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Lt. James Kearney


When James Kearney retired from the Mt. Olive Twp. Police department he had achieved the rank of Detective Lieutenant and had served for over twenty six years. Jim spoke with an Irish accent and was often seen smoking his pipe. This was probably due to his upbringing. Jim was born on August 26, 1935 in Bronxville, New York. However, he soon moved to the town of Carndonagh, which is located in Donegal County, Ireland. It was a small town located 135 miles Northwest of Dublin. It was there that Jim spent the first part of his life.

In 1955 Jim’s family returned to the United States and eventually settled in Chester, NJ. Jim enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1960 and served for three years. He moved to Mt. Olive Township and settled in Budd Lake in 1964.

Jim began his law enforcement career as a special police officer in Chester Township. On May 1, 1969 Jim was hired by Mt. Olive Township Police and was sent to the New Jersey State Police Academy in Sea Girt. He graduated in the 116th police class.

When Jim returned to Mt. Olive Township, he was assigned to the patrol division. After three short years in patrol, Jim was transferred to the detective bureau. By 1976 he was promoted to detective sergeant.

In 1979, Jim was promoted to Lieutenant and was transferred from the detective bureau to administration. In 1985, Jim was assigned as the patrol division commander and for some time served as Acting Chief. In 1989, however, he was again transferred to the detective bureau. Jim remained the Detective Lieutenant until his retirement.

While a police officer, Jim received training as a crime prevention officer and as a hostage negotiator. He also earned an Associate Degree from the County College of Morris in criminal justice in 1985. While serving Mt. Olive Twp. Jim earned several medals and awards. They included the following: exceptional duty, meritorious service, honorable service, educational achievement, Veteran’s medal and the Grand Cordon Medal. When Mt. Olive Twp. made the switch to automatic handguns, Jim was one of a few officers who opted to keep his revolver instead of making the switch.

Jim was a member of many groups and associations. He was a member of the Mt. Olive Knights of Columbus Council 6100 and the Emerald Society of Morris Plains. On a professional level, Jim was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 122 and the Morris County Detectives Association.

Jim stayed true to his Irish roots and was often seen with his pipe close by. When he worked as a special officer in Chester he was known as “the Irish cop who smoked a pipe.” He also always referred to the younger officers as “lad.”



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