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WILDWOOD CHIEF OF POLICE RETIRES AFTER 35 YEARS

Updated: Jun 16, 2023



Release Date:

June 14, 2023


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


WILDWOOD, NJ – The City of Wildwood, in cooperation with The City of Wildwood Police Department, announces the retirement of Chief Robert Regalbuto this June after a 35-year career with the department.


Chief Regalbuto, a Wildwood native, graduated from Wildwood Catholic High School in 1984. After a stint in the United States Army, where he attended college, he returned to Wildwood as a Class II Officer in May 1988. That same year, he was hired by the Cape May County Sheriff's Office as a Corrections Officer. He returned to Wildwood in 1989 as a Class II Officer who stayed on after the summer season and was appointed a full time Officer in August 1990. In 1997, he was assigned to the Detective’s Division and promoted to Sergeant in September 1998. He moved through the ranks from Lieutenant to Captain to Chief in ’01, ’07, and ’15, respectively.


Mayor Pete Byron, Deputy Mayor Krista Fitzsimons and Commissioner Steve Mikulski thank Chief Regalbuto for his dedication to the City of Wildwood. “His long tenure with the City of Wildwood Police Department is evidence of years of studying and training to rise many ranks to earn the position of Chief of Police. The City and community are indebted to his service,” said Mayor Byron. Commissioner of Public Safety Steve Mikulski added, “I want to congratulate the Chief on his long career with the Wildwood Police Department. He has continually strived to better the department and the community.” Deputy Mayor Krista Fitzsimons continued, “Chief Regalbuto has been instrumental in the success of the safe execution of hundreds of events impacting millions of people in the city during his tenure. We thank him for his contributions.”


During Regalbuto’s career, he was able to implement changes to the department that had a good reduction in uniform crime reporting for Part 1 crimes (first-, second- and third-degree crimes). Through his efforts, Wildwood was awarded numerous grants for the purpose of hiring additional officers. Further, he reinstituted the department’s Street Crimes and K-9 Units.


He was an involved member of the Cape May County Chiefs of Police Association serving two years as President and two years as Vice President. This organization brings all chiefs together monthly to discuss what is happening in the state, various academy requirements, and how each agency can improve.


Education has been extremely important to Chief Regalbuto. He has continued his education with the NJ State Chiefs Association Command Leadership Program (2015), FBI National Academy 277th Session (2019), Certified Public Manager’s Program at Rutgers (2021), and hundreds of classes over his 35-year career. Currently, he is working on his Master of Administrative Science at Fairleigh Dickenson University with an expected graduation date later this year.


For the man who always knew he wanted to be a Wildwood Police Officer, like his father in the mid to late 60’s, things sure have changed. Regalbuto says, “There was more respect for law enforcement in the late 80’s than there is today. We usually received more compliance. Today everyone is more defiant. However, our local community remains incredibly supportive, and it means everything.”


Regalbuto hopes to see new recruits, not only in Wildwood, but also in neighboring shore towns. “We used to see 300-400 applications a year for Class II, but this year we only got 100. There are a lot of requirements, training, and upsetting incidences that these young recruits must withstand, but public safety cannot be compromised. It is still a great job that I would recommend to any young man or woman who is interested in law enforcement.”


On retirement, he has no plans for the immediate future other than spending more time with his adult daughters and new granddaughter, Presley. He expects to do the usual fishing in Lower Township and up his golf game at Cape May National Golf Course. He will still rise at 4am…an old habit, and he plans to travel with his wife of 30 years, Danielle. “Not worrying about what is happening in the city will be a strange but refreshing break after 35 years.”


35 years is a long time for his family to make sacrifices, including many nights, weekends, and holidays working. Fortunately, his is a family of public servants, so they understand. His wife was Assistant to the Chief in Wildwood Crest for over 10 years. His daughter, Jordan works in the court system and is married to a Fireman in Prince William County, VA (LJ). Daughter Taylor works for the Department of Justice and is engaged to a Philadelphia Police Officer (John).


