MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Chamber of Commerce held its 2018 awards dinner March 9, honoring the Citizen of the Year and other township organizations for their accomplishments. Montville Township Police Officer Alex Yang was named the Public Safety Award recipient.

He was introduced by Police Chief Andrew Caggiano, who said that Yang graduated from Montville Township High School in 2003. He graduated from Rutgers University in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

Officer Yang joined the Montville Township Police Department in 2012. He also served in the U.S. Army and served overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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“Officer Yang is assigned to the Patrol Division and is one of the department’s field training officers, firearms instructors, defensive tactics instructors and an armorer. He has been responsible for training four of the last six officers that we have hired. We trust in his ability and his decision making skills,” Caggiano said.

Yang has been involved in many officer-initiated arrests and proactive details throughout his career with Montville Township, according to Caggiano. He cited the following examples:

*Officer Yang was involved in eight DWI arrests in 2018.

*On Feb. 2, 2018, Yang made a motor vehicle stop which led to the arrest of an individual for distribution of a controlled dangerous substance in a school zone. This included THC oils, a large amount of marijuana, multiple containers of marijuana wax, digital scales, packaging material and various drug paraphernalia.

*On April 8, 2018, Yang made a motor vehicle stop on Route 46. While speaking to the driver, Yang noticed that the passenger showed signs of drug use. A search of the vehicle by Officer Yang located multiple hypodermic needles hidden throughout the vehicle and on their persons, plus approximately 40 bags of heroin. The passengers and driver were charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance and the driver was charged with being under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance.

*On July 5, 2018, Yang made a motor vehicle stop on Hook Mountain Road. While speaking to both the driver and passenger of the vehicle, he recognized conflicting stories between the two individuals. After obtaining consent to search the vehicle, Yang located 350 bags of heroin, an additional 11 folds of heroin, four syringes and one bag of crystal methamphetamine.

*On Oct. 18, 2018, Yang made a motor vehicle stop on Route 46. Yang took notice of multiple indicators that would lead him to believe that the individuals he had stopped were heroin users. Dispatch confirmed that one of the individuals was wanted for receiving stolen property and drug paraphernalia. A consent form was signed and Yang located two glass vials of crack cocaine, three loaded heroin syringes and additional used syringes, 21 used wax folds of heroin, 23 used glass vials of cocaine and various forms of drug paraphernalia.

Caggiano said that one particular incident “highlights Officer Yang’s professionalism as a police officer.”

“On Nov. 21, 2018, Officer Yang was dispatched to a dispute at a residence. Once Officer Yang, Officer Joe Lograsso and Sgt. Adam Kenny walked to the front door of the residence, they were met by the caller,” Caggiano told the assembled guests. “Officer Yang noticed a male walk out of the kitchen with a large knife in his right hand. This male turned and faced Yang and was pointing the 12-inch blade towards him. Yang drew his service weapon and demanded that the male drop the knife. The male refused to drop the knife and kept asking the officers to shoot him. Swaying back and forth, the male continuously asked for them to shoot him while officers were trying to de-escalate the situation. After pleading with the male to drop the knife, the male eventually complied and the officers were able to safely secure the weapon and the male without the use of deadly force.”

Yang thanked his wife and fellow officers, stating, “Each of them deserves to be lauded for choosing a profession where the courage to confront danger in the face of fear is a job requirement. I am proud of our commitment to the community and desire for excellence.”

Yang said that some events from 2018 serve as proof that “this award truly belongs to the men and women of this department,” and he outlined some more situations in which officers had helped residents:

*Officers used Narcan 10 times, saving eight victims of opioid overdoses.

*On Jan. 15, 2018, Corporal Scott Demagistris and Patrolman Sam Greendyk engaged in a vehicle and foot pursuit with a man who had just stolen a car in the neighborhood near William Mason Elementary.

*On March 1, 2018, Officer Sean Regan located a domestic violence suspect hiding in a dark crawl space underneath a house. Regan waited and within moments heard shallow breathing, pulled the suspect out, and saved his life with multiple doses of Narcan.

*On March 7, 2018, during a 10-hour period, and during a storm in which the township received almost 27” of snow, officers worked 18 hours and responded to 77 separate incidents. During the height of the storm, with treacherous conditions, officers responded to nearly 15 incidents and hour, which is a lot. Officers commandeered snow plows to create their own paths through the snow in order to rescue residents and render aid. When plow trucks got stuck, officers walked hundreds of feet through the deep snow to reach residents. “I did so myself,” Yang added.

*On July 18, 2018, Lt. Charles Tremblay, Sgt. Ian Jacobsen, Sgt. Robert Szczur, Officer Jason Blustein, and Officer Daniel Cooney quickly located and arrested a man who had burglarized a home in Pine Brook. A child was home alone at the time and had reported the man breaking into the home, Facetiming with his father to do so.

*On Aug. 30, 2018, Kenny, Officer Michael Cooney, and Officer David Chieppa investigated a suspicious car parked in a business on Hook Mountain Road. Their investigations resulted in the arrest of a man and woman for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine and LSD. It was the most meth I’ve ever seen in my life.

*On Dec. 31, 2018, Officer Dan Casillo and Officer Daniel Cooney responded to a burglary in Towaco. The burglars had entered the house at night while the residents were home. Upon the officers’ arrival, they could see the burglars inside. They rushed into the house and set up a perimeter. The burglars fled the house and the officers’ quick actions ensured the safety of the residents.

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