Cpl. Jen McLaughlin retires, holds final radio call 

‘Perfect for the job’ according to former Chief and Mayor

Long time Cpl Jen McLaughlin was honored last week for her decades of service to the Gloucester Township Police Department. McLaughlin’s retirement ceremony displayed how vital she was to the force during her time as a police officer, including becoming the first officer to lead the Community Outreach Bureau.

On April 20, the Gloucester Township police department and Mayor David Mayer honored Cpl. Jen McLaughlin for her formal retirement, celebrating her with a ceremony and final radio call. 

McLaughlin had been a police officer with the department for over 20 years, most recently serving as a community relations officer.

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She was one of the first officers to be a part of the community relations department and someone Chief David Harkins said “was perfect for the job”.

Prior to becoming a police officer, McLaughlin served as an EMT (emergency medical technician) for the Erial and Blackwood EMS (emergency medical service) squad which she did from 1994 to 1998. She was then hired as a provisional sheriff’s officer by the Camden County Sheriff’s office in 2003. Finally she was hired by the Gloucester Township Police Department (GTPD) in 2004, attending the Camden County Police Academy.

“Most of all, I recognize (Jen’s) tenacity and dedication when she was just meeting with someone in the community who was in need,” Harkins said while introducing McLaughlin at the ceremony. “Jen excelled in this because she cares, because of the person that she is, and she cared about all of those people that she served as well as all of those that she served with.

“Congratulations on your retirement Jen.” 

Mayer also congratulated McLaughlin on her retirement. He spoke about the introduction of the Community Relations Bureau in the department and how it was introduced around the same time he assumed his role as mayor. Mayer says the community relations department was one of the best ideas he remembers being a part of.

“You have had such a tremendous impact on this department and this community. I can remember 13 years ago when I first became mayor meeting with Former Chief Harry Earle and then Deputy Chief Harkins about ways to grow our community. They got back to me with the recommendation of a community relations bureau….Chief Earle said to me ‘I really have the perfect person for the job, Jen McLaughlin,’” Mayer recalled. “I remember being with Jen and thinking all she does is smile, she’s so happy.”

The GTPD said in a statement:

“To say she has fulfilled this responsibility is an understatement. She defines the word ‘success’ when it comes to the Police-Community relationship. She has built powerful relationships with our church leaders, senior citizens, business owners, staff members and children throughout our school system, members of our police department and so many others. Her position and dedication played an integral part to the success of our department.”

McLaughlin offered up some words of gratitude, laughing at her inability to begin the speech without shedding a few tears.

“Everyone knows I’m a crier,” said McLaughlin, with a laugh. She began by telling the story of her early days as an EMT, before considering police work aided by her grandmother and grandmother’s boyfriend.

“My gram turned to me (one day) and told me ‘If you want to be a police officer, I know you can do it. You’re very strong minded.’ Rocky, my grandma’s boyfriend then chimed in to support my gram’s comments, telling me all of the ‘cool stuff’ about policing. I now know that [the cool stuff] is not at all what policing is about.” McLaughlin said.

Throughout her retirement speech McLaughlin thanked former deputies, chiefs of police, her first patrol team, the EMS crew she began with, expressing thanks to her family for being there for her throughout. 

“Mom, thank you for being vocal with your thoughts…..Dad you have the best work ethic of anyone I know,” she said while thanking her parents for shaping her into an independent worker on her own. 

“Thank you for being the most supportive husband you could be,” she said to her husband Bob, sitting in the front row.

“You came into my life later but I believe God made our paths cross paths at the perfect time. I’m looking forward to retirement with you, living our best life with our (pet) goats in Florida.” 

To see more pictures and videos from the ceremony visit the GTPD Facebook page.

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