Day: November 18, 2020

Robbinsville Christmas Tree & Menorah Lighting Will Be Virtual In 2020

November 18, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Due to COVID-19 the Robbinsville Township Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting will be held virtual this year. See flyer below and Robbinsville Recreation Facebook Page where the event will be held virtual on December 1, 2020 at 7:00 pm.

Due to current increasing concerns regarding COVID-19, we will no longer meet for this event in person. Instead, it will be transmitted live through the Recreation Facebook Page.

Mercer County Offering Free COVID-19 Testing November 24 & December 1 at Cure Arena

Mercer County is also proud to offer free at-home COVID-19 testing. These tests are available to all residents of Mercer County, free of charge.

November 18, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes today announced that the County, in partnership with Vault Health Services, will offer free COVID-19 testing on Tuesday, Nov. 24, and Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the CURE Insurance Arena, 81 Hamilton Ave. The saliva test is available to County residents 14 years or older and anyone employed as a first responder or health care worker in Mercer County.

Those going to the arena for testing should use Parking Lot 2 off South Broad Street to access Gate A. Testing will be conducted in the arena concourse. Bring identification showing Mercer County residency and a smartphone or tablet if you have one. No prescription is necessary. Please avoid eating, drinking, chewing gum or smoking 30 minutes prior to taking the test.

Testing will be limited to 300 people on each of the two days but additional pop-up testing sites will be scheduled around the County in the near future.

If you want to avoid the lines, Mercer County also offers an at-home saliva test for COVID-19, which can be requested by visiting If you need help with the online registration process, assistance will be available Tuesday at the arena. 

Covid-19 Test at Home Program

Mercer County is proud to offer free at-home COVID-19 testing. These tests are available to all residents of Mercer County, free of charge.

The saliva collection test for COVID-19 has the same effectiveness as the nasal swab test. This test is performed under the supervision of our healthcare provider, Vault, through a video telehealth visit eliminating the risk of person-to-person exposure to the virus.

To register for your at-home testing kit, you must first fill out the form below to verify your Mercer County residency. Within 24-48 hours following your submission, you will receive a link to order your free kit on the Vault Health website. This is FREE to all Mercer County residents, and health insurance is not required but a claim will be submitted if are covered.

Please note the following:

  1. There is no out of pocket cost for this test.
  2. You must be a resident of Mercer County or employed as a first responder or health care worker in Mercer County.
  3. Only persons over the age of 14 are eligible for this test. Persons under the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian complete the registration for them.
  4. You will receive your code within 48 hours.
  5. This is not an antibody test. This test is designed to determine if you currently are infected with COVID-19 and have the potential to infect others.

If your test is positive, or if you have symptoms, call your health care professional.

Santa Claus will be coming to Hightstown on Friday Nov. 27th

November 18, 2020

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–Santa Claus will be coming to Hightstown on Friday Nov. 27th! Save the date and spread the word.

As with everything this year, our annual celebration will look a bit different.

While Santa and Mrs. Claus will be riding on the back of our Fire Truck as they usually do, there will not be any festivities at the fire house this year.

Instead, the route has changed to include more streets in town (see map for more details) so that you can wave to Santa and Mrs. Claus from the safety and comfort of your porch or street corner while maintaining social distance and staying closer to home.

Santa will leave the Fire house at approximately 5:45pm so listen for the sirens to indicate that he and his reindeer…oops…he and his firefighter friends are on the way to a street near you!

Please remember to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your immediate household.

We hope you enjoy this Pandemic friendly version of Santa coming to our town!

Don’t forget that Christmas Tree and Wreath sales start on Sunday Nov. 22nd

Grill Fire Quickly Extinguished At Jersey Mike’s In Hamilton

November 18, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Hamilton Township Fire Department was dispatched to 620 Marketplace Boulevard for a grill fire at Jersey Mike’s around 3:00 pm. Upon arrival Hamilton Firefighters reported a fire on the grill and a smoke condition in the building and an “all hands” was called. Firefighters quickly snuffed out the flames. Firefighters remained on scene to remove smoke after extinguishment. The Hamilton Township Fire Marshal was called to investigate and the Hamilton Township Health Department was also called to the scene.

Once the Fire Marshal and Health Department finish the investigation the store is expected to reopen.

