Hillsborough honors township’s very first police officer, former police chief with portrait

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Hillsborough Police Chief Donald Dowches’ portrait now hangs in the Hillsborough Township Committee and municipal court chambers.

Mayor Shawn Lipani joined Police Chief Mike McMahon, Committee members, Dowches’ granddaughter Allison and Saranya Shiva-Shanker, a junior at Hillsborough High School, to unveil the portrait at a Committee meeting on Jan. 10.

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Police Chief Donald Dowches. PHOTO COURTESY OF HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP

Saranya was commissioned to paint the portrait with the guidance of her instructor Kevin Murphy at the Art Academy in Hillsborough.

Dowches passed away in November 2021. He was Hillsborough’s first police officer.

“If you’ve been in this room enough times, there are (over 250 years’ worth of) important figures in Hillsborough,” Lipani said. “We decided we needed to add a fresh face to the wall.”

After much deliberation, Lipani said Dowches was selected.

Police Chief Donald Dowches. PHOTO COURTESY OF HILLSBOROUGH PBA 205
Police Chief Donald Dowches. PHOTO COURTESY OF HILLSBOROUGH PBA 205

Dowches’ granddaughter Allison said if her grandfather were alive, he would have loved to have been at the unveiling saying Hillsborough had a “dear spot” in his heart.

“Being chief of police was a foundational part of who he was, and I know he loved his colleagues and the other police officers,” she said. “As a kid, I always remembered the police chatter on the scanner on at the house at all times.”

Saranya said she was honored to have been commissioned to paint the portrait of Dowches and commemorate his memory and all that he did for the township.

“It was a very rewarding learning experience,” she said.

McMahon thanked Hillsborough officials for honoring Dowches.

“He obviously has got a very special place in history of the Hillsborough Police Department,” he said. “Being the first police officer ever is a memory that can’t be replaced.”

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