October 6, 2004
HAZLET COPS NAB
WOULD BE COP KILLER
On September 19, 2004 Patrolman Ted Wittke Jr. of
the Hazlet Township Police Department stopped
Police & Fire
a vehicle containing three
people for running a stop sign. It was just after midnight.
As he was approaching the driver side window he
observed the rear seat passenger furtively stuffing something in his left
After receiving the credentials from the driver for
the vehicle he asked the rear seat passenger to show him his hands to
which he did not listen until he firmly order him to do so. He asked the
rear passenger what he was stuffing in his pocket to which he stated
"nothing officer, I was just adjusting this knife." With this the rear
passenger held up his hands showing Patrolman Wittke a black and silver
folding knife which was approximately 8" in length that Wittke took
control of from the rear passenger.
By this time Patrolman Wittke was joined by
Patrolman Vincent Quinn who took a position along the passenger side of
the vehicle. Patrolman Quinn immediately noticed and advised Officer
Wittke that a cigar wrapped up in a manner commonly used to smoke
marijuana also known as a blunt was on the seat besides the rear
A subsequent search revealed marijuana and crack
cocaine. The rear seat passenger Romelo Santana admitted ownership
of the CDS and was arrested.
At headquarters Santana provided a date of birth and
indicated that he had been born and raised in Paterson, New Jersey. A
check with the DMV for any prior history proved negative in locating any.
Wittke then ran Santana through the AFIS system to which there was still
no record for Santana.
Wittke then completed the necessary paperwork and
was about to release Santana until he asked Santana for his social
security number to which he provided one that began with the numbers 346-.
Wittke realized that if Santana was truly born in New Jersey that his
social security number would have started with the number 1. After asking
Santana several times as to where he was born and getting the same answer,
Ptl. Wittke faxed Santana's fingerprints to the FBI.
After about thirty minutes a reply came back
indicating that Santana was not really Santana but that he was indeed
Michael Tyrell Watkins.
Watkins was a wanted fugitive out of Mecklenburg
County, North Carolina for resisting arrest and shooting a police officer
at close range.
Talk about being on your game!
There is no greater arrest than that of someone who
shoots a cop. Officers Wittke and Quinn, you might as well wrap up
your careers now, because you will never beat this one.
Seriously, the entire law enforcement community is
indebted to you. Most certainly, an officer in North Carolina will
keep you both in his prayers for the rest of his life.
Not only did you bring this excrement to
justice, you very possibly saved the life of another officer.
Patrolman Ted Wittke Jr. and Patrolman Vincent
Quinn, NJLawman.com lauds you both for your excellent, excellent work.
Hazlet Township Police
Ted Wittke Jr.
CITY PO DIPPEL
You're on patrol when a report of a structure fire comes over the
radio. You go.
You arrive to find smoke and flames coming from an auto repair shop.
Jersey City Police Officer Mark Dippel faced this
exact situation on July 1 of this year.
It was just after 2:00 p.m. when the
incident occurred. After assessing the situation, Officer Dippel ran
into the building by himself. Inside, he found it to be pitch black
with smoke. His route of travel through the burning building was fed
by the panicked screams of the man inside.
When he finally found him, the man's arms
and chest were on fire. Dippel grabbed him and made his way through
the thick smoke and flames back out to safety.
The man was airlifted to the burn unit at
Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston after Officer Mark Dippel pulled
him from the burning structure.
It would take two more hours for the Fire
Department to contain the fire. Much of the shop and the cars inside
had been incinerated. Additionally, two mechanics, a fire fighter
and Dippel had to be transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation or
Officer Dippel was treated and released
later in the evening. He would later tell reporters from the Jersey
Journal, " To someone on the outside, it may seem
like a very big deal. I think anybody would do something like that."
It doesn't get too much more dramatic than
running into a burning building and dragging a man on fire out to
You are an inspiration to us all Officer
Dippel. NJLawman.com honors...
Jersey City Police
Officer Mark Dippel
OLSEN DO THE UNDOABLE
A report of an unconscious person always
gets the blood moving. You never know what you will find.
On May 26th, 2004 Patrolman Dominick Brown
and Patrolman Frank Olsen of the Runnemede Police Department responded to
such a call.
Upon arrival on the scene, the officers found the
victim lying on the ground next to his van. A preliminary assessment
of the gentleman revealed no signs of life. For all intents and
purposes, he was dead.
Ptl. Brown immediately began CPR. At the same
time, with the help of Ptl. Olsen, the AED unit was attached to the
The officers continued to administer CPR, and they
administered a shock to the victim with the AED. They continued with
life saving efforts until Runnemede
EMS arrived on the scene and took over.
When the ambulance left, the officers were left to
themselves and their thoughts wondering as to the outcome. Before
too long, other calls came in, and the officers were on to the next one.
What a wonderful feeling it must have been for them
when two days later they received a visit from a woman at the
headquarters. It turned out that she was the daughter of the fallen
She went to see Officers Brown and Olsen to thank
them. She thanked them for saving her father's life.
There are many moments in a career. For
Officers Brown and Olsen, this would be, most certainly, one of them.
Thank you Sgt. William Geigelman for highlighting
your officers' efforts.
On January 8, 2004 at approximately 9:17 p.m. Hazlet Township officers
were dispatched to a report of an armed robbery that had occurred at a gas
station. A description of the
suspect and vehicle was provided to responding officers.
