Fountain named Manalapan chief

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By Mark Rosman
Staff Writer

MANALAPAN – There has been a changing of the guard at the Manalapan Police Department.

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During the March 30 meeting of the Township Committee, officials announced that Police Chief Chris Marsala would retire on March 31. He served with the police department for more than 25 years.

Marsala became Manalapan’s police chief on May 1, 2012, succeeding Lou Moreto. Before being named chief, Marsala served as a captain and commander of the Operations Division.

After announcing Marsala’s retirement, the committee members passed a resolution naming Deputy Chief Michael Fountain as Manalapan’s new police chief, effective April 1.

Mayor Mary Ann Musich, Deputy Mayor Susan Cohen, Committeeman Jack McNaboe and Committeeman David Kane voted yes on the resolution. Committeeman Jordan Maskowitz was absent from the meeting.

Fountain was promoted from captain to deputy chief on March 2, 2015. He has 21 years of service with the department. As deputy chief, Fountain remained the commander of the Operations Division and assisted Marsala with the day-to-day operations of the police department.

According to Manalapan’s municipal code, the deputy chief and, in some cases, lieutenants and captains, may apply for the position of police chief. At this time, Fountain was the only member of the police department who was eligible to succeed Marsala, according to municipal officials.

Members of the committee thanked Marsala for his service to the community and wished him well in his retirement.

“I want to let our residents know that our police department has depth and is ready to carry on, even with the departure of a veteran officer,” McNaboe said.

Fountain said that as Manalapan’s police chief, “The main focus is maintaining the efficient and effective operation of the department overall, maintaining constructive relationships with the public and the elected leaders, and ensuring that the mission of the police department is being carried out by all of our members.”

Asked what challenges and/or opportunities the police department will face over the next five years, he said, “I feel our department has the opportunity to further strengthen our long-established strong relationship with the community. The public’s view of law enforcement in the country has been strained in some instances as a result of some unfortunate incidents.

“I am certain the members of our agency will maintain the level of professionalism they have always displayed and the community overall will continue to be supportive of their police department. We have always welcomed challenges and have always acted upon the changes needed to continue to have a successful relationship with our community,” Fountain said.

The new chief said the possibility of reaching the top spot in the police department developed over time during his 20-year career in Manalapan.

“I think most law enforcement officers who have a passion for their profession always aspire to progress in the department and to meet additional challenges during their career. For me, it was a combination of desire to take on additional responsibilities, learning and watching the command leaders I worked for, good timing and the men and women who work in the department inspiring me to keep trying to reach the position. As I progressed up the rank structure, it became more of a reality for me with each promotion,” Fountain said.

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