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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  The Column  >  The Department that Launched a Thousand Careers: Seaside Heights

The Column

Police and Law Enforcement News
Originally Posted
Sunday, February 5, 2011  11: 33 p.m.
Reposted April, 2014


If you were to erect an ancestral tree of New Jersey law enforcement and trace back the roots of everyone on the job today, you would discover a statistical irregularity unexplainable unless you lived or worked near the eastern side of Ocean County, New Jersey.

And if you continued to follow the lines of these officers, they would take you back to patch of land miles and years away from where the officers work today, a place less than a square mile in size.

They would take you back to Seaside Heights.

Most people know Seaside Heights, New Jersey from either grand summer memories or from the television show that follows an assemblage of New Jersey-area youth throughout their alcohol fueled adventures.

But Seaside Heights is also known for having a police department responsible for launching hundreds and hundreds of law enforcement careers over the past half century.

In the winter months Seaside operates with between twenty and twenty-five officers.
But as the weather warms they will put on as many as seventy Class I and Class II special police officers for the summer months. And when the end of August hits, this small army evaporates away as it has every year for decades.

This amount of officers is necessary as their normal population of about 3,000 balloons to more than 60,000 in the summer months.

While the bars and the players and even the officers have changed over the years, having spent a summer in Seaside qualifies one for immediate membership in this fraternity. Some return, some don't, but they all remain forever united by a white patch bearing Roman Numeral 1 or 2 which they proudly wore on their shoulder for a few summer months.

Memories range from breaking up fights at the Chatterbox Bar or Baby O's on the Boulevard to taking back the boardwalk during the blackouts of 89' or 91' to managing throngs of curious fans trying to inject themselves into the next episode of Jersey Shore.

The experience a young officer could get here has always been like no other. A rookie could see more in one busy summer week in Seaside Heights than he or she could in a year in most other towns. By summer's end, your average Seaside cop knows the Disorderly Conduct statute as well as he or she knows the Pledge of Allegiance.

Today, Seaside Heights Police alumni can be found in local departments from East Rutherford to Dumont to Freehold Borough to the Windsors. They can be found throughout the ranks of the State Police and in Federal Agencies ranging from the Air Marshals to the FBI to the Secret Service to the DEA. And around the country they occupy positions in agencies including NYPD, Philadelphia PD, and even Birmingham, Alabama.

In April of this year the Seaside Heights Police Department is holding their Annual Seaside Heights Police Department Alumni Banquet titled, "The Starting Point of Excellence." spoke with former Seaside Heights PBA President Cristino Rentas.

"I want to pack this restaurant to the point where management would even consider closing down to their regular customers."

Detective Rentas is a proud member of this fraternity of special officers. He began his career as a special on the boardwalk back in 1989.

PBA President John Dudas is organizing this event with PBA Delegate Kevin Shouldis and their brethren and are reaching out far and wide to officers who started in Seaside.

Whether you continued on into law enforcement or took a different direction, they would love to see you. Also, we'd love to hear some comments about your experiences in Seaside. Leave them in the comment box below.

Use the scroll box below to share your thoughts or view those of others.

Below we've provided information for this event or click here for the flyer:


2nd Annual Seaside Heights Alumni Banquet
The Starting Point of Excellence
Saturday, April 26, 2012, 6:00 p.m. at
Spicy's Cantina, 500 Boardwalk, Seaside Heights, NJ
$30. per person;

For more information and tickets, call:
PBA President John Dudas at (732) 861-5859; or
PBA Delegate Kevin Shouldis at (609) 290-1319
or email at




Worked there for 4 summers.  Best experience of my life as I met life long friends.  My current PD. consists of all former seaside guys making it a great place to work 

The department I have worked at for the past 20+ years has several officers who were summer officers in Seaside.  I've done many background checks on perspective officers for my department, and oddly enough, the ones who worked at Seaside always got hired, even though we are nowhere close to the shore. They just pump out good candidates.

A shout out to My Brothers in Arms, who are here and gone: Chip Minialga, Bob Smith, Ed Bennett, Chris Licata, Kevin Failer, Vignia, John Tate, Eddie Spagatti, Felger, LaBamba, Jamie Chaney, Eddie Lutes, Chief Schummer, Mudman, Jerry LaStella Chief Boyde, Joe Engrasia.

Worked two summers in seaside before joining my current PD. Most exciting and best time ever in a uniform, just wish my current PD. was the same environment.

Ptl. Shouldis, Lt. Tate,  (R.I.P.) Chief Chaney some of the best guys I have ever met.

Crazy times down at "The Heights". Breaking up drunken enraged fights, writing massive amounts of summonses, wearing out a pair of boots from walking the boards. Seaside was an awesome opportunity that I will never forget. LT. Tate on a bicycle......HILARIOUS!!!!!!

Worked there Summer of 01 and 02. Fond Memories of all the guys there. Linda my dispatcher, Lt. John Tate and my PB&J sandwiches. Hopefully I can motivate the rest of the graduates from OCPA class 79 to attend.

Wildwood Class II 1986.  Three week academy, which included 40 hours of firearms and 80 hours of everything else.  Then I walked the boardwalk 6pm-2am Tues-Sat.  In 1986, there were 75 specials in Wildwood.  I wonder where they are now...

Long standing FAMILY tradition have worked here... starting with our Father (in 60's), me (in 80's), my brothers (in 90's), now my son (2010--).

Thanks for the experiences gained...

I know my dad would have liked this....retired police officer of 27 1/2 years from seaside heights and he was very proud of it and in his honor I will be going  to be a part of this night in honor.

I started in "The Heights" and it was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time. A 22 year old looking to get his foot in the door when I started and Seaside Launched my career for me. Now only after 4 years with my P.D. I have made detective based on my consistent work ethic and values taught to me by my fellow Brothers at Seaside Heights.

Wildwood should do this also.

Lets not forget the brothers and sisters that served with us there and who are no longer with us in life

I did one summer in Seaside Heights back in the 80's and it was the most fun I have ever had in a uniform.
















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