Additionally, officers were informed that the actor might be
armed with a sawed off shotgun.
Since other officers were already responding to the scene, Hazlet
Patrolman Michael Tristao positioned
himself at that the 117 entrance ramp of the Garden State Parkway.
His gamble paid off.
A vehicle matching the description
approached the toll. Officer Tristao pulled out from the shoulder and
proceeded to fall behind the suspect's vehicle.
After confirming the description of the vehicle, Patrolman Tristao
activated his emergency lights and siren in an attempt
to effect a motor vehicle stop. The vehicle sped up and continued
North on the Garden State Parkway at a high rate of speed.
continued behind the suspect while keeping his cool and informing his
the progress of the chase.
Patrolman Tristao was about to call the pursuit off because of the
suspect's recklessness when, instead of passing an SUV, the actor
struck the SUV. This caused the
suspect's vehicle to flip over onto it's roof.
After checking on the well being of the SUV
occupants, Officer Tristao proceeded to the suspect vehicle using
extreme caution and found the driver unconscious. He immediately
notified his headquarters of his location, which was in Perth Amboy, and that he
needed medical assistance for the suspect. Later, Officer Tristao
would search the interior of the vehicle and find an eight inch knife duct taped
to a long wooden rod made to look like a
shotgun. By this time, he was joined by Corporal George Menedez who
located the proceeds of the robbery inside of the
The suspect was transported to Robert Wood Johnson
Hospital where he was treated and released back to the officers.
After being transported back to headquarters, the actor admitted to Detective Sergeant Howard Nuss his
role in the robbery in addition to three other robberies in Edison,
Clark, and Hillside where he attempted to run over a police officer
attempting to stop him during that incident.
There is nothing more stressful in law enforcement than a pursuit.
Hazlet Patrolman Michael Tristao clearly kept his cool. He
responded, pursued and apprehended a wanted, dangerous felon. His
actions were text book. While not the initial officer, Corporal George Menedez
was there, several towns away, to back up one of his partners.
Finally, the interview skills of Detective Sergeant Howard Nuss solved a
series of robberies, one of which resulted in an attempted assault of a
Nice job Hazlet. Welcome to Top Cops. NJLawman honors...
Hazlet Township Police
Patrolman Michael Tristao
Corporal George Menedez
Sergeant Howard Nuss
HILL RISK LIVES
- "Respond to the residence for a report of an unknown problem.
This kind of call is dispatched frequently. Often, the cause is
children playing with the phone or some other benign act.
On Friday, December 24, 2003 this would not be the case for Patrolmen T.J.
Hurley and Robert Hill of the Howell Police Department in Monmouth County.
As the officers arrived at the residence they were greeted by dark smoke pouring
out of the ridge vent of the roof of the house. They approached the
home and saw that black soot had already caked on the windows.
Instead of just rushing in, they kept their heads. Officers Hurley
and Hill first checked the front door. This was fortunate. The
front door was hot from the flames behind it.
They then went around to the back. Fearing there may be someone
trapped inside, they entered the residence by breaking through a rear
sliding door to conduct a search of the house or as much of a search as
they could without breathing or fire protection apparatus.
As they searched through the smoke-filled rooms, they discovered an
unconscious elderly woman on the floor of the kitchen. Officers
Hurley and Hill carried the woman out of the burning residence. She
had already inhaled a good amount of smoke. The officers had to
continued administering CPR until the Howell First Aid Squad arrived on
The woman was rushed to Centra State Medical Center. Although she
was listed in critical condition, she was alive. This was clearly
not be the case if not for the heroic actions of Howell Officers Hurley
and Hill. They entered a burning building, conducted a search
through smoke darkened rooms, found an unconscious woman, carried her out
of the house, and brought her back to life by administering CPR.
Also, it was later learned that the victim, 75, suffers from multiple
sclerosis, a degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system,
and lives alone. Clearly, these officers were her only chance..
For their actions, they both had to be taken to Central State Medical
Center and treated for smoke inhalation.
These officers risked their own lives to save another. Such heroism
is bigger than the uniform. Patrolman Hurley and Patrolman
Hill are a credit to their department and to us as a whole. You guys
did an awesome job.
Howell Township Police
SERIAL BANK ROBBER
A Monday midnight shift in December can be quite boring. Often, the
only are people around are the ones driving the same type car as
you. On December 1, though, a patrolman from the Hawthorne Police
Department landed what will probably be the biggest arrest of his career.
It was just after 1:00 a.m. when Hawthorne Patrolman Robert Finstra was
engaged in his normal midnight shift routine. He was in the area of a
7-Eleven convenience store when he noticed a man walking in and out of the
store. The man was then pacing frantically in front of the building.
Patrolman Finstra decided to check out this suspicious subject. He
approached to conduct an interview. During the encounter Patrolman
Finstra conducted a frisk of the man which revealed a crack pipe. No
problem. Officer Finstra placed the man under arrest without
incident. He searched the subject and secured him in the rear of the
It was after the man had been placed in the patrol car when a dim light
bulb went off in Patrolman Robert Finstra's head. The officer had
seen this man before but where? Suddenly, the light bulb grew.
It kept growing.