Route 130 Crash Sends 2 To Hospital

November 18, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–At 11:35 am., the Robbinsville Police Department received multiple 9-1-1 calls for an accident in the 1100 Block of Route 130 in front of the Jeep Dealership.

When Robbinsville Police arrived they reported two injures and the sent Robbinsville Township Fire Department and EMS to the scene. A mutual aid ambulance from RWJ Hamilton was also called to the scene. Two people were transported to RWJ at Hamilton Hospital with minor BLS type injuries.

The Robbinsville Township Police moved traffic over to the shoulder North Bound and South Bound had a temporary closure to move tow trucks into position to remove vehicles. No other information was available.

AG Grewal Announces Settlement with Apple for Misleading Consumers about iPhone Problems

NJ Will Receive More than $3 Million to Resolve Allegations Involving Unexpected iPhone Shutdowns, Battery Issues, and Slowdowns Caused by Software Updates

November 18, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that New Jersey will receive over $3 million as part of a $113 multistate settlement with Apple, Inc., that resolves a multi-state investigation into allegations that Apple misrepresented and concealed from consumers information about performance problems with millions of iPhones.

The investigation focused on whether Apple misrepresented and concealed information about unexpected power-offs (UPOs), battery health and performance issues, and software upgrades that slowed down or “throttled” the device’s performance.

The State filed its complaint and a consent judgment resolving the matter in Superior Court in Mercer County. The complaint alleges that Apple’s misrepresentations and concealment of battery issues and its throttling iPhones’ performance violated state consumer protection laws.

According to the complaint, Apple pushed out software “fixes” that intentionally throttled performance of the iPhone Series 6, 7 and SE (Special Edition) devices in an effort to quietly resolve the UPO issues. Because the unexplained slow-downs resulted in many consumers deciding that the only way to get improved performance was to purchase a newer-model iPhone from Apple, the alleged fraud resulted in more sales for Apple.

In New Jersey, nearly 3.5 million iPhones were affected by the battery performance issues and undisclosed throttling.

“Apple’s treatment of iPhone consumers was rotten,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Not only did Apple try to conceal the iPhone’s shortcomings, but the company’s supposed fix for those defects created new problems that led consumers to shell out money for new iPhones. Today’s settlement should send a clear message that we will never tolerate such abuse of New Jersey consumers.” 

 “This settlement resolves an investigation into corporate conduct that is deeply concerning on multiple levels,” said Division of Consumer Affairs Director Paul R. Rodríguez. “First, we allege that Apple failed to disclose a product defect. Then that it provided consumers what they claimed was a software ‘fix’ that actually limited the performance of their phones. Finally, that they delayed informing consumers until well after many had already purchased new phones to replace ones they believed must be obsolete. This settlement is not just about getting Apple to pay for its alleged duplicity, but just as importantly requires the company to abide by a variety of terms designed to ensure greater transparency moving forward.”

In addition to the monetary payment, today’s settlement contains a variety of injunctive terms designed to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Those terms require that Apple will:

  • Maintain an easily accessible and prominent web page that provides clear and conspicuous information to consumers about lithium-ion batteries, unexpected shutdowns, maximizing battery health, and other issues related to iPhone performance;
  • Notify consumers in a clear and conspicuous manner if a future iOS update materially changes the performance of an iPhone when downloaded and installed, with such notification to be contained in the installation notes for the update;
  • Provide information to consumers in the iPhone user interface (e.g., Settings>Battery>Battery Health) about the battery, such as the battery’s maximum capacity and information about its peak performance capability, as well as notification of an option to service the battery once its performance has become significantly degraded.

In addition, Apple will implement procedures to ensure its consumer-facing personnel and Apple-authorized retailers are sufficiently familiar with the required new web page content and iPhone user interface information, communicate that information to consumers wherever relevant, and refer consumers to the web page or interface when appropriate.

The State’s investigation found that, by at least October 2016, Apple was aware that its customers were experiencing UPOs as a result of aging iPhone batteries that could no longer deliver sufficient power to the devices at certain times, particularly during high-performance tasks.

Apple did not disclose the UPO issues, however, nor did it allow consumers to replace their iPhone batteries — even at full, out-of-warranty cost — unless the batteries failed Apple’s own diagnostic tests, which did not account for the very issue that was causing the UPOs.

Instead, Apple implemented the iOS software update that caused throttling.

