LIVINGSTON, NJ — After nearly 40 years on the Livingston Police Department and nearly 10 years as its chief, Livingston Police Chief Craig Handschuch officially announced his retirement on Wednesday, effective Sept. 1.
According to the township, Handschuch will celebrate 40 years with the department on Aug. 7 and 10 years as chief on Aug. 3, achieving two milestones prior to his retirement.
In announcing his retirement, Handschuch said it has been “an extreme honor serving with the Livingston Police Department for the past 40 years.”
“I have had the opportunity to serve with the finest men and women in law enforcement during my tenure,” he said. “As a lifelong resident of Livingston, I have had the privilege to serve my hometown and a community of outstanding residents.”
In addition to keeping the township safe, Handschuch said his focus over the past 10 years as chief has been to strengthen the partnership between the police department and the community with a variety of new and innovative programs. He also said he aimed to provide “the latest technology to [Livingston] officers to assist them with their daily responsibilities and to keep them as safe as possible.”
“I am extremely thankful to have fulfilled a lifelong dream in such a rewarding profession,” Handschuch. said. “I want to thank my family for all of their unending support throughout the years.”
Livingston Mayor Ed Meinhardt expressed appreciation for Handschuch’s four decades of service, stating that the entire council and all Livingston residents are “indebted to Craig Handschuch, and his family, for his lifetime of service in protecting our community.”
“Public service, particularly in public safety, requires commitment and sacrifice, and to do so for four decades deserves special recognition,” he said.
Township Manager Barry Lewis added that in his few months in this position, he quickly learned about the “incredible level of dedication and sense of community that exists” in Livingston, and that Handschuch is “a prime example of those qualities.”
“In addition to dedicating 40 years to serving and protecting our residents as a member and leader of the police department, he has also devoted much of his life to volunteering with the fire department and in other roles to serve his community,” said Lewis. “Under his 10 years of leadership as chief, Craig and the department carried on the longstanding tradition of excellence in public safety and, while there are big shoes to fill, I am confident that the department is prepared to continue to provide our community with the same level of public safety professionalism that it has come to expect.”
Handschuch and his wife, Sue, have raised two sons in Livingston. In addition to his distinguished law enforcement career and serving for decades as a member of the Livingston Volunteer Fire Department, he also served the community in many other ways, such as being a Cub Scout leader and serving on the Livingston Municipal Alliance Committee.
According to the township, Handschuch was first appointed as a Patrol Officer on Aug. 8, 1978 after initially starting as a “Chanceman” in the department. He was assigned to the Detective Bureau in 1984, promoted to Patrol Sergeant in 1987 and returned to the Detective Bureau as a Detective Sergeant in 1988.
Handschuch was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1997, serving as a detective lieutenant, before being promoted to captain in November 2005. He reached the pinnacle of his career with his appointment as Livingston Police Chief on Sept. 1, 2008.
In addition, Handschuch has served as the township’s Emergency Management Coordinator, in charge of the Office of Emergency Management, since 2008.
At various times throughout his career, Handschuch also served as president of the Livingston PBA, president of the Essex County Detectives Association, as a member of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office on the Arson Task Force and the Essex-Union Auto Theft Task Force and as an instructor at the Division of Criminal Justice Academy. He also belongs to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police and the Essex County Chiefs of Police Association.
In 2013, Handschuch’s colleagues in the Essex County Chiefs of Police Association recognized him with the association’s highest honor, naming him the “Essex County Law Enforcement Executive of the Year.”