Officer Finstra recognized the subject from a photo he had seen back at
headquarters. The photograph was of a man suspected in robbing at
least five different banks. The arrestee was transported back to
headquarters and a full investigation was launched. Bam! It
The FBI has taken over the case, and the man arrested by Patrolman Finstra
was expected to be formally served with Federal bank robbery charges.
This man was wanted in several different jurisdictions and by several
local, state, and Federal agencies. As what often occurs, it was the
street cop doing good police work who took him down.
Officer Robert Finstra, great job! Your observations of
the suspicious person are surpassed only by your intuition in putting him
together with the photograph. Who knows what you may have
prevented. We have yet another officer who can claim the title of
having arrested a bank robber. Again, great job!
PO MOORE AND MALDONADO FIGHT BACK
On our message boards the topic of getting involved in situations while
off duty sometimes comes
up. Most agree that we need to take some kind of action when
a situation involves violence and someone is in danger. This,
however, is easier said then done.
On Monday, November 24, 2003 Newark Police Officer Tyrone Moore found
himself in this position.
Officer Moore was off duty in his personal vehicle. While driving
through a parking lot, he noticed a subject walking out of a Dunkin
Donuts store on Court Street in Newark. The man was carrying a
cash register drawer in one hand and a large caliber handgun in the
Using his cell phone, Officer Moore contacted police to report his
observations and request on-duty officers to respond. Moore began
following the subject who ducked behind some bushes and began taking the
cash from the register drawer.
Police Officer Moore got out of his car, displayed his badge and
identified himself as a police officer. He ordered the subject to
drop his weapon. The subject ignored Moore's commands and opened
fire on the off-duty officer.
Officer Moore fired back. The subject then took off on foot.
While running, he turned and fired on Officer Moore again. Moore
returned fire. The chase continued for two blocks. A second
off duty officer, Anthony Maldonado who had heard the radio traffic
responded to help his brother officer.
The two off duty officers hooked up and chased the subject into an
apartment building on Washington Street. The subject fired on the
two off duty officers who returned fire. Eventually, the officers
cornered this fellow in a hallway. He again raised his gun and
pointed it at the officers. Police Officer Maldonado fired at him
The subject then dropped his weapon and surrendered. Other
officers responded, and the subject was taken to the hospital. He
was charged with Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Possession of a Weapon,
Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and Resisting Arrest.
Reading this piece will make most feel proud of Officers Moore and
Maldonado as writing it did. Officer Moore, you displayed incredible courage.
You could have easily looked the other way rather than confronting an
armed robber. Officer Maldonado, you heard a brother officer in
need of help, and you didn't think twice before jumping in to help him. You two guys exemplify
courage and bravery. You have both been combat tested and
passed. You two are truly top cops.
Officer Tyrone Moore
Officer Anthony Maldonado
COPS GIVE ULTIMATE
An elderly Morris County man was shopping in Pathmark in Hanover Township
on Wednesday, November 26, the day before Thanksgiving.
At some point, he went down. Witnesses, thinking he had taken a
fall, contacted store personnel who in turn called for emergency services
Ptl. John Schauder of the Hanover Township Police Department was the first
to arrive. After just seconds on the scene, Officer Schauder
realized that this was not just a fall victim. He assessed the
patient and determined that the man had no pulse and was not
breathing. He advised other units of his situation and began
Moments later, Ptl. Paul Gundersdorf arrived at the scene. Officer
Gundersdorf brought the agency's AED or Automated External
Defibrillator. The AED is a device which in certain situations
will administer a shock to the heart of a patient who is in cardiac
The officers connected the AED device to the victim. It gave a
shock signal and administered a shock. Nothing. The officers
continued CPR and tried again.
This continued, and the man was shocked several times. Ptl.
Richard Duda arrived at the scene and took over the exhausting task of
By the time that members of the Cedar Knolls First Aid Squad arrived,
the gentleman was breathing again and had a strong pulse.
Simply, he had been brought back to life by these three police officers.
Officers Gundersdorf, Schauder, and Duda, you didn't just bring a man
back to life. You brought someone's dad, someone's loved one, and
someone's friend back to life. Despite what it shown on
television, CPR saves are few and far between. Your skills and
actions are a credit to you and to the Hanover Township Police
Department as demonstrated by the fact that Sgt. James Peslis of your
agency submitted your names for this award.
Hanover Township Police
In the course of a career not many officers will be able to say that
they apprehended a bank robber. On Tuesday, November 18, 2003 two
officers from the Stratford Police Department joined that elite group.
The call went out shortly before 1:30 p.m. According to employees
of the Commerce Bank branch on the White Horse Pike, a man entered the
bank and approached a teller. He held his hand under his sweater
as if he had a gun. He ordered the teller to give him cash.
The teller complied, and he ran out of the bank with an undetermined
amount of loot.
Officers from the Stratford Police Department began arriving on the
scene and canvassing the area. At a nearby taxi stand officers
spoke with a cabbie who advised that he observed a man fitting the
description of the bank robbery suspect entering and leaving in a different cab
just minutes earlier.
Sergeant Al Columbaro and Officer Robert Kelly began heading down the
last direction of travel route provided by the witness. Soon, they
caught sight of a taxi. Luckily for the officers, the cab and
gotten caught in traffic. As they closed in on the cab, the
passenger jumped out and began to flee on foot. The two officers
gave chase and apprehended the subject. On his person was the
money taken from the bank.
