SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - The South Brunswick Police Department held their annual awards ceremony Monday. The ceremony recognized outstanding actions by officers and citizens in 2017. The awards ranged from two students who turned in a bag with $700 in cash, to officers who performed lifesaving efforts to a man shot multiple times.
"It is the day in and day out actions of so many that make a difference," South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka said.
"Today we recognize those officers and citizens who went above and beyond. The actions of these officers saved lives, recovered thousands of dollars in stolen property, and captured suspects who looked to commit crime in our community. These officers represent the best of the best in how they handled the calls they faced.”
Citizen’s Appreciation Award – civilian award for outstanding actions
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Zion Foster and Sameer Sheth
On May 21, 2017 Foster, 7, and Sheth, 12, found a backpack in the parking lot of a Dayton townhouse complex. In the bag was $700 in cash and a passport. The two boys took the bag to their parents and called police. The back was returned to the owner.
Marie L. Doherty and Thomas Doherty
On January 27, 2017, these alert neighbors observed a burglary in progress to a Kendall Park home. They called 911 and provided police dispatch with a complete description of the three suspects. Doherty chased the suspects on foot as they fled out of the home into a waiting vehicle. Doherty’s description of the vehicle and the directions it traveled were key to the capture of the suspects. Their actions resulted in the arrest of three suspects and recovery of the stolen items.
On July 13, 2017, Lanza jumped into actions when he saw a car crash on Ridge Road. The car was on fire and the driver was still trying to free himself. Lanza used his fire extinguisher on the vehicle which provided the driver an opportunity to escape his burning vehicle without injury.
Exceptional Service Medals – Top award given to officers for actions taken in 2017
Patrol Officer Michael Leung
Sergeant Eric Buraszeski
On January 27, 2017, Leung and Buraszeski showed initiative and accomplishment by capturing three suspects who had just broke into a Kendall Park home. The officers tracked down the suspect’s vehicle based on a witness’ description and conducted a high risk motor vehicle stop, taking three suspects into custody and recovering the homeowners stolen goods.
Detective Timothy Hoover
On August 23, 2017, conducted a follow-up into a statewide motor vehicle theft ring. During his investigation he identified five actors, secured confessions and linked them to a dozens of car thefts around the State. His investigation led to the recovery of four car stolen out of South Brunswick.
Detective Dennis Yuhasz
Detective Domenick “Rick” Delucia
These detectives detailed and extensive three month investigation led to identifying the suspects responsible for a Monmouth Junction burglary. The detectives used video surveillance, interviews, and cell phone tower sites to link the suspects to the $7,000 burglary. The career criminals were arrested and charged with burglary and theft.
Patrolman Ricardo Moreira
On October 21, 2017, Moreira conducted a motor vehicle stop, and determined the driver had an outstanding warrant. As he went to place the driver under arrest, he felt a handgun in his waist. Moreira tactics and skills led to the safe recovery of the loaded handgun.
Life Saving Medals – Officers receive this award for actions taken resulting in a life being saved
Patrol Officer Gagan Chopra
Patrol Officer Jarrid Harpster
On September 10, 2017, these officers responded to a fire in a hotel room at the Best Western on Route 1. The officers began to evacuate the 50 hotel rooms when residents alerted them that one resident was still in his room. Officers forced entry into the room and were able to rescue the hotel guest
Patrol Officer Don Whicker
Patrol Officer Ricardo Moreira
Patrol Officer Jason Gassman
On October 15, 2017 these officers responded to a man shot at a BP Gas Station on Route 27. Upon arrival the officers discovered a 60 year old male employee of the gas station with multiple gunshot wounds. Their fast response and quick actions provided lifesaving emergency care. The man was treated for several weeks at an area hospital and has recovered as a result of the officers’ actions.
Patrol Officer Matt Hagood
Patrol Officer Jarrid Harpster
Patrol Officer George Morgan
On September 9, 2017, responded to a Kendall Park home where a 67 year old man was unresponsive. The officers discovered the man was in cardiac arrest. They quickly administered automated external defibrillator (AED) and continued CPR. Their efforts restored the man’s pulse and he began breathing. Their actions saved the man’s life.
Patrol Officer Kevin O’Neill
Patrol Officer Matt Skolsky
On August 7, 2017, located a 57 year old man dazed and confused in a vehicle on the side of Route 1. The officers investigated and determined the man was not intoxicated but suffering a medical condition. The man was rushed to an area hospital where it was later diagnose as having diabetes. The quick assessment and treatment allowed him to survive.
Letter of Commendation – Officers are recognized with this award for outstanding work in the performance of their duties.
Patrol Officer Sal Fama
Patrol Officer Robert Marrese
On July 18, 2017, received intelligence from a citizen regarding narcotics activity. The officers’ subsequent investigation led to the arrest of the actor for distribution of methamphetamine.
Patrol Officer Craig Cleffi
Patrol Officer Brooke LaBell
On March 12, 2017, responded to a call that the Hotel Vincenza was just robbed. The officers located the actor who violently resisted their attempts to take him into custody. Officers were able to subdue the subject and arrested him for robbery, aggravated assault and burglary.
Patrol Officer Pete Santa
Patrol Officer Michael Urstadt
On February 12, 2017, responded to a burglar alarm at a local liquor store. Through their investigation, the officers positively identified the actor from surveillance footage and located him nearby. He was charged with Criminal Mischief, Burglary and Theft.
Detective Sergeant Michael Pellino
Detective Timothy Hoover
Detective Eric Tighelaar
This team of investigators worked with other law enforcement agencies to piece together a case against four suspects for shooting a gas station attendant on Route 27. The suspects were charged with Attempted Murder, Aggravated Assault, Attempted Carjacking and Weapons Offenses.
Civilian Staff Recognition Award – this award recognizes a civilian staff member for outstanding work and contribution to the agency
He researched and applied for a NJ Transit bus grant. His work resulted in the Township receiving a $58,000 grant from NJ Transit for a new senior bus.
Civilian Staff Recognition Award / Community Service Award - this award recognizes a civilian staff member and sworn officer for an innovative approach to community engagement.
Detective Lieutenant Ron Seaman
They created and implemented a Special Needs Registry program that allows officers to have vital information in rapid time on someone with special needs. The program came about after Lieutenant Seaman realized one-third of all reported missing people in the Township had special needs.
The awards ceremony also recognized officers for excellence in physical training, firearms, and educational achievement. The ceremony was held in the main meeting room of township and was attended by more than 80 guests. Chief
Hayducka concluded the event by acknowledging all the police staff.
“It takes an entire department from dispatchers to clerical to sworn officers to keep our community safe," Hayducka said. "I want to thank each member of our agency for making a difference in the lives of the people we serve."