EAST BRUNSWICK – The New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) has awarded its prestigious 2021 Valor Award to East Brunswick police officers Ryan Hensperger and Robert Thuring for preventing a suicide attempt that also threatened the safety of New Jersey Turnpike motorists.
East Brunswick Police Chief Frank LoSacco credited Patrolmen Hensperger and Thuring with stopping a distraught 28-year-old man from jumping off a Route 18 overpass onto the busy New Jersey Turnpike on June 21, 2020, according to information provided by Jaffe Communications on June 18, 2021.
When they exhausted attempts to negotiate, the chief said the two officers grabbed and struggled with the agitated man, noting “they could have been pulled over the overpass railing and also fallen 50 feet onto the Turnpike below,” according to the statement.
“The swift, decisive actions that Officers Hensperger and Thuring took, without regard for their own safety, saved his life. They also prevented potentially tragic accidents for unsuspecting Turnpike drivers, had this young man suddenly fallen into the path of oncoming traffic that day.
“Their behavior, bravery and training illustrates the ‘protect-and-serve’ ideals that our police department endeavors to provide to the people who live, work and visit our community,” LoSacco said in the statement.
Hensperger and Thuring were among 33 nominees from nine New Jersey police departments.
This year’s Valor Award will be presented at the 109th NJSACOP’s Annual Conference & Police Security Expo on Aug. 23–26 in Atlantic City.
Thuring is an eight-year veteran of the department who began his law enforcement career in 2011 as a Monroe Township patrolman. Hensperger was hired as an East Brunswick police officer in 2017 and has a criminal justice degree from Rutgers University.
LoSacco, a 33-year police veteran and chief since August 2019, achieved NJSACOP’s highest personal accreditation for a command executive. That top certification puts him among 33% of New Jersey police chiefs, according to the statement.
In 2019, NJSACOP awarded the 83-officer East Brunswick Police Department with its Police Agency Accreditation, an achievement that culminated two years of preparation and compliance with the 112 professional standard requirements, according to the statement.
The NJSACOP established its Valor Award in 2000 to recognize New Jersey police officers and private citizens who demonstrate exceptional heroism and commitment to their profession, their law enforcement agency and to the public they serve, according to the statement.
Learn more about the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police at www.NJSACOP.org