The update essentially prevented the iPhones from ever reaching performance levels that would require too much power from their batteries.

Throughout 2017, Apple continued to sell tens of millions of iPhones in the U.S. with known throttling issues, but never advised consumers. Eventually, consumers discovered the problem for themselves and, amidst public outcry, Apple apologized for the situation in December 2017.

Apple briefly reduced the price on out-of-warranty replacement batteries for affected iPhones and also released a new iOS update in March 2018. The new update allowed consumers, for the first time, to disable the throttling mechanism, and to have more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery. Under the settlement announced today, Apple admits to no violations of the law.

In addition to the settlement with 34 states announced today, Apple also recently entered into a proposed settlement of class action litigation related to the same conduct. Under that proposed settlement, Apple will pay out up to $500 million in consumer restitution.

Deputy Attorney General Monisha A. Kumar of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section in the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group handled the matter on behalf of the State.

Regional Coalition of Northeast Governors Announce Colleges Will Be Encouraged To Provide Testing For Students Before Leaving For Thanksgiving Break, Recommend Expanded Remote Instruction

Residential Colleges Across the Northeast Should Provide Testing For Students Before they Leave for Thanksgiving Break And Ensure Students are Aware of Quarantine Rules Governors Recommend That All Travel be Limited for Thanksgiving and Urge Colleges to Utilize Increased Remote Instruction to End Fall Semester, Reducing the Need for Students to Travel Back-and-Forth Between Campus and Home Multiple Times Multi-State Agreement on College-Related Travel Guidance Reached at Emergency Summit of Northeastern Governors this Past Weekend 

November 18, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Delaware Governor John Carney, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today announced they will encourage residential colleges and universities in their respective states to provide testing for all students traveling home for Thanksgiving break to the maximum extent possible before they leave campus. Any student who tests positive will be encouraged to isolate on campus before they can travel or detail arrangements of their safe travel home with the local department of health. These efforts will help mitigate the threat of college students returning home for the holidays importing COVID-19 into their communities. In addition, colleges should inform students and their families of relevant quarantine policies in their home state.  

“With Thanksgiving and the broader holiday season fast approaching, we have to recognize that any large family gathering — particularly among different age groups — runs the risk of turning the dinner table into a COVID hotspot,” said Governor Murphy. “To reduce the risk of transmission across our region, we are encouraging colleges and universities to ramp up testing for students returning home, and for anyone who tests positive to adhere to their state’s quarantine restrictions. If we collectively recommit ourselves to the commonsense mitigation practices that got us through the first wave of this pandemic, we can save lives before a vaccine becomes broadly available.” 

“As everyone predicted, cases are rising as temperatures drop, and New York is not immune. With the holidays approaching, we are fighting ‘living room spread’ from small gatherings in private homes — and adding college students’ interstate travel will be like pouring gasoline on a fire,” said New York Governor Cuomo. “We know this virus does not respect borders, which is why governors from across the region are working together to stop the spread. Colleges and universities have to do their part by testing all students before they leave, informing them about quarantine rules, and keeping classes online between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. We beat back the COVID beast in the spring, and by working together we can do it once again this winter.” 

“College students returning from highly infected states could accelerate the spread of COVID in Connecticut,” said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. “I appreciate the joint effort of all our regional governors to clearly state the testing/quarantine rules for returning home from college.” 

“There’s no sugarcoating it: this will be a difficult winter,” said Delaware Governor John Carney. “We are seeing rising cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 in our region and across the country as we enter the colder months. The holidays present a significant challenge. I’m thankful for the cooperation in our region, and will continue to urge Delawareans to do what works. Wear a mask. Don’t gather with anyone outside your household. Stay vigilant.” 

“It is our collective responsibility to protect our communities and our most vulnerable from COVID-19 and to continue to work together to get through this pandemic,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. “These targeted mitigation efforts, combined with existing ones, are paramount to decreasing the spread of COVID-19. We need everyone to be united in wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing our hands in order to save lives and help protect our economies.” 

“As our COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, it’s critical that we come together as a region to slow the spread and keep our constituents safe,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “We all need to be more vigilant about keeping our circles small and our masks on, while at the same time we’re continuing to ramp up asymptomatic testing across-the-board. This collaborative approach among Northeastern states will help us flatten the curve and contain spread over the Thanksgiving holiday.” 

