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GRPD Issues Valor Awards for 2012

Incidents include the capture of an alleged lemonade stand flasher, the biting of a police officer, arrests in a major drug ring, the largest heroin bust in department history, numerous fraud/scam cases, and more.

Editor's note: The following press release was sent by the Glen Rock Police Department PBA Local 110 for publication. It is unedited spare style changes. The accusations expressed below do not indicate a conviction.

Eight Glen Rock police officers, a New York City police detective and a private citizen were presented with "police valor awards" for their exemplary actions during 2012 at a Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA) ceremony held in Dec. 19, 2012.
 
The award recipients were selected by a committee of department colleagues directed by Sgt. Dean Ackermann, which combed the logs of the year's police service calls to identify what the department terms "breakout responses and resolutions."
 
The group's selections were then reviewed by Police Officer Annamarie Mattina, president of the Glen Rock PBA, and Chief Frederick Stahman.
Valor Awards were presented in the categories of Honorable Service, Apprehension and General Commendation.

Honorable service awards

Det. James Calaski and Det. Sal Bellomo (NYPD)

As a result of a three month investigation associated with the arrest of an actor in a prescription fraud case on May 15th, 2012, Det. Calaski working in cooperation with Det. Sal Bellomo New York City Police Department (assigned to the Richmond County DA’s Detective Squad) arrested a Staten Island woman who was part of a major drug ring operating in New York and New Jersey. The group had passed at least 18 fraudulent prescriptions in New Jersey and 24 in New York, obtaining more than 5,000 Oxycodone pills at an estimated street value of more than $100,000.

Honorable mention is also made of D/Sgt. Reamy, P.O. Mc Govern and P.O. Yang.

Patrolman Michael Trover

At 4:58 p.m. on Aug. 22, during the course of a routine motor vehicle stop, utilizing excellent observations, interview and investigative techniques, P.O. Trover arrested a Saugerties NY man for possession of 337 decks of heroin. This represents the single largest heroin arrest in the history of the Glen Rock Police Department.  

Honorable mention is also made of Sgt. Wojtecki and P.O. Carter.

****

Apprehension Awards

Patrolman Scott McGovern

At 1:37 a.m. on April 27, while on routine patrol P.O. Scott McGovern came upon three actors in the act of stealing pallets of recycled cardboard from Kilroy's Wonder Market. The proceeds, worth thousands of dollars, were in the process of being loaded on a truck found to be containing cardboard stolen from other jurisdictions. All three men, later determined to be convicted violent felons, were found to be wanted for numerous outstanding warrants.  

Honorable mention is also made of assisting officers – Sgt. Ackermann & P.O. Yang.

Sgt. Christopher Mc Inerney and Patrolman Murray Yang

At 3:04 a.m. on May 6, officers were dispatched to a Hamilton Avenue residence following a 911 report from a resident whose vehicle had just been burglarized. While canvassing the area Sgt. Mc Inerney came upon a male actor who was in the process of burglarizing another vehicle in the driveway of a Bergen Street home. Following a foot pursuit though back yards Sgt. Mc Inerney and P.O. Yang apprehended and restrained the actor who was found to be armed with a box cutter, pocket knife and cork screw, in addition to the proceeds from a series of vehicle burglaries that were committed that morning.

Honorable mention is also made of P.O. Mc Govern, Ridgewood Police Officers, Casson, Mormino, Cummings, Mc Dermott.

Patrolman Scott McGovern and Patrolman Murray Yang

At 2:21 a.m. on May 11, officers were dispatched to a burglar alarm at the Glen Rock Middle School, upon arrival P.O. Mc Govern came across a male actor who fled on foot. After a brief foot chase the actor, who resisted arrest, was restrained and taken into custody by P.O. Mc Govern and P.O. Yang. The actor, who was intoxicated and uncooperative, was transported to Valley Hospital due to his state of intoxication. No serious injury resulted from the incident.

After it was determined that window screens had been removed at several points of the building indicating an attempt to enter.  

Honorable mention is also made of P.O. Stanislao who assisted after the fact.  

Patrolman Scott McGovern and Patrolman Murray Yang

At 6:37 p.m. on May 15, P.O. Mc Govern and P.O. Yang were dispatched to Rock Ridge Pharmacy on a report of a male actor attempting to purchase Oxycodone with a fraudulent prescription. The staff at the pharmacy had recognized the actor as part of the crew responsible for numerous prescription fraud incidents.

A foot chase took place after the actor fled from the pharmacy. P.O. Yang, assisted by P.O. McGovern, chased the actor down Rock Road and along the paved pathway between the railroad tracks and Glen Rock Savings Bank where he was apprehended. The arrest was instrumental in solving numerous prescription frauds in Fair Lawn, Hawthorne, Freehold, Spring Valley, N.Y., and Brooklyn.

Honorable mention is also made of P.O. Stanislao.

Det. James Calaski

Following a month long investigation, Det. Calaski identified and arranged the surrender of a Queens, NY man involved in a multi jurisdictional credit fraud case. The actor had used stolen credit card numbers and a fake Pennsylvania ID to purchase $5,000 worth of merchandise and gift cards from CVS stores located in Glen Rock, Wyckoff, and Midland Park.

Honorable mention is also made D/Sgt. Reamy.

****

Citizen's Award

Ellen Dour

Following an Aug. 17 incident where a male adult exposed himself to several young girls (all under the age of 13) at a lemonade stand, a 46-year-old Ridgewood man was charged with lewdness. This arrest was the result of prompt actions of Ellen Dour, who observed the incident, hurried the girls away, took down the vehicle’s registration information and provided a description to responding officers.

