomer was promoted to Chief of Police. Toomer would hold that position until his retirement in December of 2005. On February 21, 2006, following in his father’s (Robert V. McGowan) footsteps, Robert M. McGowan was sworn in by Mayor Mary Aufseseer, becoming the seventh Chief of Police in the department’s eighty year history.
On July 1 2008, James M. Alston was sworn in as the eighth Chief of Police in the borough of Matawan and the first African American police chief in the history of this department. Chief Alston retired from service in 2012.
The Police Department is now under the command of Chief Jason Gallo, who has commanded the day to day operations of the Matawan Police Department since March of 2010.
Chief Gallo has served with this department since 1992 and has worked in all capacities, such as patrol, juvenile, investigative, and supervisory. Chief Gallo stresses pro-active police work coupled with community relations to keep crime at a minimum within the borough.
Today the Matawan Police Department consists of 21 sworn officers, 2 special officers, 1 records clerk, 8 school crossing guards and 2 police matrons. These men and women are responsible for providing 24 hour police services to the 10,000 residents, business people and visitors to the 2.4 square mile Borough. Additionally, the department serves several thousand commuters daily who depart and arrive at the adjacent Aberdeen-Matawan Train Station, the busiest station on New Jersey Transit’s North Jersey Coast Line.