“The region is experiencing a surge in COVID cases and a surge in the serious health impacts this disease brings with it. Working together on travel and higher education policies like these, states can have a bigger impact on COVID spread as students travel for the holidays,” said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. “Gathering with friends and family significantly increases the risk of spreading the virus and while testing and isolation guidelines can help slow the spread, it is up to everyone to wear a mask and avoid gathering indoors with people outside of your household.” 

The combination of rising cases across the country — including in the Northeast — due to increased transmission of COVID in small, residential settings and Thanksgiving travel has created the perfect storm for viral spread. If people proceed with celebrations in small gatherings outside of their immediate families, they risk generating a dramatic spike in cases after Thanksgiving. All Governors are urging their residents to stay home and celebrate small this year in an effort to help eliminate the risk of unchecked COVID-19 spread in the coming weeks.  

The governors and their public health experts developed this guidance over the weekend at an emergency summit of Northeastern governors. The governors also emphasized the importance of in-person education. Medical research as well as the data from Northeastern states, from across the country, and from around the world make clear that in-person learning is safe when the appropriate protections are in place, even in communities with high transmission rates. In-person learning is the best possible scenario for children, especially those with special needs and from low-income families. There is also growing evidence that the more time children spend outside of school increases the risk of mental health harm and affects their ability to truly learn. 

In order to stop college-related travel spreading COVID, colleges and universities in New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania will be encouraged to make testing available to all students before they leave for Thanksgiving break and inform students and their families of states’ quarantine requirements. Any student who tests positive before they leave should be permitted to isolate on campus, or may travel safely with the approval of the local departments of health. Students who are already isolating or quarantining on campus must remain in place until completing their prescribed seclusion.   

In addition, the Governors are strongly recommending that colleges and universities finish their fall semesters by expanding remote instruction, enabling more students to learn from home for the few weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break rather than require students to travel back to campus and then back home again in December. Half of colleges and universities across the northeast have already indicated they will be fully remote between Thanksgiving and the end of their fall semester. Colleges and universities should prioritize on-campus programs for students who did not travel or who need in-person exams or clinical and laboratory experiences. 

If colleges and universities do reopen for in-person instruction during this period, all returning students should receive COVID-19 tests and comply with relevant isolation and quarantine protocols. These institutions should also double down on precautions including frequent health screenings and surveillance testing due the increased risk of COVID exposure from student travel.    

For a copy of the full New Jersey Department of Health guidance for college and university students traveling home for winter break, please click here.

Former Pharmaceutical And Marketing Company Sales Representative Today Admitted His Role In A Conspiracy To Defraud Health Benefits

Joshua Darstek, 38, of Freehold, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to a superseding information charging him with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

November 18, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A former pharmaceutical and marketing company sales representative today admitted his role in a conspiracy to defraud a New Jersey state health benefits program, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Joshua Darstek, 38, of Freehold, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to a superseding information charging him with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Compounding is a practice in which a pharmacist or physician combines, mixes, or alters ingredients of a drug to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual patient. The Food and Drug Administration does not approve compounded drugs and thus does not verify the safety, potency, effectiveness, or manufacturing quality of compounded drugs. Generally, a physician may prescribe compounded drugs when an FDA-approved drug does not meet the health needs of a particular patient.

Between May 2014 and January 2016, Darstek worked as a sales representative on behalf of two compounding pharmacies and a marketing company – referred to in the superseding information as the “Compounding Companies.” He marketed and sold compounded drugs to physicians, including pain, scar, and wound creams and certain supplements and vitamins. The Compounding Companies paid Darstek based on a percentage of the reimbursement payments they received from health care benefit programs for each prescription that he referred to the compounding pharmacies. Darstek participated in a conspiracy that recruited patients, many of whom had prescription drug coverage under the New Jersey School Employee’s Health Benefits Program, to submit medically unnecessary prescriptions for compounded drugs to the pharmacies. Darstek caused physicians to write prescriptions for individuals with whom they did not have any interaction for purposes of determining that a prescription for a compounded drug was medically necessary.

The conspiracy to commit health care fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense. As part of his plea agreement, Darstek must forfeit $148,500 in criminal proceeds and pay restitution of at least $594,639. Sentencing is scheduled for March 23, 2021.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, and the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Leigh-Alistair Barzey, with the investigation leading to today’s plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bernard J. Cooney, Acting Chief of the Opioid Abuse Prevention & Enforcement Unit.


