BERNARDS TWP., NJ - The township's newest patrol officer, Rhys Marten, was officially sworn into the 38-officer police department on Tuesday night, followed by an awards presentation to recognize achievements in the department.
Marten already is on the job, after being hired by the Township Committee on Sept. 1 to replace longtime Bernards Township Officer Dan Snyder, who retired on Sept. 29.
Police Chief Brian Bobowicz introduced both officers at Tuesday's Bernards Township Committee. Marten, who was hired at a starting annual salary of $50,000, had previously been an officer with the Chester Borough police department.
The chief said Snyder had filled multiple roles during more than 21 years as a Bernards Township officer, including assignments as detective, traffic officer, shift commander and firearms instructor.
Following Marten's swearing in, Bobowicz presented awards and commendations to multiple officers in the department, as well as other law enforcement officials and local fire officials for accomplishments for the past few years.
He gave a brief overview of the actions that led to each award, whether it was rescuing a grandfather and young girl from a kayak in a swollen river; making an arrest that led to the seizure of 25 "bricks" (2,500 individual doses) of heroin; working to set up domestic violence programs for spouses and their children; gaining a confession and a guilty plea of a suspect who sexually assaulted a child; foiling a burglary of copper pipes at an unoccupied home and more.
Bobowicz called Sgt. Jon Burger and Detective Sgt. William Brown of the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office up the front of the room before their award. He said that Burger responded last summer to an ultimately tragic situation with an active shooter on Mt. Horeb Road in Warren Township, where the shooter had succeeded in trapping two Warren police officers.
Bobowicz said Burger managed to block the officers so they were able to break free. He added that Brown, off duty at the time of the incident, responded and helped to handle the dangerous situation, which led to the suicide of the gunman, who killed two other people.
The chief said nothing he could write for the Tuesday presentation could convey the danger at the scene before the officers were rescued.
Among other attributes, Bobowicz credited the department with a daily strong work ethic.
"I think we have the best police department in the state," Bernards Mayor John Malay said during Township Committee comments.
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