2020 South Brunswick Police Awards, Acts of life-saving, bravery, and perseverance recognized.

December 28, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–This year has been like none before it, but we don’t want to let the outstanding work officers have done go unnoticed. Each May we hold an awards ceremony recognizing the works or bravery and perseverance of officers and citizens. This year that has not been possible, but over the course of the past two weeks, we have given officers awards individually. These awards were submitted to a committee of officers for a determination of their merits. A final report was submitted to the Chief of Police who authorized the awards. Chief Raymond Hayducka said, “These officers’ actions stopped violent criminals, saved lives, and enhanced our community. This has been a difficult year, but reviewing these awards just reinforces what a great department we have. I also want to thank the community members who step up year after year to make our Township great.”  

The 2020 Awards are broken down into 4 categories – Exceptional Service Award, Lifesaving, Community Service / Letter of Commendation, and Civilian Award and recognize efforts during 2019.
I. Exceptional Service Award – This award is given out to recognize the outstanding work of officers and detectives to track down suspects, solve cases, and bring justice for victims. It is the highest award given out this year.
Exceptional Service Award – Exploited Victims Investigation

  • Detective Brian Sites

Detective Sites investigated a series of crimes where young women were being exploited and extorted on the internet. Detective Sites conducted a four-month investigation that included the procurement of numerous court orders, the execution of search warrants, seizure of digital evidence, and the examination of thousands of images. He coordinated with the New Jersey State Police Cyber Crime Unit and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office to pursue this suspect. His investigation determined the suspect had been victimizing young women for several years. His comprehensive investigation led to the arrest and conviction of the suspect. His work brought closure to the victims and an end to the sexual exploitation.
Exceptional Service Award – Dark Web Drug Operation Arrests

  • Lieutenant Jeffrey Russo

Lieutenant Russo conducted a yearlong joint investigation along with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Agency into narcotics trafficking over the “Dark Web.” The joint investigation concluded with the execution of multiple search warrants throughout the state of New Jersey. The investigation resulted in the largest seizure of Xanax in the State. Five subjects were arrested and charged with multiple counts of trafficking narcotics. Lieutenant Russo’s hard work, dedication, and inter-agency coordination led to the successful conclusion of this case.
Exceptional Service – Dispute Investigation

  • Officer Michael Urstadt

On June 30th, Officer Urstadt investigated a dispute incident where the actor reported that he was the victim of a stabbing. The actual victim was afraid to call the police because she suffered significant abuse by the male. Officer Urstadt’s investigation determined that the true victim in the assault was the woman and the man had staged the crime scene.  The woman was treated for substantial injuries and the man was arrested. Officer Urstadt’s diligent investigation ensured a strong evidence-based prosecution.
Exceptional Service Award – Fatal Hit and Run Arrest

  • Traffic Safety Bureau -Sergeant Gary Holsten, Officer Michael Leung, Officer Jesse Blake, Officer William Merkler

On August 8th the Traffic Safety Bureau responded to a fatal hit and run motor vehicle crash on County Route 535. The investigation was complex, including the processing of three separate crime scenes over a five-mile area, multiple witness interviews, DNA/evidence collection, and multiple search warrants. The investigation resulted in tracking down and arresting the suspect responsible for the death. The investigation demonstrated initiative, skill, and dedication. 
Exceptional Service – Handgun Arrest

  • Lieutenant Scott Reeves & Officer Bryan Garrison

On August 13th, Officer Garrison responded to a report of an individual who had brandished a firearm. Officer Garrison quickly located the suspect vehicle and coordinated a high-risk motor vehicle stop with other officers, removing all occupants. Lieutenant Reeves canvassed the route the suspect vehicle had traveled, successfully recovering a loaded firearm with hollow point ammunition. The coordination of efforts led to the arrest of the actor with no injuries to the victims, suspect, bystanders, or officers.
Exceptional Service Award – Robbery Arrest

  • Detective Domenick Delucia, Detective Brian Sites

On October 11 and while off duty, Detective Delucia observed a vehicle matching the description of a vehicle involved in a recent gas station armed robbery. Detective Delucia quickly coordinated assistance with other officers and Detective Sites responded. The suspect exited a store and officers approached to speak with him. The suspect fled on foot with detectives in pursuit. The detectives captured the suspect after a half-mile foot chase. The investigation brought an end to a robbery spree that spanned two states and three counties. Detective Delucia and Detective Sites’ awareness and quick actions led to take a dangerous criminal off the streets.
Exceptional Service Award – Armed Suspect Arrest

  • Sergeant Richard Hutchison, Officer Gagan Chopra, Officer George Morgan, Officer Jarrid Harpster

On December 22nd, officers responded to a hotel on a report of a wanted man with a stolen shotgun. Officers quickly arrived and officers conducted a systematic search of the five-story hotel.  The team of officers ultimately located the armed suspect behind a banquet table. They were able to take him into custody without any injury to hotel guests, officers, or the suspect. The quick actions of this team neutralized a dangerous situation.
II. Life Saving Medal – This award is given to officers whose actions saved the life of a person.
Life-Saving Medal

  • Officer George Vit, Officer Joseph Marrero, Officer Joseph Rausch, Officer Jason Stonkus

On September 17th officers responded to a report of an 88-year-old male who was unresponsive. The officers’ quick response and teamwork allowed them to promptly administer CPR and an automated external defibrillator. The man regained a pulse and made a full recovery. Their actions saved his life.
Life-Saving Medal

