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Accomplished Washington Township Police Veteran Rises To Chief

Now-Chief (then-Lt.) Richard Skinner with 'Chief For a Day' Alex Hammer
Now-Chief (then-Lt.) Richard Skinner with 'Chief For a Day' Alex Hammer Photo Credit: Lauren Kidd Ferguson

A highly respected Washington Township police veteran and accomplished instructor is now its chief.

Chief Richard Skinner, who’d recently served as the department’s officer in charge, officially took the position on Monday.

“This was a very competitive process [that] highlighted the talent, knowledge and commitment of our entire command staff,” Mayor Peter Calamari said.

It was so competitive, in fact, that township officials also boosted one of the other two candidates: Capt. John Calamari, whose promotion also became official this week.

The third candidate, Lt. A. J. Pecora, also impressed the Township Committee, the mayor said.

Skinner, a 26-year department veteran, served with the U.S. Marine Corps from 1986 to 1993 and was stationed with 5th Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Pendleton, CA during Operation Desert Storm.

He’s a founding member of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Rapid Deployment Force and has been with the unit for 25 years, responding to large-scale emergencies.

As the unit’s platoon commander, he’s supervised mobile field units. Skinner also is the squad’s chemical agent coordinator and trainer.

Skinner has also handled just about every responsibility while rising through the ranks of his department.

He implemented its motorcycle unit and provided initial training after receiving his operations certification from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol – and also coordinated multi-jurisdictional police motorcycle escorts.

Skinner also coordinated the township’s D.A.R.E. program and trained officers at several police academies throughout New Jersey for nearly 10 years as part of a state team. He’s also conducted national D.A.R.E. officer training and is an executive board member of the New Jersey D.A.R.E. Association.

Skinner has also taught officers hoping to become certified instructors for nearly a decade with the New Jersey Police Training Commission’s academy and has lectured on Internet safety and computer crimes as a member of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Computer Crimes Task Force.

A member of the New Jersey Police Honor Legion, Skinner has received a host of awards and citations – from the township, the PBA, the Bergen County Chiefs Association and New Jersey Mothers Against Drunk Driving, among others.

He got his undergraduate degree in public management and a master’s degree in administrative science from Fairleigh Dickinson University and has been a volunteer youth baseball and football coach in the township for years.

Skinner replaced Glenn Hooper, who recently retired after 42 years with the department,

Calamari – who, like Skinner, is a 26-year department veteran – is an accomplished teacher, as well.

The department’s new executive officer is a state-certified handgun, shotgun and assault rifle instructor who also certifies re-qualification for police service rifle operators.

Calamari has handled a host of duties and responsibilities within the department, giving him extensive hands-on knowledge of all operations.

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