Defense counsel: Marco Laracca Esq., Orange, New Jersey

Hamilton Township Council Approves Propane Support Program

Program will Help Reimburse Local Restaurants for the Cost of Outdoor Heaters

November 18, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On Tuesday, November 17th, the Hamilton Township Council approved the creation of the Hamilton Township Propane Support Program to assist local restaurants with heating costs.

With this new program, funded by the Community Development Block Grant, the Township has made $20,000 available to help assist restaurants with the purchase and refilling of propane tanks. While outdoor dining has been a successful solution to prohibited or greatly reduced indoor dining, we quickly see temperatures dropping as we enter into late Fall and Winter. As such, many restaurants have invested in propane heaters to extend their outdoor dining season, but have found the expense to be cost prohibitive.

Through a partnership with Yardville Supply Company and Mercer Ace Hardware, the Township will be able to supply these tanks at a discounted rate, and allow restaurants to refill these tanks for the same price.

“The Propane Support Program is yet another innovative way for Hamilton to connect with our local restaurants and provide them with financial resources during these challenging times,” said Mayor Martin.  “I would like to thank Mercer Ace Hardware and Yardville Supply for partnering with us on this project and extend my thanks to Director of Community and Economic Development Fred Dumont for his tireless work communicating with our businesses during these challenging times and for continuing to find new and creative ways to support our Township businesses.”

“Council supports the Mayor’s action,” said Council President Richard Tighe. “Thank you to Yardville Supply and Ace Hardware for joining this effort. This is another example of how our community continues to come together to help each other through these tough times.”

Restaurants must register with the Township to express their interest in participating in this program. To send notification of interest, please email with the following information: the name of the business, contact information (name, phone, email), and an approximate number of tanks this business typically goes through in a week.

Hamilton Council Recognizes 7 Hamilton Township Police Officers For Recent Acts of Heroism

November 17, 2020

Story and photos by Tyler Eckel

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER): The Hamilton Township Council, along with Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin, recognized seven Hamilton Police Officers Tuesday night for their outstanding acts of heroism and bravery this year.

The Ceremony, originally scheduled to be held at a Council Meeting, was held at the HamStat Call Center following new COVID-19 restrictions. The room was limited to family guests only, with a maximum of ten individuals at a time. Social distancing and all other guidelines were followed. Officers were still mentioned in the virtual Council Meeting.

The first officer honored was Officer Ryan Fratz. Fratz was presented with a proclamation after responding to a motor vehicle crash on September 23, 2020 around 2:00 am at the intersection of Klockner Road and Kuser Road. Himself and John Hodniki, a nearby resident, rescued a man from his burning car after hitting a tree. The driver was then transported to the Trauma Center for his injuries. Without the quick thinking of Fratz, the victim of this crash may not have survived.

“It really inspired me and I know it did to council as well,” Mayor Jeff Martin said. “It’s been a tough year for officers around the country. When you went into that car, you didn’t know whether the person was white, black, male, female, whatever. You still went in and saved that person’s life,” Martin continued.

“Anyone I work with would have done the same thing,” Officer Fratz responded. “I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.”

Officer Christopher Harhay and Officer Anthony Carvale were honored next. Harhay and Carvale responded to the 100 block of Reeger Avenue on September 17, 2020 at about 1:23 pm for an agitated male carrying a gun. After arguing with relatives at their Reeger Avenue home, the suspect left the residence and observed a US Mail Carrier delivering mail nearby. The suspect chased after the Mail Carrier, pointed the gun, which ended up being a BB gun, directly at him and threatened him. Officers Harhay and Carvale arrived on the scene and were able to take the suspect into custody and retrieve the gun without injury to anyone. Because of their quick thinking and training, a situation that could have easily authorized the use of greater force, came to a peaceful end.

Mayor Martin congratulated them, quoting, “It’s so inspirational to me as well as the council to have officers like you on the job each and every day. What’s been a very difficult year for men and women in uniform, we wanted to make sure we took the moment this year to recognize our officers who have really have gone above and beyond.”

“Anthony and I signed up for our jobs as Police Officers. We know the responsibilities of coming to work everyday,” Harhay acknowledged.

