North Plainfield’s Beginning
Nestled in the northeast corner of
Somerset County lies the small borough of North Plainfield. It is
bordered on the northwest by the first ridge of the Watchung Mountains
and, on the south and east, the Green Brook provides a natural boundary
between Union and Somerset Counties. Rock Avenue, on the west, divides
the towns of North Plainfield and Green Brook.
Flowing through the town are two main
waterways, the Green Brook, as mentioned, and the Stony Brook. These two
streams now quietly flowing through the Boro were once an important
source of power and because of the rich, fertile soil along their banks
many early settlers made this area their home.
Originally, Somerset County operated as
a single township. In 1769, by Royal Charter, Bernards Township was
formed out of the northern precinct of the county. On March 5, 1806,
Warren was created as a separate township composed of the present day
North Plainfield, Warren, Green Brook and Watchung.
On April 2, 1872, an Act of the New
Jersey Legislature was passed, which divided North Plainfield Township
from the Township of Warren. This new township included the towns of
North Plainfield, Watchung and Green Brook. The boundaries of this new
township were set up in the Act, known as Assembly No. 113. North
Plainfield was set off from the Township in the year 1885, Watchung in
the year 1926, and Green Brook in 1932.
With the birth of the Borough came the
birth of a Police Department. In the beginning the department boasted
a force of one. At that time the peace officer was known as Marshall.
The first Marshall was Peter B. Weaver. In addition to enforcing the
law, the Marshall lit the gas street lamps every night. Prisoners were
kept in a wooden jail located on Lincoln Place.
At one time police headquarters, with a
court room and jail, were located in the Warren Engine Co. Fire
Department at 223 Somerset Street. By 1916 the department moved to a
building on the site of the Municipal Rotunda. In 1937 the department
moved to its present quarters.
A teletype machine was installed in 1954
allowing the department to receive police alarms. To send alarms, the
department had to contact Morristown State Police. The same year the
department purchased a radar speed timer. The purpose of radar is to
eliminate the risks of chasing a speeder in a police car.
During the second term of Mayor Newton
B. Smalley, Marshall George Weiss was appointed Police Chief. The
residents of the Borough can be proud of the progress made by the Police
Department in the past one hundred years. From a one man force to
today’s modern efficient law enforcement agency. The Force has grown to
48 sworn Officers with the assistance of 4 civilian dispatchers and 4
The Police Department is in the final
stages of obtaining, Police Chief William G. Parenti announced
that a team of assessors administered by the Commission on Accreditation
for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), will arrive in the Borough
on Sunday October 1, 2006. The assessors will examine all components of
the Police Department’s policies, procedures, management, operations,
and support services. The accreditation program requires police
agencies to comply with modern police standards in four basic areas:
policy and procedures, administration, operations and support services.
The North Plainfield Police Department is voluntarily submitting to the
process of verification by the assessment team confident that the
Department meets all CALEA law enforcement standards in obtaining
accredited status. Chief Parenti said, “Obtaining accredited status is
a highly prized recognition, that demonstrates what I have always known;
the North Plainfield Police Department is a representation of law
enforcement professional excellence.”