SOMERVILLE, NJ - Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano held his bi-annual awards ceremony at the Somerset County Historic Courthouse, with Superior Court Judge Robert Reed presiding.
New hires, promotions, awards and a retirement were the highlights of the event.
“Today we are welcoming some new hires to our roster and featuring great work by our employees who are tasked to perform special service for each and every one of us,” Provenzano said. “The employees we are acknowledging here are hard-working public servants. I am proud of my employees, who do a brilliant job of protecting and serving the citizens in a variety of ways.”
Provenzano acknowledged the new services of an accelerant-detection K-9 named Billy. The recently acquired Belgian Malinois should be certified by the end of July. The dog was donated by K9 Soldiers, which is operated by J.T Gabriel from Frenchtown. Sheriff’s Officer Al Bauer will be the handler.
“Our K-9 narcotic-detecting dog has been extremely busy this past year,” the sheriff said. “Thus far, drugs with a street value of over $619,000 have been taken off the streets. Also recovered were five guns and over $20,000 dollars in currency.”
The Sheriff’s Office is implementing body-worn cameras, he said. The policy was recently approved and cameras are in the process of being issued to the K-9 handlers.
“I am also proud of the prescription medicine collection program we started nearly six years ago. We have collected over 4 tons of unused, unwanted or outdated prescriptions since 2010,” Provenzano said. “This program goes a long way toward keeping our community safe and keeping new drug problems from surfacing.”
The following recognitions were part of the ceremony:
PROMOTION – SOMERSET COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE:
Sgt. Michael Vanover has been a member of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office for over 15 years. He served as senior detective in the Investigations Unit before being assigned to the Somerset County Gangs and Guns Task Force and then to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, where he worked with the New Jersey State Police and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office hunting online child predators. Prior to working for the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office Vanover was a patrolman with the Groton City Police Department in Connecticut for almost six years. He is a two-time recipient of the Sheriff’s Recognition Award and also was issued the Exceptional Duty Award for his investigation that led to the recovery of two children taken as part of a parental abduction.
NEW HIRE – SOMERSET COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE:
Sheriff’s Officer Joshua Manzo was born and raised in North Plainfield and lives in Raritan Township. He graduated from Hunterdon Central High School and attended Stockton University, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree. He interned at the Hunterdon County Jail and the Somerset County Jail. He also has attended the Ocean County Police Academy as a SLEO Class II, and worked for the Belmar Police Department as a Special Class II.
NEW HIRES – SOMERSET COUNTY JAIL:
Sheriff’s Corrections Officer Steven Bouziotis was born in Lahabra, Calif., in 1991 and moved to New Jersey a few years later. He graduated from Somerville High School in 2010. He also graduated with honors from Raritan Valley Community College in 2014 with an associate’s degree in criminal justice. Bouziotis is attending The College of New Jersey in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in criminology.
Sheriff’s Corrections Officer Craig Fowler lives in Hillsborough. He graduated from Hillsborough High School in 2011. In 2013 he graduated from Raritan Valley Community College with an associate of arts degree in criminal justice. While at Raritan Valley Community College Fowler made the dean’s list.
Sheriff’s Corrections Officer Nicholas Levendusky has lived in South Plainfield his whole life. He graduated from South Plainfield High School in 2009 and attended and graduated from East Stroudsburg University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He worked for North Plainfield as a parking enforcement officer and dispatcher.
Sheriff’s Corrections Officer Mark Kulick was born and raised in Manville. He graduated in 2008 from Manville High School, where he played basketball and baseball. He then attended and graduated from Kean University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
Sheriff’s Corrections Officer Amanda Conner graduated from Somerset County Vocational High School, where she completed her associate’s degree prior to graduating. She played softball and soccer and graduated with the Scholar Athlete Award in 2010. She then attended Lycoming College of Pennsylvania, graduating in three yearswith a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a minor in psychology in 2013.
HONORABLE SERVICE AWARD:
Sheriff’s Officer Juan Olivera was on assignment with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. Olivera participated in numerous investigations leading to the recovery of substantial amounts of narcotics and millions of dollars in seizure funds. Through Olivera’s efforts, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office has received in excess of $400,000; these funds have been utilized to enhance public safety and security throughout Somerset County.
SHERIFF’S RECOGNITION AWARD:
Sean Moroney and Sharon Horochowski of Hillsborough received the Sheriff’s Recognition Award. Their donation helped to purchase a ballistic/stab protection vest for Diesel, the bomb-sniffing K-9 dog. The couple were moved by seeing an article describing the death of an unprotected K-9, according to Provenzano.
Retiring Somerset County Jail Undersheriff Thomas Kelly has served as deputy warden of the Somerset County Jail since October 2005. He received his bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Villanova University and a master’s degree from Rutgers University. He began his law enforcement career with the Bernards Township Police Department, where he served as a detective and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming chief of police. During his career he completed the West Point Command Leadership School and served on the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Emergency Response Team as a negotiator.
INTRODUCTION OF NEW UNDERSHERIFF:
Somerset County Jail Deputy Warden Roger Delin has been a resident of Somerset County for 55 years, growing up in Raritan and then moving to Bridgewater. He has a total of 39 years of law enforcement experience, including his military police service with the U.S. Army; 25 years with the Raritan Police Department, retiring as detective sergeant; and his last 11 years with the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, Correction Division, as Law Library Supervisor. He has received numerous commendations and was a 200 Club Valor Award recipient during his law enforcement career.