ANDOVER TOWNSHIP, NJ – Four Andover Township Police personnel were recognized with a letter of commendation at Monday evening’s Andover Township Committee Meeting for their handling of what could have turned into a deadly situation.
“It was a good job and good sound police work,” said Andover Township Chief of Police Achille (Gil) Taglialatela told The Alternative Press.
On April 6, the Andover Township Police Department received a call of a male resident on Cheyenne Road in the Rolling Hills Condominiums, who was intoxicated, threatening suicide, and, in possession of a weapon.
Dispatcher Janet Ragsdale communicated the information to Sergeant Eric Danielson, Patrolman Joseph Indano, and Patrolman George Laoudis.
Officers responded with Laoudis at the front of the condo, and Indano at the rear with a shotgun.
“I gave him verbal commands to drop the rifle,” Indano told The Alternative Press.
Danielson spotted the resident proceeding through is condo, and exiting through the back sliding door with the weapon in his hand, and Danielson and Laoudis joined Indano.
The resident did not drop the Mossberg 22 caliber rifle, loaded with 10 rounds of live ammunition, in spite of the requests to drop the weapon.
As Laoudis and Indano provided cover for Danielson, he was able to speak to the resident, and eventually he laid down the weapon and surrendered.
“As if the situation was not complicated enough, the fact it was taking place in a highly populated area made a successful outcome even more difficult,” Taglialatela said. “All officers showed tremendous restraint and maintained their composure throughout the entire incident by not resorting to the use of deadly force, by firing upon an armed subject, thus, preventing any loss of life or collateral injuries.”
“It comes with our job and what we’re trained for, luckily it went the right way,” said Laoudis, who advised residents as the incident was occurring to return to their condos or vehicles.
“There’s a misconception that in Sussex County we go to bear calls, and write speeding tickets,” said Indano. “The job is the same everywhere.”
Prior to serving in Andover Township, Laoudis worked at the Stillwater Police Department, and Indano at Stanhope and South Plainfield. Danielson has spent his career with Andover Township.
“It’s an unfortunate incident that occurred and was handled rather quickly,” said Danielson. “Thankfully he [the resident] was able to be spoken to and he complied with that request. We could be talking about a different scenario in a matter of seconds.”
Indano saw the resident after he was released, and he thanked Indano.
“It meant a lot, he was very grateful, and I hope he gets the treatment he needs, and moves on,” said Indano.
“For outstanding performance while demonstrating a high degree of professionalism, initiative, determination, teamwork and sound decision making during a highly charged event by successfully taking an armed subject into custody without any injury or loss of life reflects great credit upon Dispatcher Ragsdale, Officers Danielson, Indano and Laoudis, the profession of Law Enforcement, the Andover Township Police Department, and the citizens who we serve and protect. I commend these individuals for a job well done,” said Taglialatela as he thanked the officers and dispatcher.
The officers were appreciative of the commendation.
“It was nice being commended for our services,” said Laoudis.
“There’s a lot of negative press for police officers, it’s nice to have something positive,” said Indano.
“When it’s good teamwork and people do their job well, you want to notice the guys and show their efforts are recognized,” said Danielson.
“I feel very strongly if you put any of our officers in the same position, they would have handled it exactly the same,” said Taglialatela.