Story by Christina Leslie | Correspondent
Though no one in the Hopewell Township Police Department outranks Chief Lance D. Maloney, the lifelong Catholic knows he nonetheless must be mindful of direction from above.
“I am comfortable that God is with me in whatever situation,” he said of his thoughts during emergency situations. “I am comfortable that I will act morally and things will work out.”
The lifelong plan for Maloney to become a police officer began when he was a youngster in Florence Township. He graduated from Holy Cross High School, Delran, before heading to Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey), Ewing. There, he earned a bachelor of science degree in law and justice and met his future wife, Suzanne.
“She was Lutheran when we met,” Maloney remembered. “We got married in her church, but we always had the understanding that we would raise our children as Catholics. She converted to Catholicism as an adult in St. Ann’s [Lawrenceville.]”
The couple, married 21 years, still belong to the Lawrenceville faith community. They are parents of two children: Kaitlyn, nearly 16, and 13-year-old Patrick. Maloney is active with the local Knights of Columbus and serves as trustee of the St. Ann Parish Knights of Columbus Council 7000.
Maloney joined the Hopewell Township Police Department in January 1994 and rose through the ranks to become the 60-square-mile township’s fifth full-time chief on Jan. 1, 2014. He is a graduate of the N.J. State Association of Chiefs of Police West Point Command and Leadership Program, the FBI National Academy 241st Session and the Mid-Atlantic Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar.
In addition to his duties in Hopewell Township, Maloney also serves as president of the Mercer County Chiefs of Police Association, which counts among its membership police, prosecutors, safety directors and chiefs from local universities. The group participates in charitable events such as a local bicycle charity ride, the Special Olympics Torch Run and the Special Olympics Polar Plunge, and promotes the annual Diocese of Trenton Blue Mass.
“We are very fortunate our local chiefs support it and allow and encourage the officers to go,” Maloney said of the annual celebratory Mass for law enforcement, which also serves as a solemn remembrance of its deceased members.
“Even if you are not Catholic, it is a great opportunity for the officers to see the people supporting law enforcement,” Maloney said. “It’s great [Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.] does this. We are welcomed and recognized for our chosen careers.”
Maloney is heartened also by the attendance of the general public at the Blue Mass.
“The Blue Mass shows the Church supports us, and the others who come, the other officers’ organizations, they show their support by being there,” he said. “It is important to officers, for sometimes they have to deal with negative press.”
The chief hesitated when trying to narrow down a time or two that his faith has aided him in his life on the job, then admitted, “I’d like to think my faith plays a role in the job every day. I try to do what is the correct thing, the moral thing. It helps me know what is right and wrong and morally correct.”
Maloney said his Catholic faith “is a big influence, but I have to enforce the law.”
“Sometimes it’s not just based upon religion. I see unfortunate circumstances in this job,” he said. “If I see a car crash, it is tragic: one minute the person is driving along, the next, their life is not there. I hope that person is going to a better place.”