Police & Fire

New Scotch Plains Police Recruits Introduced at Council Meeting

Lieutenant Jeff Briel introduces new police recruits -- Richard Sopko, Michael Smolinski, and Charles Tripet -- to the community at the most recent Scotch Plains Council meeting. Credits: John Mooney
Mayor Al Smith, Lieutenant Jeff Briel with new police recruits -- Richard Sopko, Michael Smolinski, and Charles Tripet -- at last week's Scotch Plains Council meeting. Credits: John Mooney

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – At last week’s Scotch Plains Council meeting, Lieutenant Jeff Briel and Mayor Al Smith introduced three new police recruits to the community:

Richard Sopko
Richard Sopko grew up in Clark and graduated from ALJ High School in 2006. After high school, he attended Clemson University and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Science. In the Summer of 2010, he enlisted with the NJ National Guard to become a combat medic and in June 2014 was deployed as the senior medic with an infantry company in Qatar for nine months.

After returning from Qatar, Sopko moved to Scotch Plains and graduated from the NJ Department of Corrections Academy in November 2016. He has been working at the Central Reception and Assignment Facility (CRAF) Prison in Trenton, NJ. Additionally, he is currently a Staff Sergeant and Assistant Medical Platoon Sergeant with the 1-102 CAV out of the Westfield Armory.

Sign Up for E-News

Michael Smolinski
Smolinski has lived in Scotch Plains most of his life and graduated from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in 2007. He spent six and a half years in the military as an infantryman split between active duty and Army National Guard with one combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011. He left the service in May 2016.

"I served my country and now it is time to serve my community," said Somlinski, who has been working towards finishing his Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Management at DeVry University.

Charles Tripet
Born and raised in Scotch Plains, Charles Tripet graduated from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in 1999 and entered the U.S. Army Reserves in February 2000. He served a 12-month combat tour in Iraq, where he earned several service medals and accommodations in 2005. Upon returning, he has served in the public sector for more than a decade, first with Union County Parks and later with the Scotch Plains DPW.

"I look forward to continue serving the community of Scotch Plains as a police officer," Tripet says.

The Township will have a formal swearing in ceremony once the recruits are officially hired as police officers by the SPPD.

TAPintoSPF.net is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily paper. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and twitter @SPF_TAP. Download the free TAPinto App for iPhone or Android.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Union County Students to 'March for Our Lives' Saturday in Union

March 19, 2018

UNION, NJ – Students from all over Union County will be walking from Burnet Middle School to Town Hall on Saturday morning, March 24, in an anti-gun violence march.

Led by steering committee chairman Colin Sumner, the march, which has the support of Senator Joseph Cryan, Moms Demand Action, Union County Chapter, and the Union County Freeholders, is not aimed at taking away guns, but ...

The Day After

Some years ago, the United Nations held the International Summit on Sustainable Development, here in Johannesburg. The Summit was a great success. One wonders, though, whether all the wonderful decisions and resolutions that were adopted were ever implemented. In other words, were they themselves sustainable?

Good ideas and worthwhile projects are suggested regularly. The question is, do they ...

The Role of Meal Replacements in Weight Loss

March 20, 2018

Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States and in other developed and developing countries. The prevalence of obesity is increasing not only in adults, but also in children and adolescents. We all know that obesity is a significant risk factor for various chronic illnesses, most importantly heart disease and diabetes, but also cancer and osteoarthritis, liver and kidney disease, ...

Christopher Dean Band to Play at Westfield Memorial Library

March 20, 2018

The Christopher Dean Band will play at the Westfield Memorial Library on Wednesday, April 4 at 7:00 p.m. The library is located at 550 East Broad Street.

The Christopher Dean Band is a regional blues/soul band based out of the Central New Jersey area, working up and down the East coast year round. Christopher Dean fronts the group, playing guitar and singing lead vocals.

Dean, who was ...

Upcoming Events


Fri, March 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Sun, March 25, 7:00 PM

Temple Sholom, Scotch Plains

The Displaced Persons Camp Experience

Religions And Spirituality


Tue, March 27, 7:30 PM

Temple Emanu-El , Westfield

Intergenerational Holocaust Event at Temple ...