I’m writing this story of my dad’s life as a police officer because I am proud of him and he is too proud to write something about himself. My dad Joseph “Joe” was a Linden Police Officer for 37 years in Linden NJ, the town he grew up in. He graduated from Linden High School in 1956 and went directly into the US Navy. In 1960, he Joined the Linden Police Department (LPD) and a year later, married my mom, to whom he is still married. He has two sons both of whom are also career police officers.
Joe spent several years as a uniformed Patrol Officer before being assigned to the Traffic Bureau in 1967. It was in this assignment where he would, along with three other officers, save the life of a 22-month-old infant. Though this was the first life Joe would save, it would not be the last, as he would have a hand in saving the lives of four more people in his time on the job. He had an eventful career including an assignment to the City of Plainfield, NJ to help quell the civil unrest that took the life of a uniformed Plainfield Police Officer who was a beaten to death by a mob.
In 1968, Joe was awarded the Police Officer of the Year and then he was promoted to Detective a year later. In 1970, he was re-assigned to the new Special Investigations Unit (SIU) where he would successfully work scores of drug and organized crime investigations with his partner John Kimak. Joe and John also worked with the new Union County Prosecutors Narcotic Strike Force where they established a reputation as hardworking team players.
In 1972, Joe received a commendation for his work in solving a murder and arresting the suspect, the same year he went back to school at Union County College where he would receive his Associates Degree in Criminal Justice. In 1976, he was promoted to Sergeant and reassigned to the Patrol division. Soon thereafter he received another commendation for arresting a suspect in several rapes. Joe had an eventful three years back in Patrol gathering another commendation for the arrest of two armed robbers, one of whom he was nearly forced to shoot before he dropped his gun.
In 1979, Joe was reassigned back to SIU as a supervisor and in 1981 he was promoted to Detective Lieutenant. He stayed in SIU for another five years having a great time with the young narcs Frankie Leporino and Louie Stanicki before being moved into the position of Commander of the Detective Bureau in 1987. Joe remained as the Detective Bureau Commander for the next 10 years and was inducted into the New Jersey Legion of Honor in 1996. In 1997 he took a well-deserved retirement, moving to sunny South Carolina with his wife Beverly.
Joe Tempalsky is the most honest, hardworking, ethical cop I ever met in my 35 years on the job. He earned his retirement, but not a day goes by that he doesn’t miss the job, I can tell. He recently went on a ride-along and it was as if he never left and I’m sure he would gladly be back at work at LPD if he could. Joe is proud of his time as a Police Officer and we, his family, are proud of him. He gave his best to the Linden Police Department and he set a high bar for the rest of us.
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