The Bergen County Traffic Police was started in 1917 when the Board of Chosen Freeholders appointed Arthur “Bert” Bredin, as the lone Police Officer to regulate the increasing traffic on County roads. Initial duties included monitoring the condition of County Roads for safety and reporting any defects to the County Road Department and County Engineer. In 1918 George Shafer was added to assist Peter Siccardi with police duties. In 1921 the County Freeholders expanded the Police Department to eight members – a Chief, Lieutenant, and six Patrolmen. All Officers performed their duties on Harley Davidson motorcycles. During this early period of the Bergen County Traffic Police, enforcement centered on speeders, weight limits on county bridges, as well as monitoring and providing assistance to all local police departments with basic police service.
In 1924 the Department was increased to twelve men. The Bergen County Traffic Police Headquarters was located in a single-family house on the corner of Hudson, Essex and Main Street, Hackensack (this building has since been demolished) on the same location as the old County Administration Building.
In 1928 the Bergen County Police Department became the first department in the United States to have an Aerial Police. A Fokker biplane, built in Teterboro, was donated to the Police. On September 2, 1931 Officer LoPresti and a passenger crash landed in the Teterboro airfield, totally wrecking the biplane. The Freeholders refused to pay for the repair or replacement of the aircraft and the era of the first Aerial Police came to an end.
Another “first” occurred when the Bergen County Police became the first department in the State of New Jersey to use a two way communication system. The call letters WPFK operated on frequency 2430 kilocycles with a 250 watt power output. The Department also started making its move to patrolling in automobiles. The motorcycle was slowly being phased out of everyday police work.
Since those early days the Bergen County Police Department has been able to offer support services to all of the Bergen County municipalities. Some of those services include a Water Search and Recovery Team (SCUBA), a Bomb Squad, a Barricaded Subject and Hostage Negotiations team (SWAT), and a Traffic Safety Division. The Department also fields a group of investigators that work in conjunction with the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Prosecutor’s Office in the investigation of sudden deaths. A Canine (K-9) Squad also assists departments in the investigation of burglary, narcotics, and arson incidents. A Criminal Investigations Division offers support services to the Patrol Division and also investigates any criminal activity that occurs within any County building, office, road or park. There has been continual cooperation with County, State and Federal agencies and all the special squads of the Bergen County Police Department.