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DV Pilot police & fire

Retiring Moonachie Chief Leaves 'Quality' Department After 30 Years

Moonachie Police Chief Michael Maguire
Moonachie Police Chief Michael Maguire Photo Credit: DAILY VOICE photo

MOONACHIE, N.J. -- Moonachie Police Chief Michael J. Maguire may be retiring as of Sept. 1, but he won't be far from the department he's served for nearly three decades.

Maguire said he'll remain active in the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association and be "only a phone call away" for any of the department's remaining 17 officers if they have any questions or issues.

Sgt. Richard Behrens will be the officer-in-charge pending the results of a chief's test that he and other department sergeants will be taking in December. The department has no lieutenants or captains.

Maguire joined the department in 1987, rose through the ranks and became chief in April 2008.

"Anyone who has a 30-year career go as smoothly as I have -- actually, it's 29 years and eight months -- has a lot to be proud of," he told Daily Voice on Wednesday.

"I was proudest of my department during Superstorm Sandy," Maguire said.

"We were able to leave our building and get up and running the very next day," he said. "That's very important when your duty is to protect and serve the public."

The historic October 2012 storm flooded the Moonachie Road municipal complex, forcing his squad into trailers behind the facility.

Demolition on the complex was to begin later this month, with plans for a larger, sturdier facility that will include the police department and municipal court.

The biggest headache now is covering Teterboro and its increasing number of big-box stores . Arrests in the tiny borough reached the mid-40s this week -- roughly the same number for all of last year.

"When I was hired, we were at 17 officers," Maguire said. "Now it's 18, with us taking on an entire other town.

"You have to increase manpower to keep up," the chief added. "And that's not just to fill all the shifts. There are also injured on-duty officers who must be replaced."

Maguire is taking a job doing security for a private school in Sparta, near his home.

"At the very least, I'm getting back two hours of my day in commuting," he said.

The chief is proud and extremely confident about the department as it stands.

"Everyone who's eligible to take the chief's test are quality guys," he said. "All are cross-trained.

"This entire department is full of good, quality people. We just need to hire."

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