NORTH WILDWOOD — Matt Gallagher became the city’s police chief during a Wednesday morning ceremony in City Hall.
Gallagher, a veteran local police officer, was sworn in by Municipal Court Judge Louis Belasco as a standing-room-only crowd of family, friends and fellow law enforcement officers looked on.
Gallagher, 49, said he wasn’t one to make speeches, but he thanked the community for coming out to the brief event.
Gallagher, a graduate of Atlantic Community College and North Wildwood’s Wildwood Catholic High School, joined the department in 1987. He held various ranks before being named deputy chief in 2012.
Mayor Bill Henfey called him the city’s “very deserving Deputy Chief Matt Gallagher” before the oath was administered.
“I have the utmost confidence that we have the best chief in Cape May County,” Henfey said to the council chambers full of police officers. “Sorry, guys.”
Gallagher, a married father of two, had his youngest daughter, Kaci, 15, pin his chief’s badge on his uniform.
Henfey said he expected Gallagher would continue the work of retiring Chief Robert Matteucci, whose retirement took effect Wednesday.
“He has big shoes to fill, and he’s going to fill them,” Henfey said.
Matteucci joined the department as a seasonal officer in 1977, became a full-time officer in November 1978 and eventually earned the rank of chief in October 2005.
“I’m certainly going to miss the day-to-day interaction with the chief,” Henfey said, crediting Matteucci with focusing the department on quality-of-life issues.
“We want people to feel safe. We want a safe community,” Henfey added.
Matteucci will continue to serve as the town's municipal emergency management coordinator.
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