SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Before a packed Council chambers, Scotch Plains Police Chief Ted Conley held promotion ceremonies for Lt. Matthew Fugett and Sgt. Brad Belford on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the Scotch Plains Municipal Building. The department also honored officer Richard Sopko, who has been called for deployment, for his continued military service.
Lieutenant Luke Fugett
Lt. Fugett was born and raised in Elizabeth -- Elizabeth, West Virginia, that is. After graduating from With County High School, he joined the U.S. Navy in 1990 and served our country for seven years and was stationed aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt during the Gulf War (1990-94). Later, he was assigned to Norfolk Naval Air Station, where he was assigned to Shore Patrol, which initiated his desire to pursue a career in law enforcement.
Lt. Fugett was hired by the Scotch Plains police in 1997 and trained at the Stamler Police Academy. He served as a patrol officer until 2008, when he was promoted to the rank of patrol sergeant. He is the recipient of the Exceptional Duty Medal and has been recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for his efforts in DUI Enforcement, and has received many letters of commendation. Lt. Fugett is also a Fair and Impartial Policing Instructor at the Stamler Academy.
A former president of the Scotch Plains PAL, Lt. Fugett coached football and wrestling, as well as basketball and baseball for the YMCA, JCC and town leagues. His 2012 PAL Football D Team won the NYSYF Super Bowl Championship, the first team from Scotch Plains to do so.
Sergeant Bradley J. Belford
Sgt. Belford is a native of Fanwood and a graduate of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and was deployed to Iraq, where he conducted covert operations as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sgt. Belford joined the Scotch Plains police in January 2006 and graduated from the Stamler Police Academy. He was assigned to the patrol division in 2006 until his assignment in the Detective Bureau in early 2017. Later that year, he was recognized by his peers later as Officer of the Year after leading several investigations that resulted in multiple search warrants and the arrests of several suspects distributing heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.
Police Officer Richard Sopko
A native of Clark, NJ, Officer Sopko graduated at ALJ High School and later attended Clemson University, where he earned a B.S. degree in Biological Science. In the summer of 2010, he enlisted in the NJ National Guard to become a combat medic and in June 2014 was deployed in Qatar for nine months. After retunring from Qatar, he moved to Scotch Plains and graduated from the NJ Dept. of Corrections Academy in November 2016 and worked at the Central Reception and Assignment Facility Prision in Trenton before joining the Scotch Plains Police. Additionally, he is currently a staff sergeant and assistant medical platoon sergeant with the 1-102 CAV our of the Westfield Armory.
Also at the meeting, Police Chief Conley announced the return of the Cops & Kids program at SPFK12 middle schools.