FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Three officers in the Freehold Township Police Department have been promoted to the rank of sergeant.
During the Feb. 23 meeting of the Township Committee, held in the municipal building, James Burdge, Sean Moody and John Tacopino each took the oath of office and advanced to the rank of sergeant. The oath of office was administered to each man by Township Clerk Sanabel Abouzeina.
Burdge has been employed by the Freehold Township Police Department for 19 years. He is also a part-time instructor at the Monmouth County Police Academy and a field training officer for the police department.
After working with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force, Burdge helped to create the Freehold Township Police Department’s Narcotics Unit, according to municipal officials.
During his career, Burdge has received Officer of the Year honors, a life-saving award and multiple unit citations. For the past four years, he has been assigned to the Detective Bureau.
“Jamie has always excelled at everything he has done,” Police Chief George Baumann said. “Whatever his assignment is, he always took it upon himself to do the best he could, which was always an excellent job.”
Moody is a lifelong resident of Freehold Township and a 2003 graduate of Freehold Township High School. He attended the Monmouth County Police Academy in 2009.
Moody worked as a police officer at Stockton University in southern New Jersey in 2012 and joined the Freehold Township Police Department in 2013. He worked in the Patrol Division from 2013-18.
He was assigned to the Street Crimes Unit in 2019 and was a member of that unit until his promotion to sergeant.
Bauman said Moody is one of the police department’s youngest commanding officers.
“Sean is a guy I see in 10 years being somewhere in the department,” the chief said. “I have high hopes for him. I consider him a mover and shaper of the department. Anything I gave Sean from the time he came on, he excelled at.”
Tacopino is a 1996 graduate of Freehold Township High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps following graduation and was deployed on combat missions to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
He presently serves in the Marine Corps Reserves and holds the rank of sergeant major.
Hired by the Freehold Township Police Department in 2005, Tacopino graduated at the top of his class in the Monmouth County Police Academy, according to municipal officials.
Tacopino has worked as a field training officer and is a certified drug recognition expert. He works for the Monmouth County Police Academy as a drill instructor.
He has worked with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office on high profile investigations and helped to develop the police department’s Street Crimes Unit. In 2013, Tacopino was honored as Officer of the Year by the Freehold Sunrise Optimist Club.
Baumann noted that Tacopino achieved the highest enlisted rank in the Marine Corps.
“It’s unheard of what he accomplished in the Marine Corps,” the chief said. “I know that is going to transpire into what he does for Freehold Township.”
Baumann also spoke about a moment that occurred when the township’s business administrator, Peter Valesi, was interviewing Tacopino for the promotion.
“Mr. Valesi asks John where he sees himself in 10 years,” the chief said. “Sgt. Tacopino looked me in the eye, pointed at me and said, ‘I want his job.’ I love that someone aspires to reach the highest rank in the police department, like he did in the military.”