BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ Bernards Township Patrol Officer Henry "Hank" Werner will step out of police headquarters for the traditional "walk-out" for retiring officers this Friday, June 29, wrapping up a long and varied career on the township police force.

Werner has been a police officer for 28 years, including 24 in Bernards Township, township officials said.

"Wherever you go, Hank Werner has (gotten) there ahead of you," Township Mayor John Carpenter said on Tuesday night, when the Township Committee passed a resolution commending Werner for his long service.

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Werner currently has been serving in the department's Services/Traffic division, Police Chief Mike Shimsky said on Thursday. Werner had previously served in the Patrol and Traffic divisions, and had been the School Resource Officer (SRO) at William Middle School, Shimsky said.

Werner was very instrumental in teaching the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) programs in township schools over the years, Shimsky said.

"The Bernards Township Police Department is proud to announce the retirement of Officer Henry “Hank” Werner after 28 years as a police officer (24 in Bernards Township)," Shimsky said in a statement on Thursday.

Werner is a 1990 graduate of the Somerset County Police Academy. Before joining the Bernards Township Police force, Werner previously served as a police officer with the Raritan Borough Police Department (1990-1993), and the New Jersey Transit Police Department (1993-1994), Shimsky said.

While a Bernards Township officer, Werner also served on Somerset County Collision Analysis Reconstruction Team (CART) team.

Werner currently is the Bernards Township PBA Local 357 delegate, and serves on the NJ State PBA State Executive board as second vice-president, Shimsky said.

Township officials said on Tuesday that the department is authorized to hire another officer to fill the vacancy that will be created by Werner's retirement. 

The traditional walk-out ceremony is scheduled for Friday at Bernards Township police headquarters at 1 Collyer Lane in Basking Ridge.