(TRENTON) – The New Jersey Department of Human Services marked National Police Week on Wednesday by honoring 20 of its police officers for their efforts to protect some of New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents.

Police Week is celebrated annually to recognize police officers around the country who lost their lives in the line of duty and to recognize officer achievements. During today’s ceremony, portraits were presented to the families of two Human Services Police Officers who lost their lives in the line of duty – Officer Wilson McLaurin, who died in the line of duty in 1975, and Sgt. Lawrence Bannick, who died in the line of duty in 1977.

The New Jersey Human Services Police serve and protect individuals across New Jersey, including children, individuals with disabilities and others. Their work includes service at the state’s developmental centers and psychiatric hospitals.

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As part of a recognition ceremony at the Department of Human Services, Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson highlighted the essential work of the Human Services Police and noted the unique skills required for this critical role.

“New Jersey’s Human Services Police often handle situations and duties that are the true essence of community policing by engaging with individuals and families at times of great vulnerability and providing steady and supportive leadership,” Johnson said. “Their work requires specialized skills and talents and training. I thank them, particularly their leader Director Tim Gallagher, for their dedication and commitment.”

The following officers were honored during Wednesday’s recognition ceremony:

  • Letters of Recognition
    • Detective Norberto Torres
    • Officer Hipolito Rivera
    • Officer Donald Maurone
    • Officer Bruce Cooper
    • Detective Zivojin Savkov
    • Officer Fernado Ortiz-Torres
    • Officer Dwayne Wilcox
    • Officer Darren Smith
    • Officer Daniel Scharff
  • Certificates of Unit Commendation
    • Detective Norberto Torres
    • Detective Zivojin Savkov
    • Officer Edward Klapach
    • Officer Marcial Martinez-Gomez
  • Letters of Commendation
    • Officer John Cascone
    • Officer Edward Klapach
  • Certificates of Appreciation
    • Lieutenant James Powell (Retired)
    • Lieutenant Barry Ballurio (Retired)
    • Sergeant John Doumenis(Retired)
    • Detective John Austino (Retired)
    • Officer David Kahn (Retired)
    • Officer William Hawkins (Retired)
    • Officer Scott Delussa (Retired)
    • Officer Marc Daigle (Retired)
  • Oath of Office
    • Officer Anthony Hoffman
    • Officer Michael Luko