Bridgewater Township Police officers were honored for service to the department at the annual award ceremony Dec. 14.
“This is an extremely positive experience for me, the mayor and the department because we do not get a chance to recognize these accomplishments on a daily basis,” said Bridgewater Township Police Chief Richard Borden.
The Award, Hiring and Promotion Ceremony was held in the municipal courtroom, and was hosted by Borden and Mayor Dan Hayes.
The ceremony, Borden said, began with promotions, with Sgt. Luke Daley promoted to lieutenant, Officer Michael Packwood promoted to sergeant, Officer Paul Payne promoted to sergeant and Officer Sean O’Neill promoted to sergeant.
“Lt. Daley is a 23-year veteran of the police department,” Borden said. “Sgt. Packwood is a 17-year member of the department, Sgt. Payne is a 15-year veteran and Sgt. O’Neill is a 14-year member.”
In addition, Borden said, the department hired two officers, former Roselle Park officer Kevin Florczak and former Somerset County Sheriff’s Department officer Adam Alosi.
“Promotions signify positive change and new opportunities for officers who have been awaiting their chance for a new challenge,” Borden said. “It also demonstrates the police department is able to move forward despite difficult financial times, and to encourage and motivate younger officers to continue to strive in their chosen profession.”
From there, Borden said, a number of awards were given out for service.
- Medal of Merit—It was given to Sgt. Stephen Jurczak for his work on the department’s accreditation project. It was also given to Det. Lawrence Boody for his work as a composite artist for the Bridgewater department and others throughout the state, resulting in the apprehension of many suspects. Det. Sean O’Neill also received it for his work on a series of internal thefts at the UPS facility.
- Exceptional Service Award—Lt. Joseph Gorski and Officer John Mitzak received the award for the apprehension of a suspect conducting an in-progress burglary in a residence.
- Exceptional Service Award—Det. Scott Slepokura received it for his 18-month investigation into the HK Travel fraud case, which involved 55 victims.
- Exceptional Service Award—Officer John Bezak received it for his safe delivery of a new baby after they determined they couldn’t get the mother to the hospital in time.
- Civilian Awards—Therese Clegg, Hanna Tiner, Jude Iner, Nathan DeRitter and Eli DeRitter.
- Letter of Commendation Award—Detectives Michael Packwood, Scott Slepokura and Thomas Rice, and Officers Randy Pelley, Douglas Thorsen, Melinda Foster, John Cooper, Scott Hobbs, Robert Reilly, Arthur Akins, Louis Bowers, Patrick Knapp, Kurt Bernhard, Christopher Fischer, John Mitzak and Robert Stasiulaitis
- CPR/Defibrillator Save Award—Lt. Gerald Nunery, and Officers Kurt Bernhard, Peter Ochs, Michael Ziarnowski, Jason Albanese, Cooper, Mark Zaslavsky, Christopher Fischer and Robert Reilly, and New Jersey State Trooper Sean Talty
Borden said the police officers, dispatchers, firefighters, Emergency Medical Service personnel, Office of Emergency Management and Public Works Department were also honored for their work during and after Superstorm Sandy.
“The awards are signs to the individuals that someone believes their work should be recognized and is important, meaningful and at times save lives,” he said. “Effort should be recognized, and with these awards, I feel it is the least we can do.”