SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- During National Police Week (May 11-17, 2020), the Scotch Plains police department annually celebrates the meritorious service of its officers.

At the Scotch Plains Council meeting on Tuesday, May 12, Chief Ted Conley announced this year's winners of the Meritorious Service Medal, the Life Saving Medal, and the Father Nelligan Award (Officer of the Year) issued by the Knights of Columbus.

Officer Gerard Rites and Officer Luis Pereira: Meritorious Service Medal
Officers Rites and Pereira received for saving a suicidal young woman, who was armed with a box cutter and had already begun harming herself, from taking her own life. This incident occurred in November 2019. (Nominated by Sgt. Jason Everitt).

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Officer Michael Baltazar: Officer of the Year Award (AKA The Father Nelligan Award issued by the Knights of Columbus)
Officer Michael Baltazar has distinguished himself through his professionalism and dedication to the Scotch Plains Police Department as well as the residents of Scotch Plains. He is a Field Training Officer (FTO), responsible for training new recruits and transfers from other departments and is also the assistant TAC officer, responsible for validation of the NCIC system and keeping records up to date. Officer Baltazar also led the department in arrests over the last year, 41 of which were for Driving Under the Influence, the reason he was also the recipient of the MADD Award, issued by Mother's Against Drunk Driving. 

Officer Christian Ostrowski (2nd) and Officer Tricia DiLollo: Life Saving Medal
Officers Ostrowski and DiLollo received this medal for saving an individual who had overdosed in the stall of a local restaurant and briging him back to life after administering narcan to reverse the effects of the drugs he had taken. The incident occurred in November 2019. (Nominated by Sgt. Everitt).

Sgt. Bradley Belford (2nd), Officer Zachary VonLangen (2nd) and Officer Devon Turner (2nd): Life Saving Medal
These three members of SPPD received the award for responding to a call for an unresponsive male who had stopped breathing and had no pulse. These officers provided continuous CPR for an extended period of time until EMS joined in and eventually were able to bring the man back to life. This incident occurred in March 2020. (Nominated by Lt. Michael Tardi).

Officer Bryan Frew and Officer Kyle Savoia (2nd): Life Saving Medal
Officers Frew and Savoia received their medal for responding to the scene of an individual who had overdosed and was unresponsive. Upon their arrival, the officers were informed that the individual had an addiction to pills and alcohol and had tried to commit suicide in the past. Officer Frew began CPR while Officer Savoia administered narcan. After continuous CPR and a second dose of narcan, the individual regained consciousness and survived. This incident took place in March 2020. (Nominated by Sgt. Everitt)

Officer Gerard Rites (3rd), Officer Luis Pereira (2nd) and Officer Tricia DiLollo (2nd): Life Saving Medal
The officers received this medal for their efforts when they responded to the scene of a motor vehicle accident on Route 22 and found the driver of one of the vehicles unresponsive. During the middle of the pouring rain, while wearing PPE due to the COVID-19 crisis, the officers performed CPR on the individual for an extended period of time and were able to bring him back to life. This incident occurred in April 2020. (Nominated by Sgt. Brian Hayeck).

Citizen Joseph Cerami: Chief's Citizenship Award
On June 24, 2019, a car struck a juvenile who was riding his bicycle in the area of Park Avenue and Church Avenue. The driver of the vehicle who struck the boy fled the scene heading south on Park Avenue. Mr. Cerami, who had just witnessed the incident, followed the suspect vehicle until he was able to block their path until police could respond to the scene.Sgt. Jerald Brown, supervisor of the Traffic Bureau, nominated Mr. Cerami for the Chief's Citizenship Award for his actions of going above and beyond in an effort to bring a perpetrator to justice. (Nominated by Sgt. Jerald Brown).

Chief Conley also announced that several officers had received accolades for receiving Letters of Commendation for their actions taken over the last year.

"I am extremely proud of all of our officers and find it rewarding to acknowledge the actions of several of them who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in an effort to serve this community with the highest level of professionalism," Chief Conley said. "They have done an outstanding job!" is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily local news source. Sign up for our free daily eNewsletter and “Like” us on Facebook and Twitter @SPF_TAP. Download the free TAPinto App for iPhone or Android.