Fair Haven Police Chief Steps Down After 30 Years Of Service

first_imgFAIR HAVEN – The borough’s top cop has decided it was time to pack it in.“I just feel it’s time,” said Police Chief Darryl Breckenridge, a lifelong Fair Haven resident, about his decision to retire effective October 1, stepping down from overseeing the department, which currently has 13 fulltime officers.Breckenridge has been chief since 2005.There wasn’t any particular reason he decided to retire at this point. “They always say you know when it’s time,” Breckenridge said, with “they” meaning veteran officers he’s known over this career. “And it’s time.”Breckenridge’s last day on the job will be Sept. 30.Breckenridge, who will be 57 in September, has spent 35 years in law enforcement, with 30 of them with the Fair Haven department.Being a cop “is something I always wanted to do,” he said. And that ambition goes back to when he was just 4 ½- years-old.In the early 1960s, then Police Chief Carl Jakubecy had gone to the Breckenridge home to offer Darryl’s mother the position of crossing guard at Knollwood School, 224 Hance Road, a job Mrs. Breckenridge held for more than 25 years. While there Jakubecy took his chief’s hat and put it on the young Darryl. “It felt good,” Breckenridge recalled all these years later, knowing then what he wanted to do with his life.Jakubecy appointed Breckenridge as a part-time dispatcher in 1976. Breckenridge left that position in 1977 to join the U.S. Army, where he served for about three years assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division Military Police, doing undercover police investigation.After the Army, Breckenridge returned home in 1980 and joined the local department as a part-time special officer, while working security at Steinbach’s depart- ment store in Red Bank. He then moved to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office in 1982 where he worked as a county detective before being sworn in as a Fair Haven patrolman in 1985.Over the course of 30 years Breckenridge worked as a detective, being promoted in 2000 to sergeant and 2002 moving up the ranks to lieutenant before becoming chief 10 years ago. As for his future, Breckenridge wouldn’t be cornered, simply saying, “I got a few ideas.”As far as leaving, he said he would miss the department members and the camaraderie he shares with fellow officers, feeling very much that they’ve “become a family.” On top of that “I’ll miss the opportunity to help people.”What he won’t miss, “The calls in the middle of the night,” he acknowledged, the ones where someone has been hurt or killed and where it would fall to him to deliver terrible news to families, oftentimes families he has known for years. “One of my goals was to bring good people into the profession,” he said. And he has done that, saying he’s very proud of the former and current department members, leaving the department in good hands.A good chief, Breckenridge believes, is someone “who listens to the community and to his officers.” “Some say it’s a cliché,” he noted, “but you really can help people and make a positive difference in someone’s life when you’re a police officer.”By John Burtonlast_img