Command Staff

Chief Michael Richards

Newton Police Chief Michael Richards

Chief Michael Richards

Chief Richards began his career with the Newton Police Department in 1989 as a full-time police dispatcher. After receiving training from the Passaic County Police Academy in 1992 to become a Class II Special Law Enforcement Officer, he performed foot patrol in the business district several hours per week in addition to his dispatching position. He then became a Patrolman in 1994 and served as the department’s first full-time Bike Patrol Officer. He attended the Somerset County Police Academy and graduated in June 1995. After graduation, he worked in the Patrol Division until he was assigned to the Detective Bureau in 2000. He served as a Detective until 2002 when he was made a Detective Sergeant and was responsible for supervising all criminal investigations. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 2006. Chief Richards is a Past-President of the Sussex County Detectives’ Association and he was the 2008 recipient of the William G. Geffken Detective of the Year award for outstanding accomplishments in investigative police work. Chief Richards served as President of the Sussex County PBA Local 138 for four years and he is a 2005 graduate of the West Point Command and Leadership Program where he was awarded the Chief Harry Wilde Academic Achievement Award for Academic Excellence. He was sworn in as the Chief of Police on November 5, 2010. Chief Richards is currently serving as President of the Sussex County Association of Chiefs of Police and is an active member of the NJ State Association of Chiefs of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He attended the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar and is a member of the FBI-LEEDA.

He has overall responsibility for the administration of the Police Department which includes but is not necessarily limited to the following:

  • General direction, control and administration
  • Planning responsibilities
  • External affairs
  • Personnel files and records
  • Rules, Regulations, Policies and Procedures
  • Research/Grants
  • Purchasing/procurement
  • Budget preparation

Chief Richards can be reached at (973) 383-2525 or

Lieutenant Mark Zappa

Support Services Division Commander

Lt. Mark Zappa

Lt. Mark Zappa

Lt. Mark Zappa began his employment with the Newton Police Department on May 16th, 1983 as a part-time communications dispatcher. In January of 1986 he was appointed as a Class II Special Officer after receiving the required training. His responsibilities included patrolling the Town of Newton’s business district and working special events to supplement the full time police officers. He was appointed to Patrolman on February 13th, 1989. He attended the Somerset County Police Academy and graduated in May of 1990. After graduation he was assigned to the Patrol Division. He was briefly assigned to the Detective Bureau and subsequently returned to the Patrol Division. While in the Patrol Division he received specialized training in motor vehicle accident investigation and reconstruction. He was part of Sussex County’s first Fatal Accident Response Team. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on September 11th, 2000 where he was a Patrol Supervisor. On March 13th, 2006 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.

Lt. Zappa’s responsibilities include:

  • Communications / 9-1-1
  • Supervision, scheduling and training of the 9-1-1 Communications Operators
  • Conduct background investigations on prospective 9-1-1 Communications Operators
  • Receive and investigate citizen complaints against 9-1-1 Communications Operators
  • Liaison to all agencies and municipalities that contract emergency telephone answering and/ or dispatching services with the Town of Newton
  • Regularly reviews all audio tape recordings of telephone and radio communications
  • Prepare audio recordings for evidence and/or pending court proceedings
  • Computer Network
  • Terminal Agency Coordinator (TAC)
  • Police Vehicle Maintenance
  • Police Equipment
  • Maintain the police vehicles’ mobile data terminals and in-car video recording system
  • Maintain the departments breath testing equipment
  • Maintain police, fire and EMS radio and communication equipment
  • Supervision and scheduling of school crossing guards
  • Conduct background investigations on school crossing guards
  • Serves as the department’s counter terrorism officer
  • Buildings and Grounds
  • Security in and around police headquarters
  • Certifies and monitors towing companies that tow for the police department
  • Department Liaison to the Office of Emergency Management
  • Maintaining records
  • Required Budgeting
  • Required Reporting

Lt. Zappa can be reached at (973) 383-2525 or

Lieutenant Robert Osborn

Operations Division Commander

Lt. Robert Osborn

Lt. Robert Osborn

Lt. Osborn graduated from York College of Pennsylvaniain 1988 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Shortly thereafter, he was hired by the Newton Police Department as a full-time police dispatcher. In December of 1990, he graduated from the Somerset County Police Academy where he was the recipient of the Chief Richard R. Ryan Physical Fitness Award for attaining the highest level of physical fitness during recruit training and the State of New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Certificate of Merit Award for being the recruit who, in the opinion of class members, displayed those qualities of scholarship and leadership that are indicative of exceptional future professional performance in law enforcement. For the next decade, he worked in the Patrol Division while also serving as the Department’s D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Officer before being assigned to the Detective Bureau in 2000. Lt. Osborn then became the Department’s first SRO (School Resource Officer)/Juvenile Detective before being promoted to Patrol Sergeant in 2002. Subsequently, he advanced to the rank of Lieutenant in 2006. Lt. Osborn is a Field Training Officer, in addition to being Past-Treasurer of the Sussex County PBA Local 138.

Lt. Osborn’s responsibilities include:

  • Supervision and Scheduling of Patrol Division/Special Officers
  • Serves as Public Information Officer (PIO)
  • Supervision of Traffic Bureau
  • Serves as Open Public Records Act (OPRA) Police Records Custodian
  • Performs Accident Report Review
  • Domestic Violence
  • Supervision, Scheduling, and/or Performing Departmental Training
  • Manages Outside Employment Scheduling, Escrow Accounts and Related Records
  • Planning and Supervision of Special Events
  • Municipal and State Court Liaison
  • Supervision of Court Discovery Process
  • Manages Employee Performance Evaluation System
  • Warrants and Subpoenas
  • Internal Affairs
  • Required Reporting
  • Department Records Management

Lt. Osborn can be reached at (973) 383-2525 or