CRANFORD, NJ — Newly installed Cranford Police Chief Ryan Greco’s roots in Cranford extend not only to his pre-school years, but four generations before that. So being installed as the 11th police chief in the township’s history had more significance than a career promotion for him.
“I am extremely humbled but excited about this new position,” Greco told LocalSource in an Oct. 27 interview. “My wife and I are lifelong residents of Cranford. In fact, a photo of the two of us hangs in my living room where we attended the Cranford pre-school program in 1979, both at the age of 3 years old.”
Greco’s connection to Cranford reaches beyond his wife and children, dating back to the 19th century when his wife’s great-great-grandfather was the mayor of Cranford in 1895.
“Both of our girls, Riley and Morgan, are currently enrolled in the Cranford school system,” he said. “I moved to a house two blocks from where I grew up, so we are well entrenched in Cranford.”
With Union County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Sheets administering the oath of office during the Oct. 24 Township Committee meeting, Greco had several county political heavyweights in attendance, including state Sen. Thomas Kean Jr., acting Union County Prosecutor Thomas Isenhour, former Chief Harry Wilde, fire Chief Daniel Czeh and other members of the Cranford Police Department.
“Cranford is a thriving, beautiful, safe community as a result of the hours of the men and women of the Cranford Police Department,” Greco said after taking the oath of office. “It is my distinct privilege to serve as your chief. It is my goal to provide necessary support, equipment and guidance as you continue to perform your duty safely, consistently and professionally.”
Greco stressed several priorities, including his department being engaged with all its residents through community policing.
“I think it is important to continue the already strong relationships with the community by solving problems as a team,” Greco told LocalSource on Oct. 27. “This will be accomplished through cooperation with the township committee, Cranford Board of Education and the various volunteer organizations throughout the township.”
Greco also has pledged emphasis on the opioid addiction that he says is expanding throughout the county and creeping into Cranford.
“We currently are not immune from the growing opioid epidemic,” Greco said. “As chief of police, one of my top priorities is to continue to address addiction through community engagement programs, innovate police response to addiction calls for services and new substance abuse prevention.
“There’s no one-step process to address this subject, but my commitment to the community and the township committee is to do everything in our power as law enforcement agencies to do everything to solve our problems.”
Greco joined the department in December 1999 after graduating from the John H. Stamler Police Academy in Scotch Plains. He began in the patrol division but climbed his way to the rank of detective in 2008, and detective sergeant in September 2014.
Cranford Deputy Mayor Patrick Giblin described Greco’s promotion as well-deserved, saying that the extensive application process included many candidates being interviewed during the span of a few weeks.
“It was certainly not an easy decision to make,” Giblin said. “As a Cranford resident and member of the Township Committee, I rest assured that there is a tremendous amount of love for the police department, love for the community and dedication to the badge. Chief, you’ve got a tremendous team behind you and I wish you nothing but the best.”