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ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — The Essex County Sheriff’s Office held a ceremony on Sept. 29 to present Medal of Honor, Officer of the Year and Unit citation awards to officers who have gone above and beyond.

At the ceremony, Sheriff Armando Fontoura awarded the Medal of Honor to the members of the Tactical Response Team, who on July 8, 2021, attempted to execute a high-risk search warrant for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. The target had a long criminal record and was known to possess weapons. As the team approached the target, he fired numerous rounds at the officers. The target barricaded himself within the residence for 31 hours and taunted the officers by firing rounds into the floor as they attempted to negotiate with him. With the assistance of the Newark Police Department, the target was subsequently arrested, ending the standoff.

The following officers received the Medal of Honor: Sgt. Michael Capodanno, Sgt. Christopher Bozios, Sgt. Sergio Tavares, retired Sgt. Dennis Kihlberg, Detective Robert Liput, Detective Thomas Bender, Detective Daryl Johnson, Detective Giovanni Martino, Detective Noel Mendez, Detective Albert Pensamiento, Detective Richardo Rickards, Detective Larry Taylor, Detective Jose Torres, Officer Christian Megaro, Officer Richard Alberto, Officer Zachary Felmley, Officer Ibn Holman, Officer David Kong, Officer Nicholas Mattia, Officer David Mattia, Officer Alejandro Madera and Officer Giovanni Olivero.

Detective John Patino, a juvenile liaison officer in the Patrol Division and a member of the Youth Service Commission, received the Officer of the Year Award for being instrumental in helping to create the ECSO Stationhouse Adjustment Program. In New Jersey, stationhouse adjustment is an alternative method for police to handle first-time juvenile offenders with minor offenses. This option provides immediate consequences, such as community service or restitution, while allowing the juvenile to avoid a formal juvenile delinquency record.

Fontoura presented the Unit citation Award to the Bureau of Criminal Identification. Capt. Matthew Goldrick accepted the award on behalf of BCI, which faced one of the biggest changes in decades — the beginning of the end of the State Police National Crime Information Center system, and the migration to and implementation of its replacement, eAgent 2.0.

Photos Courtesy of Essex County Sheriff’s Office



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Essex County Sheriff’s Office holds awards ceremony – Essex News Daily

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