SOUTH BRUNSWICK – The South Brunswick Police Department recognized the outstanding actions of its officers and citizens from 2017 during a special ceremony in honor of National Police Week on May 14.
“It is the day in and day out actions of so many that make a difference. [W]e recognize those officers and citizens who went above and beyond. The actions of these officers saved lives, recovered thousands of dollars in stolen property, and captured suspects who looked to commit crime in our community. These officers represent the best of the best in how they handled the calls they faced,” Police Chief Raymond Hayducka said in a prepared statement.
Exceptional Service Medals are the top awards given to officers.
Patrol Officer Michael Leung and Sgt. Eric Buraszeski captured three suspects who had broken into a Kendall Park home on Jan. 27. The officers tracked down the suspect’s vehicle based on a witness’ description and conducted a high risk motor vehicle stop, taking the suspects into custody and recovering the homeowners’ stolen goods, according to the statement.
On Aug. 23, Detective Timothy Hoover conducted a follow-up into a statewide motor vehicle theft ring. During his investigation he identified five actors, secured confessions and linked them to dozens of car thefts around the state. His investigation led to the recovery of four cars stolen out of South Brunswick, according to the statement.
Detectives Dennis Yuhasz and Domenick “Rick” Delucia detailed an extensive three-month investigation that led to identifying the suspects responsible for a Monmouth Junction burglary. The detectives used video surveillance, interviews and cell phone tower sites to link the suspects to the $7,000 burglary. The career criminals were charged with burglary and theft, according to the statement.
Patrolman Ricardo Moreira conducted a motor vehicle stop on Oct. 21 and determined the driver had an outstanding warrant. As he went to place the driver under arrest, he felt a handgun in his waist. Moreira’s tactics and skills led to the safe recovery of the loaded handgun, according to the statement.
Lifesaving medals are presented to officers whose actions resulted in a life being saved.
Patrol officers Gagan Chopra and Jarrid Harpster responded to a fire in a hotel room at the Best Western on Route 1 on Sept. 10. The officers began to evacuate the 50 hotel rooms when residents alerted them that one resident was still in his room. Officers forced entry into the room and were able to rescue the hotel guest, according to the statement.
Patrol officers Don Whicker, Ricardo Moreira and Jason Gassman responded to a man shot at a BP gas station on Route 27 on Oct. 15. Upon arrival, the officers discovered a 60-year-old male employee of the gas station with multiple gunshot wounds. The man was treated for several weeks at an area hospital and has recovered as a result of the officers’ actions, according to the statement.
Patrol officers Matt Hagood, Jarrid Harpster and George Morgan responded to a Kendall Park home where a 67-year-old man was unresponsive on Sept. 9 due to cardiac arrest. They quickly administered automated external defibrillator (AED) and continued CPR. Their efforts restored the man’s pulse and he began breathing, according to the statement.
Patrol officers Kevin O’Neill and Matt Skolsky located a 57-year-old man dazed and confused in a vehicle on the side of Route 1 on Aug. 7. The officers determined the man was suffering from a medical condition. The man was rushed to an area hospital where he was later diagnosed as having diabetes, according to the statement.
Letter of Commendation recognize officers for their outstanding work in the performance of their duties.
Patrol officers Sal Fama and Robert Marrese received intelligence from a citizen regarding narcotics activity on July 18. The officers’ subsequent investigation led to the arrest of the actor for distribution of methamphetamine, according to the statement.
Patrol officers Craig Cleffi and Brooke LaBell responded to a call that Hotel Vincenza was robbed on March 12. The officers located the actor who violently resisted their attempts to take him into custody. Officers were able to subdue the subject and charge him with robbery, aggravated assault and burglary, according to the statement.
Patrol officers Pete Santa and Michael Urstadt responded to a burglar alarm at a local liquor store on Feb. 12. Through their investigation, the officers positively identified the actor from surveillance footage and located him nearby. He was charged with criminal mischief, burglary and theft, according to the statement.
Detective Sgt. Michael Pellino, and detectives Timothy Hoover and Eric Tighelaar worked with other law enforcement agencies to piece together a case against four suspects for shooting a gas station attendant on Route 27. The suspects were charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, attempted carjacking and weapons offenses, according to the statement.
The Civilian Staff Recognition Award recognizes a civilian staff member for outstanding work and contribution to the agency.
Al Nardi researched and applied for a N.J. Transit bus grant. His work resulted in the township receiving a $58,000 grant for a new senior bus, according to the statement.
The Civilian Staff Recognition Award/Community Service Award recognizes a civilian staff member and sworn officer for an innovative approach to community engagement.
Detective Lt. Ron Seaman and Lorena Pyne created and implemented a Special Needs Registry program that allows officers to have vital information in rapid time on someone with special needs. The program came about after Seaman realized one-third of all reported missing people in the township had special needs, according to the statement.
The Citizen’s Appreciation Award is a civilian award presented for outstanding actions.
On May 21, Zion Foster, 7, and Sameer Sheth, 12, found a backpack in the parking lot of a Dayton townhouse complex that contained $700 in cash and a passport. The two boys took the bag to their parents and called police. The backpack was returned to the owner.
On Jan. 27, Marie and Thomas Doherty observed a burglary in progress to a Kendall Park home. They called 911 and provided police dispatch with a complete description of the three suspects. Thomas Doherty chased the suspects on foot as they fled out of the home into a waiting vehicle. His description of the vehicle and the directions it traveled were key to the capture of the suspects. Their actions resulted in the arrest of three suspects and recovery of the stolen items, according to the statement.
On July 13, Anthony Lanza jumped into action when he saw a car crash on Ridge Road. The car was on fire and the driver was still trying to free himself. He used his fire extinguisher on the vehicle, which provided the driver an opportunity to escape his burning vehicle without injury, according to the statement.
The awards ceremony also recognized officers for excellence in physical training, firearms and educational achievement.
“It takes an entire department from dispatchers to clerical to sworn officers to keep our community safe. I want to thank each member of our agency for making a difference in the lives of the people we serve,” Hayducka said in the statement.