“I just want to thank the Mayor, Council Members, and Hamilton PBA 66 for their continued support,” Carvale added. “It’s nice to have an event like this, especially with what’s going on in the current climate, you don’t see much positivity in regards to the police. Being recognised by our own town leadership is always very nice. We have a team of men and women here that are just trying to do our jobs, and their support means everything.”

Officer Timothy Donovan and Officer Justin Mura were also recognized. These officers were dispatched to Lincoln Court on June 8, 2020 around 9:42 am on the report of a woman that had self inflicted an injury with a knife. Upon their arrival, Donovan and Mura knocked on the front door. Suddenly, the front door opened and a woman emerged holding a large knife raised over her head and was bleeding from the neck. The woman charged at Officer Donovan with the raised knife, refusing verbal commands to drop it. Officer Donovan backed from the woman as she charged him, converting a distance of hundreds of feet, as he yelled for her to drop the knife. Officer Mura gave chase and approached the knife wielding woman from behind and was able to administer OC pepper spray until she stopped charging at Officer Donovan. The woman then used the knife to inflict another injury to herself in front of the Officers. At the direction of Officers, the woman finally dropped the knife and was provided first aid by Officers on the scene until an ambulance arrived and she was transported to the hospital. Another incident where stronger force could have been justified, but was avoided by the great performance of these officers.

Martin praised the officers mentioning, “The calm, cool, and collective approach you guys took to (the situation) represents the best that we have here in Hamilton, and the department overall.”

Officer Timothy Donovan retorted, “It was definitely an interesting situation, and one that I hope to never be in again. It is not a candy coated world out there. We are the ones in the trenches, so please don’t forget about us. We don’t deal with cats in trees, but we’re the ones really getting in there. We are the ones getting dirty and we need somebody on our side to tell the public: we’re not bad guys.”

“Just an echo from what Tim said, we go to work and we don’t look for a pat on the back, but it gives us confidence when we are being recognized and we’re being appreciated,” Officer Mura added.

The final two officers esteemed were Officer Anthony Lucidi and Officer Michael Stefanelli. They were dispatched to an active building fire in the 300 block of Klockner Road on June 16, 2020 around 11:43 pm. Upon arrival, they observed an active fire with flames on the second floor porch leading to the second floor apartment. Both Officers climbed onto the adjacent roof and attempted to force open the apartment door to evacuate the residents inside. Officers were able to wake a young couple and their daughter who were asleep inside the burning building. Lucidi and Stefanelli assisted the residents off of the roof and away from the burning porch to safety. The quick and heroic actions of these Officers undoubtedly prevented serious injuries or loss of life to the unaware residents.

“Like I’ve said before, you guys ran into that building not knowing anybody’s sex, gender, religion, political beliefs, anything like that. You went in there for the right reason, to literally save people’s lives,” Martin complimented. “That just epitomizes our Police Department here in Hamilton under the leadership of the Chief and everybody else,” Martin continued.

Officer Stefanelli’s reply was, “I just want to say thank you to everybody for putting this on. At the end of the day we’re just doing our job.”

Officer Lucidi added to his statement saying, “We live here, we work here, so we just have to do our job for the people we live with and the people we work with.”

Council President Rich Tighe responded to the ceremony by saying, “The chief and I started talking a lot right around the time of the George Floyd incident and the unrest. The Chief wanted to be very communicative about the measures that were being taken to keep our community safe. Every conversation we’ve ever had, the Chief’s primary concern has always been protecting human life. You guys are all examples of that. I’m proud of you, I appreciate you, thank you for the work that you’re doing.”

Hamilton’s Chief of Police James Stevens also said a few words for his officers. “I can’t thank (the parents) enough for supporting their (sons and daughters). I know it’s not easy. When I became a cop, my mother always worried, so I imagine it’s the same thing. I also can’t thank the Mayor and the council for all their support in this Police Division. It has not gone unrecognized by the men and women that work for the Police Division. I personally have a great privilege that I work for some very good officers. Everyday (officers) come to work not knowing what they will encounter, and they handle things accordingly with great professionalism and pride, and upholding the oath of office they took the day they got sworn in. With all that’s gone on this year, it’s been a tough year. Between Covid, tropical storms, civil unrest, the men and women of this division have not turned away or not answered the call to duty. They have always put themselves in harm’s way to make sure that the citizens of this township are safe.”

Above photos by Tyler Eckel