GREEN BROOK, NJ – For the past 25 years, G. Christopher Kurz has been dedicated to serving the Green Brook community. Kurz joined the Green Brook Police Department in January 1990 and, over the years, moved up the ranks, taking over as Chief in June 2014.
“I was in my late teens and deciding what I wanted to do. I took a couple of accounting courses and then came to a quick realization that, while there is nothing wrong with accounting, it was not for me,” said Kurz. “Then I saw a classified ad looking for a police dispatcher and became intrigued.”
Kurz began his career in Green Brook as a dispatcher, working under former Chief Roy Baughman in communications for a year. “I fell in love with the profession, the interaction with people and the problem solving. I wanted to be able to help people who needed assistance or who were either on the wrong path or needing a way out of their current situation,” said Kurz, who went on to attend what was then known as the Union County Police Academy (now John H. Stamler Police Academy). He graduated first in his class earning the Academic Achievement award and was hired as a patrolman for the Green Brook Police Department in 1991.
“In the academy, my love for this profession grew that much more,” he said. “Where other people go to college and focus on what their career is going to be, this was my focus.”
Over the first three years of his career, Kurz served as a patrol officer and, in 1993 became involved in investigations, his knack for following up on cases earning him a lateral move to the detective bureau. Five years later, Kurz was promoted to patrol sergeant and, in 1999, returned to investigations, serving as detective sergeant. In 2000, he was promoted to lieutenant and spent the next 14 years assisting with the day-to-day operations of the department, coordinating plans and budgets for various programs and introducing new uniforms, implementing new technologies and assisting with policy development. In July 2014 Kurz was sworn in as Chief, replacing Martin Rasmussen who retired after 32 years of service to the department.
Under Kurz’ leadership, the department, which includes 22 sworn officers, began utilizing dispatch services through Somerset County to enhance overall service and officer safety, and is currently looking into advances such as an ‘E-ticket’ program to reduce redundancy in operations. Additionally, Kurz has been extremely proactive in the community, implementing various community policing initiatives. In addition to hosting events such as last month’s National Night Out, Kurz has worked to increase the department’s presence in the community, most specifically through initiating programs such as foot patrols of the township’s elementary and middle schools and steering the focus of the department towards community interaction.
“It is so important to establish and promote communication between our officers and our residents and children. To me, community policing values are the core principles,” said Kurz, adding that he personally feels it is important for the department to be progressive not only in its interaction with the community but also in its own management, operations and tactics.
“Every day, my job when I walk in the door is to ensure that we are doing things for the betterment of the community and this department and that we are progressing.”
In 2015, said Kurz, it is essential that the Green Brook Police Department develop with the needs of the community and be willing to change and progress. “If you don't, you are destined to fail in your service and the responsibility of your officers,” said Kurz, adding that, since day one, he has taken on a philosophical approach when it comes to running the department. “For me, it has always been about making sure we are doing things the right way; that our officers have the resources they need to be effective, that the community is receiving the level of service needed to be safe and secure, and that our department is an asset to the community. That is our goal and that is what I strive for every day.”
In addition to serving the Green Brook Police Department for the past 25 years, Kurz has also served as a crisis negotiator for the Somerset County Emergency Response Team from 2008 to 2013 and was a lead instructor at the Somerset County Police Academy, teaching ‘Suspect Approach’ from 2002 to 2012. He is a member of the Somerset County Chiefs of Police Association and the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. Additionally, Kurz has earned numerous lifesaving awards and exceptional duty citations, and received the Green Brook Police Department Medal of Honor and the Somerset County 200 Club Valor Award for his actions during the pursuit and apprehension of several armed robbery suspects.
All accolades aside, Kurz said he couldn't ask for a better opportunity in law enforcement than to serve his career in Green Brook. “Since day one – 25 and a half years ago – I have always appreciated the efforts that the people in this town have put in to make it what it is,” he said. “To be able to contribute to that and to provide help and ensure that there is a level of safety and security for the residents is very rewarding to me. It is always a pleasure to work for a good town with good people.”