FAIRFIELD, NJ — Eleven Fairfield police officers and one civilian were recently commended for helping to save the lives of three people over the last few months.

During a ceremony held at the last township council meeting, Police Chief Anthony Manna said he was “extremely proud of the efforts of all these exceptional police officers.”

“I feel all are deserving of this public praise; but insofar as saving lives, it is beyond extraordinary and not by any accident or by chance that Fairfield police officers saved the lives of these three people during three consecutive months,” said Manna. “It is because of their professionalism, dedication and training that this occurs.”

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Officers Brian Holzmann, Steven Ptaszynski, Daniel Moran and Daniel Kalinowski received lifesaving awards for saving the life of an unresponsive female at the La Quinta hotel on April 8. According to Manna, the woman was not breathing and had no pulse; but with CPR and the use of an AED, the female regained a pulse after two shocks.

Manna explained that the officers continued to assist her until she was transported to an area hospital. Valerie Gilmore, the victim’s mother, reported that her daughter still is recovering from the incident.

Sgt. Michael Nyhuis and Officers Louis Bisciotti and Michael Tilton also received lifesaving awards for their actions on May 5 when they saved the life of an unresponsive male at a Fairfield residence. The officers initiated CPR and attached an AED, and the victim was transported to a hospital after a number of shocks were administered.

Manna reported that the victim is recovering from the incident. He also said he received a call from John Taylor, a West Essex First Aid Squad member, who praised the officers for their performance.

Robert Ragazzo received a civilian award along with the lifesaving awards presented to Sgt. Christopher Niemiec and Officers Steven D’Argenio and Daniel Moran for their actions on June 7 at Hollywood Pizza, where a man was apparently having a heart attack. According to Manna, the victim had no pulse and was not breathing, and Ragazzo began performing CPR.

When the officers arrived, they attached an AED to the victim and inserted an oral airway. The victim regained a pulse, and the officers continued to assist the victim with breathing, Manna said.

Officer Steven Ptaszynski received a narcotics commendation for his actions on May 5 when he stopped a car on Route 80 and detected a strong odor of marijuana. He also observed what appeared to be a large fold of money on the front seat.

According to Manna, Ptaszynski discovered more than a pound and a half of marijuana, $2,800 in cash and drug paraphernalia related to marijuana distribution. One individual was arrested during this incident.

Officer Stacy Chiarolanza received an exceptional duty commendation. About a year ago, Chiarolanza was re-assigned to the department’s newly created administrative division to assist in handling the ever increasing volume of administrative work, according to Manna. This unit was tasked in coordinating community policing initiatives, which included improving on getting important information out to the community in a timely and memorable way.

“More often than I can tell you, I am approached by citizens and members of law enforcement asking me about who is behind our department’s social media efforts,” said Manna. “Today, I will tell you it is Officer Stacy Chiarolanza. She has single-handedly taken over the important job of running the department’s entire social media campaign, providing citizens with valuable information, as well as highlighting the many different things our officers do each day.

“She often does so in very unique and entertaining ways. If you follow our social media pages, and you have seen our ‘Nine O’Clock Routine,’ you know exactly what I am talking about.”

According to Manna, Chiarolanza has brought public acclaim to the department through a social media campaign that furthers police efficiency and advanced the department’s reputation in the community.

During the same council meeting, Manna announced to the community that the police department had recently obtained two pieces of equipment that the department has never had before to assist in helping to better serve and protect the community: a 2019 Harley Davidson motorcycle and a Mavic 2 Enterprise dual drone.

The motorcycle was obtained through a donation from the Columbia Bank Foundation to the Fairfield Police Foundation and will be assigned to the department’s Special Enforcement Unit.

“Between the costs of the motorcycle, the necessary items needed to equip it and all the required uniform needs for the officer, it cost approximately $36,000 for this program to get underway,” said Manna. “But due to our friends at Columbia Bank and those at the Fairfield Police Foundation, no tax payer dollars were spent to do this.

“There is no doubt this acquisition will greatly enhance our department’s community policing initiatives as we saw so many people flock around it at this year’s Independence Day fireworks celebration” said the chief. The motorcycle will be mostly used for various escorts and specific traffic enforcement details.

The drone was purchased with use of forfeiture funds and will also greatly assist both the police department and other township departments with a variety of uses.

“This item has great capabilities and enormous potential to help us with aerial reconnaissance during emergencies, event policing and searching for fleeing suspects both day and night with the use of thermal imaging technology,” said Manna

As a way of showing its gratitude, the police department presented officials from the Columbia Bank Foundation with the department’s Community Partnership Award.

Click HERE to read more about these items and the presentation as well as the department's first junior police academy.