Retired Middletown Detective Captain Bill Halliday

Retired Middletown Detective Captain Bill Halliday died yesterday, truly a legend in his own time.

Bill was 84 years old, and had retired many years ago after serving more than 25 years on the Middletown Police Department. He also taught at Brookdale Community College after his retirement and authored a fictional book about his years as a “Jersey Shore Cop.’

The Middletown police department was one terrific group in the 1970s and 80s, headed by such legends as Joe McCarthy and Bob Letts, and Bill was another of the great guys that made it so efficient yet so in touch with the residents.

Writing for The Courier in those days when Bill was a detective, we talked on a weekly basis and for me Bill will always remain the quiet, soft spoken, smiling police professional who knew his job, did his job, and loved not only his job but the people he served.

His book, Jersey Shore Cop, was how Bill remembered some of the cases he worked on during those years, and it is definitely fiction since so many of the memories, with names changed to protect the innocent! are so different from how they actually happened. There are stories about his first response as an officer, his first murder investigation, the riots, murders, burglaries and more he investigated, the Pagans motorcycle gang, and the FBI National Academy he attended. It’s a fun book to read, and more fun to figure out who the real people are with the fictitious names.

My personal favorite is about the witchcraft investigation on a Friday the 13th. Bill’s version of the events that occurred that night had me in police headquarters asking to go on the call to a home where a supposed witch was scamming a young woman. He allowed me to go, which is true, but said I had to promise to be silent, which was difficult. Bill’s book version isn’t exactly accurate, as he intended, but it was a great experience, resulted in an arrest and the rescue of numerous animals which had been abused, the ‘witch’s black robes being confiscated, and a great front page story for The Courier.

In the front of the copy of the book Bill gave me, he wrote simply, “Muriel, I did the best I could.” I believe he always did.

This is a story from the Monmouth Journal I wrote about Bill’s book when it was released a few years ago.

Funeral services for the officer and a great man will be private. My prayers and sympathy to his family.

A fictional compilation of stories that will delight, anger, irritate, shock and surprise people was recently released by author William J. Halliday, entitled "Jersey Shore Cop." Halliday, who retired from the Middletown Police Department as a Captain in 1987, wrote the book from the many journals he kept through his 27 years on the local department, and candidly admits it is a fictionalized version of many events that occurred during his time as an officer. Some of the events are pure fiction, some incidents are embellished upon and some do not include all the facts of the incident. Halliday has used a mixture of real names and aliases in talking about people in the stories and members of the department. In some cases, he has also used a part of the real name, changing part. For example, in citing an event in which a former Courier newspaper reporter was present, he used her last name, but changed her first. In the case of a police detective whose last name is also the name of a car, he changed his last name to a different make of vehicle. In other cases, the aliases are similar in spelling or style as the actual persons involved. Halliday also confirmed that he had an attorney review his manuscript before the book was published by Newman Springs Publishing to avoid possible litigation over how some people are perceived. It took him approximately two years to complete the 225-page book, he said, and the 55 chapters vary in length from a page and a half to nine pages, with most of them averaging three to five pages. Halliday said he kept journals during his time on the department because he recalled former Newark police officer, and friend and mentor, Ralph Simon advising him to “always keep copious notes in a bound book with the truth as your guide. This book will never fail you.” He said some of his journals are missing, having been used as evidence in trials, however, he still has most of them, all hand-written, and some battered by rain and time.

Citing some of the chapters in his book, he laughed and said it is not his intention to make anyone, or the department as a whole, look bad, and he admits he’s changed some incidents for the readability aspect, but all are based on something that occurred. In acknowledging how he wrote the fiction, Halliday credits his wife, daughters, Jeanne and Cissy, and granddaughter, Lauren, with helping him achieve the finished product. Since his own writing skills were “limited to reports that were used as records of events and subsequent investigations,” the women helped him express “inside feelings and emotions of some of the witnesses and victims” in his investigations. He also expressed thanks to some law enforcement colleagues who through the years helped him become a professional officer and later a police detective. In another expression of thanks, he acknowledged the help of ‘snitches’ including Fast Eddie, Foxy, Ipana and Big Louie who helped him solve some investigations. After retiring from the Middletown Police, Halliday also served as deputy director at the Monmouth County Police Academy, taught criminal justice and other subjects at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, and overcame leukemia after a three year battle during which he was in and out of hospitals and underwent both stem cell and bone marrow transplants. Today he still lives in Middletown and spends his leisure time bowling, playing golf and enjoying his family. While some retired officers who worked with Halliday in the 1960s and 1970s and are familiar with the actual incidents included in the book think it is a fun and entertaining book, others are disappointed in some of the fictionalized parts that make both the department and some of the easily recognizable people in it look bad. The book is available at and at, as well as other retailers.


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