Phillips, R. Bruce, Age: 79, Kentucky

March 30, 2018
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R. Bruce Phillips, 79,  retired Chief of Police, Holmdel Township Police Department, passed away peacefully March 11.

“Bruce” was predeceased by his father, Joe and mother, Helen. He is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Kelli, and daughters Tiffany and Ava with whom he resided on a farm in Kentucky. He is also survived by his children, Kathleen Jablonski and husband Tom; Robert Phillips and fiancée, Barbara; Penny Buccellato and husband Victor; and 10 loving grandchildren: Robert III, Jacquelyn, Hannah, Allyson, Danny, Brooke, Kathryn, Tommy, Andrew and Billy, who will all miss him dearly.

He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.

Bruce was a graduate of Red Bank High School, FBI National Academy 73rd session, and Ocean County Police Academy. He attended Shepard College, Potomac State and Monmouth College.

He was an excellent athlete, excelling in baseball and football and attaining all state and conference honors. He attended the Brooklyn Dodgers spring training in Vero Beach and played semi-pro football with the Bayshore Red Wings. He was a member of the Red Bank Tire semi-pro national championship baseball team.

Bruce Phillips joined the Holmdel Police Department in 1965 as a full-time patrolman along with John Brady under the leadership of Bruce’s father, Joe Phillips, who was the sole law enforcement officer appointed Constable in 1946 and later Police Chief in 1952. Bruce was appointed Chief of Police in 1971. He served 39 years on the Holmdel Township Police Department, 33 years as Chief of Police. He was the longest serving Chief of Police in the State of New Jersey upon his retirement. Bruce was a legacy during his time with us and a friend and father figure to many, providing inspiration and guidance along the way.

He served as past president of the NJ State Chiefs of Police Association, the Monmouth County Police Chiefs Association, the FBI National Academy Association – NJ Chapter and Holmdel Cemetery Board of Trustees. He was Northeast Region Chairman of the Association of Chiefs of Police and the International Chiefs of Police (IACP) – Division of State, Advisor to Monmouth Council Boy Scouts of America, director of Holmdel Stallions youth soccer club, past president of Holmdel Pop Warner, three-time winner of the State Chiefs President Award, Man of the Year – American Society Industrial Security, Holmdel Community Service Award for Police, Fire, & First-Aid.

He served on the Advisory Board of the IACP State Association, Foundation Board of Bayshore Community Hospital. He founded the New Jersey Law Enforcement Memorial Service, the NJ Police/Security Expo and Conference, Bayshore Narcotics Task Force, Holmdel Police Youth Academy, Domestic Violence Crisis Intervention Team, School Resource Officer program, Holmdel Neighborhood Watch and Holmdel Police K-9 unit, amongst many other civic and community-based organizations. Bruce was a hard worker and has helped many people and organizations throughout his life and has a legacy of stories that will live on forever. His presence will be sorely missed, but he will live on in all of us through the way he has touched all our lives.

Holmdel Funeral Home is honored to serve the Phillips family. A memorial service will be held at the Holmdel Community Church, 40 Main St., Holmdel at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 27. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to AUTISM TOMORROW at or mail to 210 Park Ave., Suite 301, Florham Park, NJ 07932-1057.

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