The message of the annual police department awards presented at Monday’s Green Brook Township Committee meeting was simple but meaningful.
“People like to live in Green Brook because it’s a safe town,” Mayor Jerry Searfoss said. “You guys are on the front line.”
The mayor and Police Chief Martin Rasmussen Jr. presented the awards that highlighted the outstanding achievements of police officers during 2012.
Officers Shawn Snyder and Gregory Victor received the Exceptional Duty Award for their role in the investigation of a stabbing at the Ivory Tower Motel on Sept. 8.
According to the citation, the stabbing victim was taken to a hospital for treatment and officers were given conflicting information by people at the scene about the incident.
But Snyder and Victor, after interviewing numerous witnesses and reviewing the evidence, identified a suspect and arrested him. The officers then obtained from the individual a confession, which also included the location of the knife used in the assault.
The individual was charged with third-degree aggravated assault.
Also honored in connection with the incident were Officers William Coward and James Duhamel III who recovered the knife in a wooded area after a two-day search. The two officers were not able to attend last Monday’s meeting.
Three officers received the Meritorious Service Award for 2012.
Sgt. John Skikus and Officer Gary Maurer were honored for their actions in responding also on Sept. 8 to a report of a domestic dispute at a Wallace Court residence involving a possibly suicidal male.
Skikus and Maurer, along with Officer Daniel Lanzafama, went to the home and spoke to the individuals involved, including the male who appeared to be intoxicated, according to the citation. The male told the officers he had contemplated suicidal thoughts.
After the officers arranged a psychological evaluation for the man, he allegedly grabbed a wooden dining room chair and lifted it over his head in a threatening manner toward Lanzafama, asking the officer to “shoot” him.
When Skikus and Maurer then tried to tackle the man, the man struck Skikus with the chair. The man, who the citation said appeared to be attempting “suicide by cop,” was taken into custody without serious injury and sent for psychological evaluation. He was later charged with third-degree aggravated assault, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and third-degree resisting arrest.
Also receiving a Meritorious Service Award was Lanzafama for his actions in responding to a home invasion at a Rock Avenue home on Feb. 1. According to the citation, Lanzafama and Skikus arrived at the home and a saw a male individual leaving. Lanzafama took the male into custody.
An investigation revealed that the individual had forcibly entered the home and assaulted the homeowner, an action which was stopped by the arrival of the officers. The investigation also discovered that the individual had committed another burglary at a nearby home.
The individual was charged with second-degree aggravated assault, second-degree burglary and third-degree criminal attempt.
Skikus, Officers Brian Hudick and Mathew Benderoth all received Lifesaving Awards for their role in saving an 80-year-old King Court man who was choking on April 23.
When the officers arrived, the man was unconscious. The officers started CPR and continued until the Green Brook Rescue Squad and paramedics arrived. Thanks to their actions, the man regained his pulse and started breathing again.