On behalf of The Harding Township Police Department, I welcome you! Our website is designed to be informative and provide easy access to information of the Harding Township Police Department. I am proud and honored to be the Chief of Harding Township Police. The officers I serve alongside are dedicated and committed to help making this one of the safest communities in New Jersey. As Chief, I am committed to maintaining a Police Department that since its establishment in 1948, provides a high level of professional service, is community-centric and keeps Harding a safe place to live, visit or travel through.
Erik J. Heller
Chief of Police
History of Harding Police Department
Areas of what is now Harding Township were once a part of Morristown during colonial times. In 1740, Harding became a section of Morris Township and in 1866 the area of Harding became the northern portion of Passaic Township. Harding Township was created in 1923.
In 1933, Harold Emery was appointed Patrolman half-time and road maintenance worker the other half. In an emergency, Emery laid down his shovel and picked up his gun. The police station was the Emery kitchen where his wife answered calls and turned on the porch light for Harold to see as he passed by. He was named the department's first Chief of Police in 1936.
In 1947 an ordinance was passed to establish a police department and provide for its requirements and regulations. Soon after, a police car was donated to the Township and a bedroom telephone was installed in Chief Emery's home.
An ordinance was passed in 1953 establishing Harding's municipal court. Judge Marius Grosso presided. In 1958 a second patrol car was added as the department grew and numbered six officers. Now housed on the second floor of the Village Road Fire House, HTPD continued its work. Still growing, Ralph Behre and several other officers were hired during the 1960's and 1970's. In 1971, Behre was promoted to Chief of Police. During 1980, HTPD moved its location to the Kirby Municipal Building where we continue operations.
Upon Chief Behre's retirement in 1996, Kevin Gaffney was promoted to Chief of Police. In 2012, Mark Giansanti led the department and was promoted to Chief of Police in 2013. Upon Chief Giansanti's retirement in September, 2017, Erik Heller led the department and was promoted to Chief of Police in March 2018. At this time, the Harding Township Police Department employs 14 full-time officers, two Class II Officers and an Administrative Assistant.