Honorable mention is also made of Sgt. Riggio, Det. Calaski, Ptl. Trover and Ptl. Carter.

****

General Commendations 

2012 excellence in narcotics and DWI enforcement

Patrolman Michael Trover

In recognition of excellence in narcotics and DWI enforcement through the greatest number of arrests resulting from motor vehicle stops during the period of Nov. 2011 through Oct. 2012. A total of 75 narcotics charges filed against offenders and 16 DWI arrests were brought about through P.O. Trover’s excellent observations, interview and investigative techniques.

Honorable mention is also made of supervisors and patrol officers who assisted with these arrests.

Patrolman Greg Carter

In recognition of excellence in narcotics and DWI enforcement through the greatest number of arrests resulting from motor vehicle stops during the period of Nov. 2011 through Oct. 2012. A total of 66 narcotics charges filed against offenders and 11 DWI arrests were brought about through P.O. Carter’s excellent observations, interview and investigative techniques.

Honorable mention is also made of supervisors and patrol officers who assisted with these arrests.

****

Specialized Language and Investigative Skills

Patrolman Murray Yang

Since joining the force in 2006, P.O. Yang's police experience and fluency in Mandarin Chinese have made him a valuable aid to law enforcement agencies around the area.

Officers in surrounding communities have solicited Yang's language skills to assist them with simple motor vehicle stops or to even help lost motorists of Chinese descent who speak little or no English.

But beyond routine duties, other municipal and county authorities have brought his capability to bear in more complex cases - including homicides and other violent crime investigations - in which the ability to communicate and report with exactitude is crucial.

Those experiences have included five major investigations with the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office. The scope of Yang's involvement ranges from basic translation - merely assisting principal officers and other authorities present in communicating with Chinese-speaking subjects - to fully conducting interviews and interrogations with such individuals on his own.

For that reason, P.O. Yang is one of few Glen Rock officers to undergo advanced interviewing and interrogation instruction at the Bergen County Police Academy in Mahwah. This training course is generally reserved for detective-level officers.

Recent cases have included homicide investigations in Fort Lee and Parsippany where both witnesses and suspects spoke little English.

Experienced in dealing with both suspects as well as victims, Yang participated in a rape investigation in Englewood Cliffs, in which the female victim herself became an actor. In that case, both the attacker and the female victim were Chinese, so Yang also had to provide a word-for-word translation of a telephone conversation between the two. It later turned out that the victim became a perpetrator when she attempted to extort money from the assailant.

The importance of language fluency in the area of legal admissibility surfaced in a Paramus sexual assault case in which Yang served as interpreter. Afterward the attorney for the accused Chinese-speaking suspect claimed that, despite Yang's translation during the reading of his Miranda rights, his client did not understand them, thus rendering a subsequent confession invalid.

At the resulting Miranda rights, the judge threw out the claim and upheld the validity of the confession, based on Yang's proven facility with the language.

As a result of that decision, Yang was asked by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office to provide a written Miranda rights statement in Mandarin Chinese.

In addition to his written and spoken fluency, Yang’s understanding of cultural nuances is similarly important. The rarity of police experience combined with fluency in written and spoken Mandarin makes P.O. Yang a valuable asset to law enforcement.

****

Outstanding Narcotics Arrest

Patrolman Greg Carter

At 10:13 p.m. on April 13, during the course of a routine motor vehicle stop, utilizing excellent observations, interview and investigative techniques P.O. Carter arrested a New Paltz, NY man for possession of 100 decks of heroin.  

Honorable mention is also made of P.O. Scott and P.O. Trover.

****

Restraint and professionalism under adverse conditions

Patrolman Robert Surdyka

At 03:51 a.m. on June 22, while on routine patrol P.O. Surdyka heard a school bus alarm going off at Central School and saw a female run from the bus to the rear of the school. After chasing her to Bedford Road, she became combative and bit P.O. Surdyka on the left hand, breaking the skin. At this point a male actor, who was the woman's boyfriend, attempted to assault the officer. P.O. Surdyka, who had sustained injury, was able to apprehend and restrain both actors until back-up units arrived at which time the actors continued to resist arrest. P.O. Surdyka is commended for his restraint and professionalism in dealing with these two intoxicated and combative offenders.  

Honorable mention is also made of Sgt. Mc Inerney, P.O. Yang and Ridgewood P.O. Mc Dermott.

****

Grandparent Scam

Detective Sgt. Eric Reamy and Det. James Calaski

An 86-year-old female resident reported that she was the victim of a grandparent scam. The victim had wired $90,000 to a bank in Los Angeles after she was tricked into thinking her grandson had been arrested and needed bail money. The suspects were able to cash out $45,000 of the money sent.

GR detectives worked with the local and LA based banks as well as the LAPD and the FBI in order to coordinate the arrest of one suspect attempting to pick up the remaining $46,000, which was recovered for the victim. The FBI was able to develop leads from the suspect under arrest resulting in the identification of at least two suspected ringleaders.

Additional information developed by the GRPD identified the same suspects victimizing numerous other elderly Bergen County residents for several hundred thousand dollars. Assistance was provided to the Mahwah DB, which was able to recover $97,000 for one of their victims. The suspect, arrested in Los Angeles, is currently in federal custody on $800,000 bail and facing eight federal charges.

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