Roberts retires as police chief, Dispenza takes reins in Freehold Borough

FREEHOLD – Following a quarter century of serving and protecting the community, Freehold Borough’s police chief has retired.

Glenn Roberts retired as chief of the Freehold Borough Police Department on March 1. He served as chief for almost nine years.

The Borough Council has named Craig Dispenza the municipality’s new police chief, effective March 1. Prior to being named chief, Dispenza served as a captain in the police department and was the second highest ranking officer after Roberts.

Roberts joined the police department as a patrolman in March 1994. He was promoted to sergeant in 2002 and to lieutenant in 2009. Following the retirement of Police Chief Mitch Roth, Roberts was appointed by the council as the police department’s Officer in Charge. He was named police chief in 2011.

During a recent council meeting, Councilman George Schnurr noted that during Roberts’ tenure as chief, the crime rate in the borough was significantly lowered.

“There is one crime statistic that really speaks to the leadership of our police department,” Schnurr said. “We had an unprecedented reduction in the crime rate from 53.2 percent per 1,000 in 1996 all the way down to 14.7 percent per 1,000 in 2015.

“On top of that, our police department has also been accredited. You have to drive about 90 minutes from here to find another police department that has done both of those things. My hat is off to our police chief,” Schnurr said.

Roberts reflected on his time in the police department and as chief.

“Since submitting my retirement papers, I have had some time to reflect on my 25 years of
service to the borough,” he said. “I think of all the people I have encountered over the years, the life lessons I have learned, the good and bad times I experienced and what it took the get the job done and ensure the safety of the community.

“The one thing I realized is that it was always a cooperative effort between different law enforcement agencies, civic groups, our own borough employees, the governing body, the public and our own officers that enabled me to get the job done.

“I would like to thank the mayors, past and present, the governing body, all the borough employees and the men and women of the police department for everyone’s support and assistance over the last eight-and-a-half years that I have been in charge,” Roberts said.

“We have seen our proactive police work increase, our internal affairs complaints drop to record lows, a significant decline in our crime rate, a positive working relationship with the PBA and our popularity with the public soar as demonstrated by our Facebook following and our agency being voted one of the best police departments in Monmouth County last year.

“I will miss being a police officer, but what I will miss even more is interacting with the public on many levels. … My one parting goal was to leave this great police department in better shape than when I took over.

“There are a few things I did not get to finish, but I think I have accomplished my goal and have everything in place for a smooth transition … It has been my honor and a privilege to serve this community and I will always be available to the administration for any assistance they may need and will always have a special place in my heart for Freehold Borough,” Roberts said.