Home News South Jersey golf community has 2:1 resident to police officer ratio

South Jersey golf community has 2:1 resident to police officer ratio

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It’s unlike any other police department in the country. There are only 6 officers on the force who share the same squad car and their job is to protect 12 residents and a golf course.

Pine Valley in south Jersey has been consistently ranked “one of the premier golf courses” in the world by Golf Magazine.

Its residents are fiercely private and the course is invite–only. Women can only play golf there on Sundays.

Last year, the borough of Pine Valley reported zero major crimes. In 2013, there were three larceny-thefts, which Captain Richard Rauer said, may have been “people stealing flags from the greens.”

Rauer admits he and his officers encounter little crime and the pay is low. He told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the department averages one or two arrests a year.  Not including himself, the one full-time and four part-time officers, make between $7,000 and $27,000, Rauer said.

Some officers use the Pine Valley Police Department to learn the basics and move on, while others are retired from other departments.

There are only 23 homes in the borough of Pine Valley– the second-smallest municipality in New Jersey.

The Courier-Post reports that “the private nature of Pine Valley runs so deep that even the police department and the clubhouse, which sit 50 yards apart, seem to acknowledge each other only when necessary.”

Pine Valley does have its share of critics. Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr., said in 2007 that the Pine Valley police force “makes no sense.”

Former police officer and president of the Florida-based National Association of Chiefs of Police, said he had “never heard of a department like Pine Valley.” Jack Rinchich said you may not be able to justify it, but added: “if anyone can afford a police force, it’s a golf club with wealthy members.”

According to borough officials, the Pine Valley Golf Club pays the borough $101,000 for the police services.

Recognized for its “challenging design of deep bunkers, hilly terrain, and pine trees,” Pine Valley is reputed to have ex-presidents and famous actors on its memberships list.

No surprise that a guarded entrance and 8-foot-high chain-link fences protect the golf course, which occupies most of Pine Valley’s one square mile.

Not only is the membership list at the golf club private, but visitors can enter the borough only once a year — during an amateur golf tournament in September.

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