HomeCinnaminson News'This was way more than a job to me'

‘This was way more than a job to me’

Retiring police chief has had two-decade career with Cinnaminson police

After 24 years in law enforcement, Cinnaminson Police Chief Rich Calabrese has decided to retire on May 31.

Calabrese announced his retirement on the department’s Facebook page last week.

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“I want to thank my beautiful wife, Cynthia Calabrese, for always being my rock, and my family for dealing with not having daddy home all the time,” the chief shared in the post. “I also want to thank my extended family (the Cinnaminson community), who has been the reason why I do what I do.

“Love and respect to everyone.”

“(The) Cinnaminson community will always have a special place in my heart,” Calabrese added. “This was way more than a job to me. Cinnaminson is my family….always will be.”

Calabrese has been with the township police for 20 years. He was appointed chief in 2019 and is the sixth department head in Cinnaminson’s history, according to the township website. The establishment of a new chief role that same year marked the end of an eight-year stretch for the township without someone at the helm.

The township switched to a director of public safety arrangement in 2011, after a number of senior police officers retired.

After serving in the Marines between 1989 and 1993, Calabrese started his law-enforcement career in 2000 with the Camden County park police, then moved on to the Bridgeton City Police Department. He joined the Cinnaminson force in 2004, spending eight years as a detective specializing in computer forensic investigations before his promotion to the rank of sergeant in 2015.

Calabrese was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 2017 and named internal affairs commander. He became the department’s officer in charge in August of that year.

Calabrese earned his bachelor’s degree in individualized studies and a master’s degree in administrative science from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is a graduate of the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Mid-Atlantic Training at Princeton University, the Rutgers University Certified Public Manager Program and the New Jersey State Chiefs of Police Command and Leadership Program.

Calabrese also graduated from the School of Police Staff and Command at Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety in 2021. He is also a New Jersey State Chiefs of Police Accredited Command Executive.

During his tenure in Cinnaminson, Calabrese committed to building mutual trust and respect in the community. Last year, the township’s Temple Sinai honored him for those efforts, and as chief for half a decade – and during his overall tenure in the department – he’s made it a point to curate long-term relationships with residents.

Calabrese has supported township initiatives, been present at events and dealt with issues that have affected the municipality, including cracking down on boom parties along the Delaware River. Those efforts have made him a staple in Cinnaminson.

“It’s comforting and humbling at the same time to know that the fruits of your labor are being appreciated by the people you serve,” noted Calabrese, who was sworn in as president of the Burlington County Police Chiefs Association in January.

“It’s one thing to go out there and make sure everything is being done properly, but sometimes a simple thank you goes a long way. It reaffirms the positive relationships that we have with the community.”

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