Perhaps this weekend, when he finally has some downtime and nothing on his calendar for next week, William Hanstein will do a little research to find a vacation spot. A warm weather destination is always nice this time of year.
But Hanstein, the Deptford Township police chief, hasn’t done any preliminary planning. Intead, he’ll work every last hour inside the department until he’s no longer working at all.
After 32 years on the force, Hanstein is retiring this week. On March 1, Capt. Kevin Pancoast will officially be promoted to chief of police.
“I think it’s just time to move on and do something different,” Hanstein said. “I’ve been a cop my whole life. It’s time to let someone new work their way up the ranks and put their spin on things.”
Hanstein, 52, began his law enforcement career with the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Department in 1987. He joined Deptford three years later, and said he’s held every role imaginable within the department.
“It pretty much started right out of high school,” said Hanstein, a 1985 graduate of Deptford Township High School.
Hanstein, who has a law enforcement degree from Gloucester County College and a master’s of administrative science from Fairleigh Dickinson, was promoted to chief in 2013. At the time, his goal was to improve community policing.
Looking back on the last 5 ½ years, Hanstein is content with what he and his fellow officers have accomplished.
“Our community police work has gotten a lot of recognition, they’re out in the public and known on a first-name basis,” Hanstein said. “I’m proud of that. And it wasn’t just me, it’s the whole department. They connected to the community. They bought into what we were trying to do and made it work.”
Hanstein, a Deptford native who has coached youth sports and served as a volunteer firefighter, too, will get to spend more time with family when his retirement becomes official this week. His oldest daughter, Rachel, has a film degree from Rowan University, while his youngest, Paige, a senior at Gateway High School, will enroll at The College of New Jersey next fall to study criminology.
And perhaps Hanstein will carve out some time to get away for some much-deserved rest and relaxation after serving the public for more than three decades.
“I’m not sure yet, I’ve been working up to the last minute here on projects,” Hanstein said of where he might like to go. “I haven’t taken a vacation in years, so I’ll take some time off and then take some time to see what’s next, a new project, something a little bit different. I’ll always have a connection here. When you’re a cop for so long, it’s a part of you. I love what I do and always have.”