His mentor, former Chief William M. Fisher III impacted Regalbuto immensely when the former was Lieutenant. “Fisher had the ability to talk to you and could teach you or correct you, yet still inspire you to do better because you wanted to. Fisher was 100% about community and the youth of the city and that is what he wanted from his officers.” Regalbuto hopes he has left the same mark.


As for words of wisdom for his successor, he reminds, “The Agency must come first. This will apply to a lot of things in daily operations. You will be forced into making unpopular decisions, but what is best for the Agency is what is best for all.” “Hopefully,” he adds, “The county, state and national laws will strengthen and allow officers to enforce the laws and accountability.”


Overall, it has been a rewarding experience for Chief “Rags,” as the community affectionately calls him. He has enjoyed seeing the younger officers pursue opportunities in their careers. “Thousands of officers are spread out everywhere, yet they are always Wildwood officers; they are always a part of us, and I will miss the guys the most.”


He has also enjoyed the ability to collaborate with sister communities to make all the Wildwoods a better place to live and visit. He hopes his mark has been that he has left the Agency a better place to work so officers can provide better service to the community. Regalbuto knows he has made a difference to people whose aide he has come to and whose cases he has solved. “It is very gratifying to know you have helped people.”


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“I’ve only worked with the Chief for a short period of his illustrious career, but I have witnessed first-hand his dedication to his profession and his commitment to the City of Wildwood. Despite the short time, it has been a genuine pleasure having the opportunity to work with him and I wish him the very best in his future endeavors.” ~Steve O’Connor, Administrator, City of Wildwood


“It has been an honor and a privilege to work alongside and for Chief Regalbuto over the past several years. He has done an excellent job leading the Wildwood Police Department through some very difficult years that included a pandemic and major law enforcement policy reforms.

~ Deputy Chief Joseph Murphy, City of Wildwood Police Department


“Chief took the reins and did a phenomenal job in turning around Wildwood’s inflated wild reputation. He brought respect to the town and to the Police Department with his no-nonsense approach. He has a great family, and I wish him nothing but the best of health. So many times, guys retire and never get to enjoy everything it brings. He is young. I am sure he will find a second career, and he will continue to share his wealth of knowledge. More importantly, I know he will enjoy time with his family, especially time with his grandkids.” ~ Ernie Troiano II, Former Mayor City of Wildwood


“It has been an honor to work with Chief Regalbuto. Together, we forged a relationship between ourselves and among our departments based on mutual respect and an unwavering commitment to the community. I wish him nothing but the best – a retirement full of a long, happy life with his family, granddaughter, and future grandchildren.” ~ Chief Ernie Troiano III, City of Wildwood Fire Department


"We have been lucky to work alongside a great Chief of Police. From all of us at the Wildwood Beach Patrol, we are sending the very best wishes for an enjoyable retirement." ~Chief Steve Stocks, Captain Schneider and members of the City of Wildwood Beach Patrol


“I have been with the tourism authority for 27.5 years, and I believe that the Chief has been on the Wildwood PD that entire time. I have worked with him in various stages of his career during my time at the tourism authority and have always found him to be tourism friendly and he understands the role tourism has on our economy. As he rose in the ranks and became chief, he was always there to assist in our needs at the convention center as well as events. He is a friend and supporter of the tourism authority, and I wish him and his family the best in this new chapter of his life.” ~ John Siciliano, Executive Director, Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement & Development Authority


“Chief Regalbuto has been an outstanding leader in the Wildwood community, partner to the Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce and will be sadly missed. We wish him much happiness in his well-earned retirement.” ~ Tracey DuFault, President, Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce


“Chief Regalbuto truly has a love for the Wildwoods. He is very community minded. He was always lending a helping hand to our community events to ensure that the residents and visitors were always safe.” ~ Jodie DiEduardo, SVP Director of Community Banking, Crest Savings Bank


"On behalf of all the business owners in Downtown Wildwood, I would like to congratulate Chief Regalbuto on his years of faithful service to our city. Thank you for always lending a helping hand to the business community in Wildwood. We appreciate you and wish you nothing but the best in the future!"~ John Donio, President, Downtown Wildwood Business Improvement District





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