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Chief Roger E. Stephens

Roger E. Stephenís ancestors came from England in the 1700ís and settled in the area that would eventually become Mt. Olive Township. The Stephens family was given a land grant from the King of England. When Roger was born, on October 4, 1928, he was the fifth generation of Stephens to live in Mt. Olive Township.

Roger attended school at the Flanders Elementary School on Main Street. He then attended Roxbury High School and graduated in 1947.

Roger was hired as a patrol officer on June 19, 1950 at age twenty two. Roger also married his wife, June B. Smith, in 1950. Rogerís father, John B. Stephens, served the township as Constable until 1952.

During the early part of Rogerís career he attended the N.J. State Police Academy which was then located in West Trenton. He also attended various police courses taught at the Morris County Police Academy which was then located in Madison.

In 1951, Roger was one of four officers working for the police department. The others included Elmer van Demark, Gordon Hildebrant and Chief John Connelly. Roger, who was promoted to Sergeant in 1956, was the first Police Sergeant in the departmentís history.

When Chief Connelly left the department in 1967, Roger was left in charge. After a brief wait, Roger was appointed Chief of Police. He remained in that position until he retired in 1979. During his tenure, Chief Stephens led the department as it grew from four officers to a twenty eight officers. He also implemented many changes that are still a part of the department to this day.

Roger began the departmentís first detective bureau and traffic unit. He also instituted a formal testing procedure for the hiring of future officers. As the department grew under Chief Stephens, he also made promotions to newly needed ranks. Andrew Brown was promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant and Carl Juhls was promoted from Lieutenant to Captain. These ranks were firsts instituted by Chief Stephens.

Chief Stephens also belonged to many professional organizations associated with police work. They included: International Police Chiefís Association, N.J. State Police Chiefís Association, Morris County Police Chiefís Association and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 18, of which he was also the treasurer.

In his personal life, Roger served the residents of Mt. Olive by volunteering as a member of the Budd Lake First Aid Squad and the Budd Lake Fire Department. He was a charter member and treasurer of the Mt. Olive Rotary, as well as a member of the Shrinerís and Mason organizations.

Roger and his wife June have two sons. Roger Jr. graduated with a masterís degree in Health and Physical Education from Trenton State College. Kevin graduated from the University of New Hampshire and also received an M.B.A. from Boston College.

During his life, Roger and his wife June traveled to many different places including Spain, Portugal, Tangiers, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas. They continue to spend their winters in Palm Beach County, Florida.


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