DENVILLE, N.J. (AP) _ The cops are smiling today in this northern New Jersey suburb. The dispatcher is smiling. Even the police chief is smiling.

Eighteen department members will share the $27.9 million jackpot from Thursday's New Jersey Lottery drawing, said Chief Howard Shaw, himself a winner. That works out to approximately $1.5 million per person, or about $70,000 a year before taxes for the next 20 years, he said.

''They found out last night. I was at a Christmas party and they were all here at headquarters, laughing and cheering,'' said Shaw. ''I said, 'Well, come on down to the party' and everyone did.''

Lottery officials could not confirm the department's announcement because they hadn't seen the ticket, but did say one winning ticket was sold. The winning numbers were 14, 21, 39, 40, 42 and 43.

Shaw said 16 police officers, one dispatcher and a secretary, out of a total force of 28, each chipped in $5 for the drawing, a regular practice at the department.

The group once won $79, but that money went right back into the pot for the next drawing, Shaw said.

The cops aren't the only lucky government employees in Denville, a town of 14,000 on the western fringe of the New York metropolitan area. Shaw said some teachers at the high school recently won a Pick-6 drawing, too.

''But that was only $13 million,'' he said, chuckling.