MONROE – The Monroe Township Police Department swore in its first police officer of Asian Indian descent.
“I am extremely proud that Officer [Ritik] Bedi is choosing to serve the community in which he was raised,” Mayor Stephen Dalina said in a press release on March 16. “We are thankful for the many Asian Indian residents of Monroe who bring a wealth of culture, volunteerism, and service to our community. Officer Bedi will be a terrific addition to the Monroe Township Police Department (MTPD).”
Bedi, a 2018 graduate of Monroe Township High School, was inducted with eight other officers during the first in-person swearing-in ceremony since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered most public engagements.
The ceremony also included the promotion of two officers to the rank of sergeant. They started their roles on March 15.
Jason Cohn was promoted to sergeant following the retirement of Sgt. Richard Stemming earlier this month, and Daniel J. Mosakowski was promoted to sergeant to fill an open supervisory position in the patrol division.
The officers and sergeants fill seats vacated by retirees over the past two years. Five of the nine officers joined the force in 2020 and were ceremoniously sworn in.
Dalina thanked the officers for their “commitment to safety for all residents and all those who work and visit Monroe.”
“The safety of our residents, businesses and visitors is a top priority for this administration and I am thankful to all of the men and women of the MTPD for their dedication to our safety.”
Police Chief Michael Biennas said the MTPD is “committed to keeping crime rates very low while collaborating with other regional departments as well as county and state law enforcement to stay abreast of local and regional trends.
“This class of recruits joins a department of highly dedicated and diverse law enforcement professionals. We wish them all well in their new roles with the department. Congratulations to our newly promoted sergeants. Job well done.”
Cohn began his career with the MTPD in November 2001 after entering the Camden County Police Academy in January 2001 as an alternate route candidate.
He is a 1994 graduate of Marlboro High School. He attended Brookdale Community College from September 1994 to May 1995 before transferring to Rutgers University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in May 1999.
Throughout his career, Cohn has been assigned to the patrol division where he has earned training certificates in Traffic Safety Specialist Level 1; Field Training Officer; Drug Recognition Expert; Emergency Medical Technician; Emergency Medical Dispatch and Monadnock Expandable Baton Instructor.
He has also received awards and recognition, including a Life Saving award, and he is a seven-time Mothers Against Drunk Driving Award recipient.
Mosakowski began his career with the MTPD in December 2009 after graduating from the Cape May County Police Academy as an alternate route recruit in June 2009. While at the academy, he achieved the High Academic Honors award.
He is a 2002 graduate of Sayreville War Memorial High School. He earned his associate’s degree in criminal justice from Middlesex County College in 2008.
He began his law enforcement career in July 2002 as an auxiliary police officer with the Sayreville Police Department. He also worked as a 911 dispatcher for the Sayreville Police Department from 20-09.
Prior to his promotion to sergeant, Mosakowski was assigned to the patrol division and then to the traffic safety unit from December 2014 to February 2022. He also was appointed as Monroe Township’s Humane Enforcement Officer in July 2018.
Richard A. Diaz is a 2012 graduate of Monroe Township High School. He earned his associate’s degree in criminal justice from Brookdale Community College in May 2015. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from New Jersey City University in May 2019.
Prior to his employment with the MTPD, Diaz worked at the Monroe Township Department of Public Works as a road equipment operator.
Diaz graduated from the Cape May Police Academy on July 2, 2020.
Jake D. Lloyd graduated from Manchester Township High School in 2017. He earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Ocean County Community College in 2019.
Lloyd received his NJ PTC SLEO II certification from the Ocean County Police Academy in May 2019. His law enforcement career began when he was hired by Toms River Police Department as a SLEO I where he served from April 2018 to September 2018 for seasonal help.
Prior to going to The Cape May Police Academy, he worked at Mantoloking Police Department as an SLEO II for seasonal help.
Lloyd graduated from the Cape May Police Academy on July 2, 2020.
Heather M. McClain is a 2004 graduate of South Brunswick High School where she was a varsity basketball player. She attended Centenary College from 2004-06 and later graduated from The University of Scranton in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
McClain began her career in law enforcement as a 911 dispatcher at the Camden County Sheriff’s Office in Woodbine, Georgia. Prior to attending the Cape May Police Academy, she worked as an MTPD 911 dispatcher.
McClain graduated from the Cape May Police Academy on July 2, 2020.
Benjamin N. Ostner is a 2007 graduate of Freehold High School. He attended Centenary University from August 2007 to May 2008. He attended the College of New Jersey from August 2008 to May 2012 and studied at American College of Education. Ostner graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in history, special education, and educational administration.
He was employed at the Monroe Township High School as a special education teacher from July 2012 to October 2019 and he was employed by New Brunswick High School as their varsity wrestling coach from November 2017 to October 2019.
Ostner graduated from the Cape May Police Academy on July 2, 2020.
Martina Stewart is a 2014 graduate of Marlboro High School where she was a four-year varsity athlete in soccer and two years in lacrosse, leading both teams as captain. She attended Brookdale Community College from fall 2014 to spring 2016. She then transferred to Willington University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business management in the spring of 2019.
During her college years she continued to play soccer at both Brookdale and Willington University.
Stewart graduated from the Ocean County Police Academy as an alternate route candidate on March 2, 2020.
Robert A. Bell Jr. is a 2018 graduate of Monroe Township High School. He currently is pursuing an associate’s degree in criminal justice at Middlesex County College.
Bell began his public service career with the Monroe Township Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 where he was a firefighter and graduated from the Middlesex County Fire Academy in January 2019.
A year later, he accepted a position as SLEO I with the Toms River Police Department and received his NJ PTC SLEO II Certification from the Ocean County Police Academy in June 2020.
He was employed by the Point Pleasant Beach Police Department where he served as seasonal help. Bell graduated from the Cape May Police Academy on May 21, 2021.
David M. Pena is a 2016 graduate of John F. Kennedy Memorial High School where he was a four-year varsity swimmer. Pena attended Middlesex County College from fall 2016 to spring 2017. He then joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve where he held the billet of truck dispatch.
Pena graduated from the Cape May Police Academy on May 21, 2021.
Bedi earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from The College of New Jersey in 2021. He is a recent graduate of the Cape May Police Academy where he was awarded the High Academic Achievement award.
Bedi served as an EMT for Monroe Township Emergency Medical Services throughout high school and college years. He was a member of the Monroe Township High School Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council and led the drunk driving prevention program for the high school.
He speaks fluent Hindi and Punjabi.
Brian Rieker is a 2009 graduate of Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft. He attended La Salle University in Philadelphia where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2013.
Rieker graduated from the Monmouth County Police Academy in 2018 and received the Traffic Safety Officer Association Award. He was hired by the Old Bridge Township Police Department on Feb. 14, 2019, where he worked as a patrol officer until he was hired by the MTPD as police officer on Feb. 28, 2022.
The MTPD comprises 66 sworn officers. The department consists of a detective bureau, a juvenile/youth services bureau, a domestic unit, a traffic safety bureau and has an officer assigned to senior citizen crime prevention.
On March 7, the Township Council approved an ordinance to allow for the department to have up to 14 sergeants. The previous ordinance allowed up to 11 sergeants. This year, the department plans to move to 12 sergeants, according to Business Administrator Alan Weinberg.
The department is comprised of multi-national members speaking a multitude of languages including Russian, Polish, German, Spanish, and now Hindi and Punjabi.