He was processed and committed to Camden County Correctional Facility in
default of $100,000 bail.
Sgt. Columbaro and Officer Kelly, you guys caught a bank robber.
Nice job! As crazy and scary as it must have been at the time of
the incident, you have a great story to tell. Again, great
job! You are both heroes.
Stratford Township Police
At almost 4:00 a.m. on a Wednesday in November, not much is going on in
On November 19, however, this was not the case for North Plainfield
Officers Enrico Perrone, Tomasz Florek, and Anthony Hoofatt.
It was exactly 3:56 a.m. when their radios broke the early morning
silence. The call? A woman in labor.
The officers rushed to the scene. This baby didn't feel like waiting
for the amenities of a hospital room. It was on its way.
Together, the three officers delivered the baby of Lisbeth
Hernandez. It was a baby boy. To complicate things further,
the umbilical cord was wrapped around the infant's neck. Carefully,
the officers safely removed the cord from the neck of the
They then administered oxygen to the infant until paramedics arrived.
Officers Perrone, Florek, and Hoofatt, nothing we can write can come close
to how grateful the family must be to you all. Nothing can come
close to the memory you three will share for the rest of your
careers. This is one of those shining calls that will hopefully
bring a smile to your face whenever your recall that Wednesday morning
"woman in labor" call. Delivering a baby with just minutes
of notice is tremendous responsibility and a very scary call. You
guys obviously did everything right. Awesome job!
North Plainfield Police
One day in the latter part of October, Newark Police Chief Anthony Ambrose
was in his office presumably doing Chief-type things. At some point
he was informed that he had a visitor.
Only Chief Ambrose knows the feeling he experienced when he first realized
exactly who this visitor was. When he accepted this visitor, he came face
to face with Alterick Brownridge.
Chief Ambrose was Officer Ambrose when he first met Alterick Brownridge.
It was October 10, 1990. Ambrose and several other officers had gone
to Brownridge's apartment to arrest him. Brownridge was wanted for
various crimes including robbery.
When Officer Ambrose attempted to push his way into the apartment,
Brownridge produced a handgun and fired at Ambrose. The bullet
struck but only grazed Ambrose's head. Brownridge was taken into
He would later be sentenced to 25 years in prison. Unfortunately,
New Jersey uses funny math, and the sentence only equated to 12 years, but
that's a story for another day. Brownridge was released some time
So, on this day in 2003 you can imagine what may have been running though
Chief Ambrose's mind when he learned of his visitor. Ambrose agreed
to see him.
The two met, and Brownridge said he was sorry. He apologized for
what he had done on that October day in 1990. He would later tell
the press "Sometimes you've got to grow up and be a man. It had
been on my mind for a while to apologize."
What would you have done in that situation? It might be easy to
speculate, but you probably could not be certain unless you faced those
Chief Anthony Ambrose accepted Brownridge's apology. But, that's not
the pinnacle of the story. The two went on to talk for a
while. When Chief Ambrose learned of Brownridge's current
difficulties, he offered to help Brownridge find a job.
Talk about a class act. Alterick Brownridge shot Anthony Ambrose and
went to prison. He serves his time and is released. Ambrose
finds it in his heart not only to forgive him but offers to help him get a
new start on life. Such benevolence is beyond incredible.
Brownridge may never take the chief up on his offer, and the two may never
talk again. That will never change what Chief Ambrose did. In
an era chaos and terrorism and international craziness, Chief Anthony
Ambrose of the Newark Police Department makes us stop and think for a
moment about who we are and what we are about.
BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE
SOUTH BRUNSWICK COPS
It was the tail-end of the midnight shift when the call was
dispatched. Patrolmen Dale Owens took the 5:45 a.m. call of a woman
who had collapsed. Ptl. Owens was the Field Training Officer of Ptl.
Eric Tigehlaar. They were assigned together when the call came in.
Upon arrival at the residence, the officers assessed the 58-year-old woman
and determined that she was not breathing. A further check revealed
that she had no pulse either.
The officers began CPR immediately. They also began setting up their
agency-issued defibrillator. They continued CPR until receiving the
"shock" and later the "clear" command by the
device. One shock was administered.
The officers checked the woman again for vital signs. They
discovered that her pulse returned and she was breathing on her own.
They administered oxygen and stood by until the Kingston First Aid Squad
and paramedics arrived.
The woman would later be transported to Robert Wood Johnson University
Hospital in New Brunswick. The officers later learned that she was
visiting here from India.
Any officer with even a little experience in first aid calls knows that
CPR saves are few and far between. You have to do everything
right. On this day Patrolmen Dale Owens and Eric Tigehlaar did
everything right. The result was a woman being brought back to life
and a family that will eternally be thankful to New Jersey law
South Brunswick's Deputy Chief, Frederick A. Thompson, would later tell
the Home News and Tribune "These
two officers are to be commended for their rapid response and quick action
in saving Mrs. Varghese. Our hopes and prayers are that she will make a
complete recovery." We agree.
South Brunswick Police
COPS TAKE DOWN
Officers James Taliaferro and Howard Watkins Jr. of the Trenton Police
Department were on patrol in the early morning hours of September 30,
2003. At approximately 12:53 a.m. they spotted a car occupied by the
three subjects at Hamilton Avenue and Clark Street. The car fit the
description of one that had been involved in an armed robbery earlier that
evening. That earlier armed robbery involved a handgun.
