Only Woman to Lead Police Force in Monmouth County, Among 13 Female Top Cops in New Jersey

BELMAR, NJ — Belmar will make history on February 9 when Police Capt. Tina Scott becomes the borough’s first female police chief in a special ceremony that is expected to gain widespread attention.

Scott will join 12 other female police chiefs in New Jersey and will become the only woman to currently lead a municipal police department in Monmouth County, according to the New Jersey State Police Chiefs Association.

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Belmar Mayor Mark Walsifer announced Scott’s promotion at last night’s council meeting. “Our captain, Tina Scott, had the (civil service) testing for the chief’s spot, and I want to congratulate her. She did a wonderful job meeting all the criteria to become chief of police,” he said, bringing a round of applause from those in attendance.

“It is an honor and privilege to be the chief of the Belmar Police Department,” said Scott, a 19-year veteran of the borough’s force. “The Belmar Police Department has become an outstanding department due to past leadership, and I am committed to continue in this direction of excellence. I look forward to working with everyone in Belmar and Lake Como to ensure the safety and quality of life for all residents, businesses and visitors of this area. “

Scott will take the helm of this seashore community’s 25-member police force, which adds another 80 special officers during the busy summer season. Under a shared services agreement, Belmar’s force also patrols neighboring Lake Como, where the news of Scott’s appointment was warmly welcomed during its council meeting as well.

Former Belmar Police Chief Andrew Huisman, who retired last month, offered words of praise for his successor. “Policing has certainly changed over the years and being a police chief is certainly a difficult task. This is a great day for the Belmar Police Department and the residents of Belmar and Lake Como,” he said.

In commending the mayor and council on their decision to make the promotion, he added, “Tina Scott is a true leader who will continue to improve the public safety of both towns while addressing community concerns. (She) has national leadership abilities and will undoubtedly promote positive policing for the residents and the Belmar Police Department.”

Belmar Business Administrator Edward Kirschenbaum, who previously served in the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and as public safety director for Neptune City, said he has known Scott since she began her law enforcement career in Belmar.

“I think this is fantastic,” he said about her promotion,” I have had the fortune of working with Tina (over the years and in Belmar) in certain situations and I’m excited for her. She will do an excellent job and I look forward to working with her.”

Because of the appointment’s significance to the borough, Scott’s swearing-in will be held at 3 p.m. on February 9 in the Belmar Elementary School’s auditorium in order to accommodate a large gathering that Walsifer expects will include many local, county and state dignitaries.

A retired Belmar police detective himself, Walsifer recalled conducting Scott’s background check before she joined the force as a police officer in August 2001 after serving for several months as a special officer with the now-defunct South Belmar (Lake Como) Police Department,

Since then, she has risen through the ranks, spending her first 10 years in the patrol division until joining the detective bureau for two years. In May 2011, she was promoted to sergeant and two years later became a lieutenant before she was elevated to captain in July 2016.

Scott is three-time graduate of the Monmouth County Police Academy in Freehold, where she completed special officer and police officer training. She also has completed courses and training in basic patrol techniques, investigative skills, narcotics investigations, drug enforcement and police management, as well as to serve as a school resource officer. She also is a 2014 graduate of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police Command and Leadership Academy.

During her tenure with the department, Scott has become a familiar face in the community, taking a particular interest in activities involving children’s safety, including spearheading bicycle helmet giveaways at community events throughout the years.

In addition to Scott taking the oath as police chief on February 9, Detective Michael Yee, an eight-year member the force, will be elevated to sergeant, and James Groome will become a police officer after serving as a special officer since 2016.

Police Detective/Capt. Thomas Cox was the only other Belmar officer eligible for the chief’s post, but did not take the required civil service examination, Walsifer said.