Local police departments add to their command staffs

From left: Lt. Eric Buraszeski, Captain Jeffrey Russo, Lt. John Penney, Sgt. Brady Shelcusky, Sgt. George Morgan, Sgt. Peter Santa during their promotion ceremony on March 24.

South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka announced the promotion of six officers on March 24 to fill vacancies from retirement and to increase command supervision.

“These additional supervisors add to the enhanced level of supervision I am committed to,” Hayducka said in a statement. “Policing has changed over the last decade with increased accountability and transparency. These supervisors will ensure we maintain the highest level of service to our community.”

The officers promoted were:

Captain: Jeffrey Russo is a 23-year veteran of the department. He previously served as a patrol officer, school resource officer, firearms instructor, detective, detective sergeant and investigations lieutenant. As a detective he was detailed to the Middlesex County Narcotics Task Force and to a DEA Tactical Diversion Task Force combating the opioid epidemic. He worked with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to dismantle the largest dark web narcotics operation in 2019.  He has received six Excellent Service Medals and over 24 Letters of Commendation. He holds a master’s degree from Seton Hall University.

Lieutenant: Eric Buraszeski is a 17-year veteran of the department. He has served as a patrol officer, patrol sergeant, Support Services sergeant, a member of the Emergency Response Team, an instructor for defensive tactics and supervising firearms instructor. He was instructor for the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office ABLE initiative. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and master’s degree in Education from Monmouth University. He has received two exceptional service awards and five letters of commendation. He was recently recognized by the Middlesex County Chiefs of Police Association for his efforts instructing the ABLE program countywide.

Lieutenant: John Penney is a 21-year veteran of the department. He has served as a detective sergeant, patrol sergeant, school resource officer, and evidence custodian. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Farleigh Dickinson University and a master’s degree from Seton Hall University. He has received 12 commendations and honorable service awards.

Sergeant: Brady Shelcusky is a 12-year veteran of the department. He has served as a detective, field training officer, firearms instructor, crime scene evidence technician and Taser operator. He served as the PBA Local 166 state delegate for the past 8 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Over the course of his career, he has received multiple awards and commendations for his exceptional service, including a Life Saving Medal.

Sergeant: George Morgan is a 9-year veteran of the department. He has served patrol officer, a member of the Middlesex County Rapid Deployment Team, South Brunswick Department Honor Guard, Juvenile Justice Committee, and a volunteer coach with the Police Athletic League. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from Kean University. During his career, he received multiple awards, including the Medal of Valor, Exceptional Service Award, Life Saving Award, Community Service Award, and the Expert Firearms Proficiency Award. He has consistently finished as the top physical fitness award winner for the department each year.

Sergeant: Peter Santa is a 15-year veteran of the department. He has served as a patrol officer, field training officer and member of the rifle team. He has received numerous awards and citations including the Medal of Valor. Has served as PBA Local 166 president and been a member of the Executive Board for 8 years. He is a military veteran serving five-and-a-half years in the United States Navy prior to becoming an officer. He holds an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice.

“These officers went through a challenging process to achieve these promotions. They had to study for months, perform well on tests, and have an exhaustive file review to determine their eligibility for these positions. They now have the challenge and responsibility of leading our officers on a daily basis,” Hayducka said in the statement.

In North Brunswick, during the March 21 Township Council meeting, Deputy Chief Joe Battaglia announced the promotions of Frank Vitelli and William Lovas to lieutenant based on some upcoming retirements.

Vitelli was born and raised in North Brunswick. He was hired in 2004, worked as a detective, and was promoted to sergeant in 2017, Battaglia said during the meeting.

Lovas graduated from North Brunswick Township High School, and received degrees from Caldwell College and Seton Hall University.

A former firefighter in town, he served in the police Patrol Division, Detective Bureau and Juvenile Bureau. After being promoted to sergeant, he was currently stationed in Internal Affairs, Battaglia said.

Brady Shelcusky was promoted to the rank of sergeant during a promotion ceremony for South Brunswick police officers on March 24.
South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka, far left, addresses his officers and the crowd during a promotion ceremony on March 24.
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