Officers Taliaferro and Watkins activated the emergency lights and
attempted to conduct a stop of the vehicle. No such luck. The
driver was off to the races.
The car stop that turned into a pursuit didn't last long. The driver
of the fleeing vehicle crashed into a parked vehicle after just a brief
chase. All three occupants bailed out and went running in different
Officers Taliaferro and Watkins gave chase. They were assisted by
Lt. John DeHart and Sgt. Peter Weremijenko. Soon, all three of the
vehicle's occupants were apprehended and arrested.
Further investigation revealed a loaded, semiautomatic handgun that had
been thrown from the car during the pursuit. Officers also
discovered proceeds from the earlier robbery and other property linking
the three actors to the earlier incident. They also found property
linking the trio to a different robbery that had occurred earlier that
Armed robbery is one of the most serious and often violent offenses
today. Its perpetrators primarily prey on hard-working, law-abiding
citizens. It is a great victory when skilled officers apprehend
those who employ this offense for a living.
Howard Watkins Jr.
- Trenton officers were dispatched to to a street disturbance where
gunshots were being fired. Trenton officers John Carrigg and Jason
Woodhead, were in route when they observed a vehicle fleeing the
area. The officers attempted to stop the car. No chance.
The driver began to flee.
The vehicle was occupied by four people. During the pursuit officers
observed an object being tossed from the fleeing vehicle. Soon,
other Trenton officers were in the area, and the driver finally slowed his
fleeing vehicle to a stop.
Trenton cops surrounded the vehicle, and all four of the occupants were
extracted, presumably at gunpoint
A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed an assortment of
ammunition. The officers backtracked to where the object had been
tossed from the car. They discovered a sawed-off
All four occupants were arrested and charged with various offenses
including weapons offenses.
Any time a gun is taken off the street, a small celebration and
recognition is warranted. What that gun could have cost us or the
public is too much to even speculate.
Lower Township Police Officers Ernest Macomber and Patrick Greene were
about three quarters of the way through their 12-hour shift when they were
assisting with an accident on Tuesday, August 5, 2003. Traffic
was already congested between this accident and the wet roads. Then,
they heard a crash. About 1/4 mile down the road they saw a second
accident. Other cars began skidding and crashing as a result of the
first wreck. When the smoke cleared there were four vehicles
involved. Unfortunately, the smoke hadn't cleared.
Rising from the wreck was a large amount of white smoke. When
Officers Macomber and Greene arrived on the scene they observed that three
of the vehicles were all clumped together. The middle vehicle was a
Jaguar. The front wheels were racing at top speed. What the
officers didn't know was that the accelerator was stuck all the way to the
The driver was trying to climb out through the window as the door was
pinned shut. The smoke was turning to black as the engine had caught
fire. Ptl. Macomber made his way to the vehicle and saw that the panicked,
64-year-old driver was tangled in the seatbelt. Officer Macomber
went up to the car, which could have broken free at any second, untangled the
driver and dragged him out of the car through the window. Ptl.
Greene then took the driver, who was injured, and removed him from what
was soon to be harm's way.
Moments later, the car broke free from the wreck and raced away over the
street into some trees and onto the grass where it came to a halt because
the grass was wet. The tires were still turning at full speed, and
it could have broken free again at any moment.
Upon seeing this, Ptl. Macomber drove his patrol car and blocked in the
vehicle so it couldn't come back out onto the road. The vehicle then
became completely engulfed in flames from the front to the front portion
of the passenger compartment. The Jaguar's tires then stopped
moving, and Ptl. Macomber pulled his patrol car away.
On the following Friday, the driver of the Jaguar, Melvin Weissman of
Sparta, Sussex County called the Lower Township Police Department.
He called to thank them and completely broke down into tears.
Officers Macomber and Greene, this man will forever be indebted to you
both and to law enforcement officers all over for life. Your bravery
and quick action saved his life. It is really an unbelievable
story. You are real heroes. NJLawman.com honors...
Lower Township Police
-- Ptl. Daniel McCallum has twenty years on the job. He has most
certainly seen a lot in those twenty years. On Thursday, July 24,
2003 Ptl. McCallum was once again reminded that he hasn't yet seen it all.
At 12:06 a.m. a call was dispatched. A woman was in
Ptl. Daniel McCallum arrived about six minutes later. This is a most
impressive response time for an agency covering a town of 82 square
miles. Alicia Hanlon, a paid first-aider arrived at about the same
Seeing the baby's head crowning was a pretty good indicator that that Dr.
OB-GYN would not be making the delivery.
Officer McCallum and the first-aider comforted the pregnant woman and
allowed nature to take its course. Moments later, he assisted as the
head emerged. Then, the body, and then the feet slowly entered our
world. The baby opened its eyes and let out a cry.
McCallum interrupted the happiness by suggesting that the father cut the umbilical
cord. "Grinning from ear to ear," he agreed.
The baby weighed 7 pounds and 8 ounces and is in perfect health.
Mother is doing fine as well.
We see many tragedies in this job. This had to be a high point in
McCallum's career. This is one of those good calls that can be
placed on a shelf in our memory to balance all of the heartbreaking
sadness that comes with this job. Ptl. McCallum will be remembered
by this family forever, and he brought good will to our profession as this
call was captured in an article in the Asbury Park Press.