  • Officer Jarrid Harpster, Officer Kent English

On December 10th Officer Harpster and Officer English responded to a report of a male that had stabbed himself in the chest multiple times. Officer Harpster determined that the male was suffering from a sucking chest wound. Officer Harpster improvised and utilized a plastic bag with duct tape to create a chest seal to stabilize the victim. Officer Harpster and Officer English continued to provide lifesaving care until the arrival of advanced emergency medical services. Their prompt actions saved the man’s life. 
Life-Saving Medal

  • Officer Daniel Rodriguez, Officer Michael Urstadt, Officer Tyler Harpster, Officer Jason Stonkus

On August 1st officers responded to a report of a 49-year-old male who was unresponsive. The officers’ quick response and teamwork allowed them to promptly administer CPR and an automated external defibrillator. The man regained a pulse and made a full recovery. Their actions saved his life.
Life-Saving Medal

  • Officer Christopher Magee-Vanderveen, Officer Daniel Rodriguez, Officer Michael Urstadt

On July 22nd, officers responded to a report of a 48-year-old male who was unresponsive. The officers’ quick response and teamwork allowed them to promptly administer CPR and an automated external defibrillator. The man regained a pulse and made a full recovery. Their actions saved his life.
III. Community Service Award / Letter of Commendation – This award is given to officers who make the actions and efforts to improve the lives of residents and enhance the community.
Community Service Award

  • Sergeant Nathan Labuda

Sergeant Nathan Labuda has organized the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run in South Brunswick Township for the last seven years. Sergeant Labuda coordinated fundraising efforts which resulted in substantial donations to the New Jersey Special Olympics. Sergeant Labuda also partnered with the South Brunswick School District to include special needs athletes from three different schools in a portion of the run. Sgt. Labuda’s efforts reflect the best of our department and community partnership.
Community Service Award

  • Officer George Morgan

Officer Morgan has become deeply involved with the South Brunswick Community both in an official capacity and as a volunteer for many community events. From his work raising funds for people in need to his coaching young people in basketball, he embodies community engagement.  His efforts have fostered a positive relationship and partnership with the community, juveniles, and numerous other organizations. His efforts reflect well on our department and community.
Letter of Commendation

  • Public Safety Tele communicator (PST) John Muccioli

On October 11, PST Muccioli exhibited excellent discretion and communication skills in coordinating a rapidly evolving foot pursuit of a robbery suspect. With little warning, detectives broadcasted that they were in a foot pursuit of a robbery suspect. PST Muccioli was able to provide precise and vital information, which greatly aided in the coordination for responding patrol units. His efforts helped lead to the capture of the robbery suspect.
Letter of Commendation

  • Detective Timothy Hoover

Beginning in June of 2019, Detective Hoover led an investigation involving the Distribution of CDS. He coordinated efforts with other agencies. The operation was dynamic and Detective Hoover handled all avenues of the investigation with excellence. A large quantity of CDS was taken off the street. The efforts of Det. Hoover showed initiative, professionalism, and quick thinking.
Letter of Commendation

  • Officer Brooke Labell

On September 24th, Officer Labell, as a member of the department’s crime scene evidence technician program was assigned to process a burglary scene at a residence. Officer Labell’s detailed crime scene processing led to the recovery of latent fingerprints from the point of entry. The New Jersey State Police lab linked the latent fingerprints to a suspect who was later arrested.
Letter of Commendation

  • Officer Matthew Hagood

Officer Hagood responded to a report of a teen being dehydrated and lost in a heavily wooded area. Officer Hagood located the juvenile who was stuck in the mud up to his knees. The juvenile was assisted out of the mud and provided with medical attention. Officer Hagood’s actions led to safely locating the juvenile.
IV. Civilian Awards – This category represents citizens whose efforts over the past year helped the South Brunswick Police Department.
Citizens Appreciation Award

  • Fazil Syed

On February 19th, Mr. Fazil Syed observed a Nixle during the late evening hours alerting his neighborhood about a missing 10-year-old nonverbal autistic child. Mr. Syed immediately left his home and began to search his neighborhood. Mr. Syed quickly located the child and alerted the police. The child had been outside in the cold for several hours. Mr. Syed’s selfless act resulted in the child being safely reunited with his family.
Civilian Staff Recognition Award

  • Caryl Greenberg

For over thirteen years, Caryl Greenberg worked hand in hand with the police department in helping members of our community while serving as a social worker. Caryl proved to be an invaluable resource and problem solver for our officers.  The lives she has positively impacted could never be measured. Caryl’s service and leadership have been vital to the success of the South Brunswick Police Department.
Chief’s Safety Award

  • Mildred Torres – Domestic Violence Response Team

Mildred Torres is awarded the Chief’s Safety Award for assisting victims of domestic violence in South Brunswick for over ten years. The Domestic Violence Response Team has proven to be an effective tool to support victims in breaking the cycle of domestic violence. Mildred Torres’s service and leadership has been vital to the success of the Domestic Violence Response Team’s partnership with the South Brunswick Police Department.
Chief’s Safety Award

  • Christine Caputo-Raddatz

Christine Caputo-Raddatz is awarded the Chief’s Safety Award for protecting the children of South Brunswick Township day in and day out by serving as a crossing guard for over 10 years.
Citizens Appreciation Award

  • Francis White and Francis White Jr.

On December 10th, Mr. Francis White and Mr. Francis White Jr. observed a male stabbing himself in the chest with a knife. Both men wrestled the knife away from the male. Mr. White provided live-saving care and directed officers to his location. The efforts of Mr. White and Mr. White Jr saved the man’s life.