Kinnelon Police Officers Honored for 'Exemplary' Duty
From tackling alleged burglars to stopping an attempted suicide, officers were honored Thursday for going beyond their daily job routines.
Several Kinnelon police officers were honored at Thursday night's council meeting for going above and beyond the call of duty during arrests over the past several years.
As Chief John Finkle explained, some of the incidents date as far back as 2007, although officers were not able to be honored until now because of case-sensitive information that could not be released. Still, Finkle said the officers were responsible for "exemplary acts within the department" and were due for honoring.
The oldest incident, which Sgt. Joseph Napoletano was honored for, dated back to November 18, 2007, when police recieved a call of an alleged fraud incident in progress at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Mayor Bob Collins read a narrative about the incident and said Napoletano arrived on the scene to find a man who matched the description of the person involved to be still in the store.
When the man saw police and attempted to run, Collins said Napoletano tackled him and arrested him. The man was later determined to have been involved in credit card fraud schemes throughout the country, Collins said.
On August 12, 2011, Sgt. Christopher Carbone and Ptl. Melissa Huizenga assisted Butler police with an alleged attempted burglary of the Sprint cell phone store on Route 23. Police had received a report from a motorist of a burglary in progress and when they arrived on the scene, two males who were allegedly placing merchandise into cloth bags ran into the woods.
Huizenga and Carbone, who were on the scene, had left to respond to a burglary attempt in Kinnelon when they saw men matching the descriptions of the alleged robbers walking near the shoulder of the road and chased after them.
Collins said they used an "agressive patrol technique" and were able to arrest the men, who were later found to have allegedly been involved in a burglary ring including stores in Wayne.
Ptl. Mark Ehrenburg was honored for his response later that month during an attempted residential burglary on Harrison Road where he was forced to make a choice to either attempt to go after two alleged burglars who had escaped the back of the house or stay with two women who were also believed to be involved. As he went toward the property line to look for the alleged burglars who escaped, the women tried to flee the scene, but Collins said Ehrenburg was able to pursue and take both women down and restrain them using a wrestling technique.
After a nine-month investigation, the alleged burglars were determined to have been involved in at least five burglaries in Jefferson Township, according to Collins.
"Mark really handled himself well," Finkle said.
On March 12 of this year, Collins said Sgt. Joe Fidducia and Ptl. Keith Kelly responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle. Based on instincts, Finkle said the officers determined there was something "just not right" about the 63-year-old driver and began investigating him with the help of Det. Patrick McDonnell and Det./Sgt. David Crouthamel. Police determined the man allegedly had a sexual relationship with a teenager he had mentored and arrested him in March.
Finkle said this was a particularly noteworthy case because the officers went beyond their standard job in following up on the driver.
"We must get thousands if not hundreds of suspicious motor vehicle calls a year," he said.
In July, Ptl. Nicholas Cifelli assisted two Kinnelon residents in a medical emergency where a 67-year-old West Milford man was suffering from an apparent heart attack in the parking lot of the Meadtown Shopping Center. Cifelli helped Jim Scarfone and Thomas Reimer, a retired Wayne police officer, administer CPR and shocked the man four times. When the paramedics came but were in need of an extra hand, Collins said Cifelli even drove the ambulance to Chilton Hospital so that the patient could have the additional needed attention.
Also honored Thursday was Kinnelon police dispatcher Stacy Spring, who Collins said helped save the life of a female resident contemplating suicide.
Collins said the resident's friend called police from out of the state and said she was worried her friend would hurt herself. Police responded to the resident's house to find no one home and Collins said Spring was able to identify the make and model of her car and track it to the George Washington Bridge.
Spring made about 17 phone calls and got in touch with Port Authority Police. The resident returned home safely.
Both Finkle and Collins emphasized how proud they were of the officers and Collins called Thursday "a good night for Kinnelon."
"Sleep well at night knowing you have some exceptional officers here," he said.