Manchester Township Police
OR DEATH BATTLE
Patrolman Kenyatta Kelly is a seven-year veteran of the Camden City Police
Department. On Sunday, July 6, 2003 he and his seven years of
experience faced the ultimate battle. He stared down the muzzle of a
The incident began at about 4:35 a.m. when officers were dispatched to a
residence after the homeowner called police and reported a burglary in
Camden officers, including Kelly, rushed to the scene, but the actors had
fled prior to their arrival. They began searching the area and found
a witness who advised that the suspects had run into the Ivy Hill
Officers began searching the complex and observed one of the actors at
about 5:00 a.m. They attempted to detain him, but he fled on
Ptl. Kenyatta Kelly pursued the fleeing suspect and caught up to
him. The suspect, however, had no intentions of being
arrested. Ptl. Kelly attempted to place the subject under arrest,
but he fiercely resisted and a struggle ensued.
Then, in what must have been a knee buckling experience for Ptl. Kelly,
the suspect produced a .44 magnum and pointed it toward Kelly.
Risking his own life, Ptl. Kelly ordered the subject three times to drop
the weapon. The subject refused, and Ptl. Kelly shot him twice in
the chest ending the standoff.
The suspect was pronounced dead sometime later.
Ptl. Kelly, you didn't begin your shift with the intention of firing your
weapon. It just happened. If you hadn't fired, this story
would most likely be on the Memorial Page instead of the Top Cops
page. A bad guy pulls out a gun during a fight with an officer for
one reason and one reason only. There is not one member of your
family, your friends or your fellow officers from around the state who
thinks you should have waited to see the outcome. There is no
question. You did what you had to do, and we are all glad for it.
Regarding the standard post-shooting IA investigation, let's please get
this done with quickly, so Ptl. Kelly doesn't have to deal with the accompanying
stress for too much longer.
Ptl. Kenyatta Kelly, do not hesitate for one second to make use of the
numerous resources available to you including 1-866-COP-2COP
(all police officer helpline).
Camden City Police
If you watched CNN today or checked their website, you saw massive
coverage of the three arrests made by Patrolman Charles Antrilli of the
Oaklyn Police Department. However, today's coverage was about a hair
away from being of a massacre instead of arrests.
Ptl. Charles Antrilli was a little more than half way through a midnight
shift. He was driving around in the three-o'clock hour when he
noticed a man waving him down. Ptl. Antrilli stopped to see what the
man needed. As it turned out, it wasn't directions.
The man informed Ptl. Antrilli that three teens wearing trench coats had
just attempted to carjack his vehicle. One of them had walked in
front of his vehicle causing him to slow to allow the young man to cross
the street. As the teen walked in front of the man's car, he opened
his coat revealing a handgun. He then signaled to his friends.
The man quickly drove around the three teens and sped away. That's
when he found and waved down Ptl. Antrilli.
Officer Antrilli proceeded to the area where the incident had taken place
and spotted the young men fitting the description provided by the
witness. When he went out with them, he must have astonished at what
he saw. Two of them were carrying rifles. One had a Chinese
.30cal bolt action with bi-pod, the other had a Ruger .22 cal rifle
with scope. Ptl. Antrilli, alone facing three heavily armed
adversaries, began shouting commands. A brief standoff then took
Ptl. Antrilli continued repeating commands for them to drop their
weapons. Although their plan had included an agreement not to be
taken alive, they eventually complied with Ptl. Antrilli's orders and were
In a search incident to arrest, officers discovered that all three had
rifles and shotguns strapped to their backs and handguns tucked in their
waistbands. Additionally, they had knives, swords, machetes and more
than 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
A massive investigation was then launched. Through statements,
notes, and other evidence, it was learned that the three had just started
out on a killing spree. In an interview later in the day, Camden
County prosecutor Vincent Sarubbi said the youths had formulated a plan to
kill three schoolmates, "then move on and randomly kill people
throughout the borough of Oaklyn. They had in fact begun to initiate this
plan," he said.
Ptl. Antrilli, those moments you spent alone with the three suspects are
most certainly moments you won't soon forget. Whatever you said,
whatever you did, and however you did it, you saved your town from a
massacre that would have haunted its residents and the people of this
state for years.
Oaklyn Borough Police
ARMED ROBBERY, MAKE
Nassau Street in Princeton is one of the great day trips in New
Jersey. It hosts all kinds of beautiful stores and great restaurants
and the Nassau Inn, one of New Jersey's great, old hotels. On June
26th, however, this suburban paradise was almost the scene of a
At about 11:30 a.m. a worker on the second floor of a Nassau Street
building just happened to be looking out the window down to the
street. Through the sunroof of a car, he observed several occupants
with handguns. He immediately notified police.
Princeton Borough Officers Sgt. Donald Dawson, Sgt. Robert Currier, and
Ptl. Ralph Fiasco were dispatched to the location.
Before they arrived, one of the three occupants of the vehicle had already
entered a jewelry store brandishing a loaded handgun.
When the officers arrived they spotted the vehicle as described with New
York plates. They swooped down on the two subjects still in the car
and apprehended them without incident. The officers also found
various weapons in the car including another loaded handgun and a pair of
handcuffs. Officers then entered the store to take down the third
suspect. After seeing the officers, the suspect dropped his gun and
fled on foot. Officers pursued, and after losing him for a short
while, they found him hiding in the bathroom of a different establishment.
