Cranbury Township Committee members celebrated the service of Police Chief Rickey Varga, whose retirement went into effect on Sept. 30.
Through a resolution at a township committee meeting on Sept. 28, committee members recognized Varga and his 29 years of service in the Cranbury Police Department.
“It is bittersweet that you are leaving. We were lucky to have you,” Mayor Matt Scott said in addressing Varga during the virtual meeting.
Varga became a patrol officer in the police department during 1991. His interview to secure a spot as a new officer within the department did not start out as smooth a Varga would have liked back in 1991, he said.
“I was with the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office on a cold winter day in 1991. I was called to take a prisoner to the hospital, there was a fight. I told them I had plans the next morning which was for the Saturday interview in Cranbury,” Varga said. “I lived in Plainsboro Township at the time and I did not have time to get changed. I ran right into Cranbury Police headquarters and walked in about 25 minutes late and said well looks like I blew this interview. From there the interview went well and next thing I knew I got the phone call and on April 15, I started my career in Cranbury Township.”
He would rise through the ranks from sergeant to captain and would be tapped as Cranbury’s next chief of police in 2010.
“The thing that I cherish the most is the ability to work in a community that has worked with me and I have worked with. Some people say it’s a job, some people say well the officers you’re with are your family, but Cranbury was a life,” Varga said. “It was not just a job and was not just family. It is sad to be turning that page and walking away. I will always have the memories and the friendships. Cranbury will always be a part of me.”
Varga has served on Cranbury’s Municipal Alliance Committee and as Office of Emergency Management coordinator. He is credited with implementing a traffic safety plan, which included the reinstatement of the Traffic Safety Bureau within the department.
He would also work with the Cranbury School on various initiatives revolving around safety and security during his tenure, according to the resolution.
“I think the best thing about being on the township committee with you as chief of police was just knowing that you had it all covered. You have just built a level of mentorship and stewardship of the staff that just meant we have always had things covered,” Deputy Mayor Mike Ferrante said. “You have done a great job and set the standard.”
In addition to his service in Cranbury, Varga served as the president of the Middlesex County Association of Chiefs of Police, was on the executive board of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police and currently has served on the State Legislative Committee.
“I just want to thank everybody from the township committee, to the township employees, to my officers, my family and everyone who has been there for me over the years,” Varga said. “It has just been a crazy wild ride and have loved every minute of it. I know moving forward that Chief Michael Owens is going to do an amazing job. He is well prepared and ready to go. The department and community are not going to miss a beat.”