Letter to the Editor:

(Middlesex County) – Over the past few months police officers around the 18th Legislative District have made headlines for their heroic actions they have taken while serving the community.

On June 21 Patrolmen Robert Thuring and Ryan Hensperger responded to calls about a man attempting to jump off the Route 18 overpass onto the New Jersey Turnpike. The two officers grabbed the man as he hung over the Route 18 railing just above the New Jersey Turnpike traffic. As the officers held onto the man you could hear on the dash board footage the officer saying "come here, come here" to the man. The man replied "please just let me go." "No," the officer responded as the two continued to try and pull the man to safety.

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The officers were able to grab him and bring him back over the railing and into safety on the roadway. "You're OK buddy, you're OK,” one officer could be heard telling the man. "We're going to get you help," the officer added. “he quick thinking and compassion that officers Robert Thuring and Ryan Hensperger showed while helping save this man was simply incredible. Their heroic actions helped not only save this man’s life but to also get him the proper help that he needed. It is hard to put into words how proud I am of Robert Thuring and Ryan Hensperger.

In addition to the heroic actions taken by the East Brunswick police officers two Metuchen police officers also saved a man’s life just a few weeks later. On Friday August 21 while playing in a men’s league soccer game at the Metuchen Sportsplex two off-duty Metuchen police officers sprang into action when an opposing player collapsed on the field. Upon hearing calls for help Sgt. Wayne Karalevich and Officer Octavio Tapia both ran over to the collapsed man and began assessing him. They quickly determined the man did not have a pulse and began to administer CPR. Upon starting CPR Sgt. Karalevich called for someone to grab the automated external defibrillator.

After receiving the defibrillator Sgt. Karalevich hooked the device up to the individual and administered a shock. The combination of the CPR and AED helped the man regain his pulse and he soon became responsive. This is a testament to the training our officers receive in CPR and defibrillator use. To go from playing soccer, to preforming lifesaving CPR truly speaks volumes about the commitment these men have to our community. The heroic actions from Sgt. Wayne Karalevich and Officer Octavio Tapia helped a man go home to his family. I am incredibly proud of how quickly they were able to asses and handle the situation.

When asked by the Home News Tribune Metuchen Police Chief Dave Irizarry had similar sentiment saying "This is yet another example of how police officers are never really ‘off-duty.’ One moment they were playing in a soccer game and the next they were saving a life. I am extremely proud of both officers for jumping into action and allowing their training to immediately take over under stressful conditions."

Thank you officers Thuring, Hensperger, Karalevich, and Tapia for going above and beyond the call of duty. We are all proud of you.

Senator Patrick J Diegnan