Two of the suspects were from Brooklyn, and the third was from Toledo,
Ohio. All three were committed to the county jail without
Had it not been for the actions of these officers, people could have lost
their lives. These three men obviously had come to Princeton Borough
with the intention of victimizing its residents and visitors. When
the smoke cleared, these officers had foiled an armed robbery,
arrested three dangerous felons, recovered two loaded handguns including
one with a defaced serial number, recovered handcuffs and a short-handled
sledgehammer, seized a vehicle and, most importantly, they accomplished
all of this without a single innocent person or themselves being
inured. In the local papers these officers were praised by the
public as well as the press for such an incredible job. The citizen,
whose name has not been released, also deserves praise for his quick
action. He was an integral part of the successful conclusion of this
Sgt. Donald Dawson, Sgt. Robert Currier, and Ptl. Ralph Fiasco, this
incident could have gone a hundred different ways. You three clearly
chose the best tactics and best course of action. Most importantly,
you saved the rest of us from every having to look down the barrels of one
of those handguns.
Princeton Borough Police
JERSEY CITY COPS
MAJOR DRUG BUST
Jersey City Narcotics officers Alex Bermudez and Paul Matos were out and
about on Thursday, June 12, 2003 doing their normal narcotics officer
At about 1:15 p.m. they spotted a subject who was known to their unit as a
major drug supplier in Jersey City, so they set up on him. The subject was
in his car when a second person came up to him. Officers Bermudez
and Matos watched from their unmarked car as this second person handed a
large amount of currency to the suspect. The officers then began to
pull up behind the suspect's car. The second person walked away, and
their suspect began to drive off.
The officers followed the subject until he pulled over a short time
later. They then approached him, identified themselves as police
officers and asked for his credentials. During the interview, the
subject, in an attempt to minimize his guilt, explained, "All I did
was buy a bag of weed from him."
That was enough. Officers Bermudez and Matos placed the subject
under arrest. A subsequent search of his vehicle revealed a jackpot
that every street officer hopes to find one day. Bermudez and Matos
found 596 bags of heroin. They also found a .44 magnum handgun and
more than a thousand dollars in cash. The subject was charged with
all the usual stuff including applicable school zone violations.
It's always great when street cops come up with DEA quantities of
CDS. Oh, and that .44 magnum was, most certainly, not destined for
good things. This was an awesome, awesome arrest.
Jersey City Police
Officer Alex Bermudez
Officer Paul Matos
Great job guys, and thanks for saving the rest of us from having to face
the barrel of that gun one day.
Patrolman Robert Shamrock of the Long Branch Police Department in Monmouth
County was working the afternoon shift when he spotted an Acura with
excessively tinted windows. A quick stop, and on to the next
one. Or so he thought.
The car had two occupants. It stopped without incident.
Officer Shamrock was getting credentials from the driver when a second car
pulled up. The driver of this car informed Ptl. Shamrock that the
occupants of the car he had stopped threatened him earlier in the day with
Shamrock and Ptl. Todd Coleman, who also came on the scene, removed the
passenger from the suspect vehicle and placed him in the rear of one of
the patrol cars. The officers then went back to the Acura and asked
the driver to step out. Instead of following instructions, the
driver sped away, striking Ptl. Shamrock with the vehicle's fender and
rear tire. Ptl. Shamrock, who was injured, ran back to his patrol
car and gave chase.
Shortly into the pursuit, the suspect vehicle struck a utility pole,
splitting it. The driver, however, continued eluding with his badly
damaged car. He pulled into the parking lot of an apartment complex
where he bailed out and began to run.
One problem. The suspect wasn't aware that Ptl. Shamrock was also a
K-9 officer. Shamrock dispatched he pouch "Zeus" after the
fleeing suspect. When the suspect realized that a patrol dog was
giving chase and quickly closing the distance, he immediately surrendered.
A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed a loaded 9 mm handgun,
ammunition, a dealer-sized quantity of marijuana, and cash. The
suspect was lodged in default of almost $200,000.00 bail. His passenger
was also charged.
Officer Shamrock was taken to Monmouth Medical Center where he was treated
for his injuries and released.
Ptl. Shamrock, as impressive as all your actions were, the most important
part was getting that 9 mm handgun off the street. Great job!
Long Branch Police
Dayshift and an expired inspection sticker. Nothing too exciting to
New Jersey State Trooper Brian McGuire.
It was about 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 when Trooper McGuire of
the Bellmawr barracks effected the motor vehicle stop of the black Nissan
Altima on Interstate 295. The driver was unable to produce any
identification. Trooper McGuire was probably getting information for
a DL by name when the driver launched a violent attack against
With no backup yet on the scene, Trooper McGuire and the suspect fought on
the side of the road while traffic passed. Then, it got
From his waistband, the suspect drew a .380 caliber handgun. Trooper
McGuire's fight to subdue the man had suddenly evolved into a fight
for his life.
A maintenance worker for the Delaware Port Authority who just finished
working the nightshift was passing the scene and caught a glimpse of the
fight. Instead of continuing down the road, Carl Casella of Oak
Valley stopped and jumped in to help Trooper McGuire. The fight
continued, though, from the back of the Troop car over to the
guardrail. During the struggle, Trooper McGuire was able to dislodge
the gun from the suspect's possession, and it dropped to the ground.
