By John Burton
SHREWSBURY – Louis G. Ferraro, a more than two-decade veteran of the borough police department, has been made the new police chief.
Ferraro, 44, has been serving as the acting chief since March when outgoing Chief John Wilson planned for his retirement, which became effective Sept. 30.
For Ferraro, taking over the helm turned out to be a natural extension of his experience as an officer and resident. He has been on the job for more than 22 years and has been just about a lifelong borough resident.
“I grew up here,” said Ferraro, who continues to live in Shrewsbury with his wife of 20 years and his four kids – two teenage daughters and twin sons in the elementary school.
Over the course of his career he was a patrol officer for about seven years, worked in the detective bureau and in administrative roles for about 15 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant.
“I’ve been fortunate to be involved in every step of the organization,” he said.
His longstanding connection to the community is what has laid the foundation for what he will emphasize as the borough’s top cop.
“It’s the community policing side of it, that’s what I’m all about,” he said.
Community policing is “knowing people by name and having them know us by name. That’s important to me and to us,” he said.
He plans to continue what past chiefs have been doing: reaching out to community and educational groups, first to introduce himself as chief and to be sure they realize he and the department are here to assist.
“Basically, it’s interacting with the community, seeing what we can do better,” he said. “We can’t do it alone.”
On that front he plans to continue the tradition of having department members play soccer and basketball with the local school kids. He will continue his regular trips to the elementary school where he reads to first and second graders.
Those are the parts of his job that he finds rewarding and beneficial in the long run.
The 15-member department stays busy answering approximately 11,000 calls for service a year. The roughly 2.2-square-mile community uses its 12-officer patrol division in four squads consisting of a sergeant and two officers. They answer calls “that run the realm from the mundane to the very serious,” he said.
The borough is surrounded by busy traffic thoroughfares – Route 35, Sycamore Avenue, Newman Springs Road and Shrewsbury Avenue – and that means there are constant calls for auto accidents, injuries and vehicle stops.
“Traffic safety is a huge part of what we do,” he said.
Along with traffic issues, there is a senior complex and the Meridian rehabilitation facility in town. Adding to the mix is a busy and rather large retail and commercial component to the community that rely on local police to respond to the numerous calls they generate, such as reports of shoplifting, fraud and disturbances.
“It makes up a lot of what we have to address,” he said.
In high school he considered pursuing a career in wildlife management on the enforcement side, as a game warden, because of his love of the outdoors. He remains an avid hunter. But when the opportunity arose, he decided to apply to the borough police department.
He said serving his home community was part of that decision, but another big part was, “it was a decision based upon a career.
“For me it was about a steady career and a good job,” he said.
It’s a job he has enjoyed and, if any of his children express an interest in doing police work, he would “encourage them to do it. I would encourage them whatever they wanted to do.”