Trooper McGuire was then able to subdue and cuff the suspect with the
assistance of Cassela. At some point which is so far unclear, four
other motorists also pulled over to help.
A subsequent search of the suspect's vehicle revealed an unspecified
amount of marijuana. He also had six outstanding warrants for his
arrest. Additionally, he was either on parole or just off parole for
a 1998 narcotics conviction for which he went to prison for almost two
Trooper McGuire, you faced every cop's worst nightmare, and you won.
This piece of crap had no intention of being taken in to custody and
seemingly would have fought to the death. You have been combat
tested, and you won. Also, Carl Casella, you had no obligation to
stop. In fact, no one would have known if you had just passed by and
pretended not to notice this incident, but you didn't. You jumped in
to help one of us, and for that you will always be a close friend to our
community. The other drivers are also to be commended.
New Jersey State
HUDSON COUNTY NOT
LACKING IN BRAVERY
It began sometime after 7:00 p.m. in Hoboken. A man waved down a
taxi and demanded a ride. Apparently, the cab driver kicked the
subject out of his cab. During this interaction the subject pointed
his .45 caliber handgun at the cab driver and shot him point-blank.
The cab driver survived. Several minutes later the suspect spotted
Ptl. John Aguiar of the Hoboken Police Department in his patrol car.
The suspect opened fire on the officer. Ptl. Aguiar, a seven-year
veteran, was struck twice. One round hit him in the chest and the
other hit him in his shoulder. Fortunately, Ptl. Aguiar was wearing
a bulletproof vest, but one of the rounds did find an opening and became
lodged in Ptl. Aguiar's chest. Then, in an unbelievable display of
bravery, Ptl. Aguiar, who was already shot twice, got out of his car and
initiated a foot pursuit. The wounded officer chased the suspect for
three blocks, but the suspect was able to escape. Several blocks away, the
suspect carjacked an SUV and was able to flee the area.
Officers from the Hudson County Sheriff's Department had been listening to
the events unfold over the radio. They spotted the SUV and seconds
later the suspect himself. The Sheriffs Officers then went after the
suspect who fled on foot. HCSD chased the suspect who began firing
at them. In all, dozens of shots were exchanged. Detective
Sergeant Christian Araujo was struck in the abdomen. The firefight
continued, and the suspect was fatally wounded.
Despite their serious injuries, both Ptl. Aguiar and Det. Sgt. Araujo are
expected to recover.
Unbelievable. By all accounts, all of you did an amazing job.
The bravery of all you sets a high standard for the rest to aspire.
Hoboken Police Department's
Patrolman John Aguiar
County Sheriff's Department's
Other Unnamed Officers
from both Agencies
Anthony Romandetto is a lieutenant with the Belleville Police Department.
On Thursday, February 27, 2003 he headed out to the road.
Lt. Romandetto was driving in the area of the Valley National Bank branch
when he keenly observed a man exiting the bank. The man turned his jacket
inside out and replaced his knit cap with a baseball cap. Lt. Romandetto
watched as the man got into a car and left the area. No report of a bank
robbery had come in yet, but Lt. Romandetto went with his instincts and
followed the man anyway.
A short time later, Lt. Romandetto’s suspicions were confirmed. Over the
radio came a broadcast that the Valley National Bank had just been robbed.
With the assistance of Police Officer George Geyer, Lt. Romandetto took
down the guy about two blocks away from the bank.
Lt. Anthony Romandetto hit the jackpot. This was no one-time bank robber.
This was the infamous "Eminem" Bank Robber, a man wanted for at
least a dozen bank robberies from Essex County to Ocean County. He was
being sought by the FBI, the New Jersey State Police, numerous County
Prosecutor’s Offices, municipal police departments, and sheriff’s
Lt. Romandetto, is being praised as a hero in all the North Jersey
newspapers. Accomplishments like his bring us all into a better light.
Lt. Romandetto, awesome job. Great observations, great tactics, and great
Belleville Township Police
Just after 4:00 a.m. on February 10, 2002 the radio broke that idle
midnight-shift conversation for New Jersey Troopers Michael Ambrosio
and Dan Bassinder. An alert came over regarding a home-invasion
robbery where two subjects held up the residents using a Mossberg
shotgun. A description of the get-a-way vehicle was also
Trooper Ambrosio and Trooper Bassinder gambled. They jumped on the
Garden State Parkway and headed North. The gamble paid
As they reached the area of Wall Township the rear of a vehicle could be
seen a ways ahead. They raced up to it and discovered it was the
Dodge Caravan wanted for the robbery. They confirmed it was the vehicle
over the radio. The troopers had found the vehicle just in
time. It was just about to turn off at the Asbury Park
Troopers Michael Ambrosio and Dean Bassinder took down the car and
arrested both of the occupants. A search of the vehicle revealed the
Mossberg shotgun as well as the proceeds from the robbery. It's also
starting to look like they just might have hit the tip of the
iceberg. The two subjects are suspected in at least one previous
home invasion robbery. Both went to the hoosegow in default of
Trooper Ambrosio and Trooper Bassinder, awesome job, especially for
getting that gun off the street. Great gamble, great take-down,
great job all the way around!
New Jersey State Police's
Trooper Dean Bassinder
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