Several Burlington Township police officers were recognized at the Tuesday, June 26, regular meeting of the Burlington Township Council. The meeting began with a swearing-in ceremony for two township police officers and the presentation of the Fraternal Order of Police Awards for 2018.
“This is a unique event for us as the FOP gets to recognize their own who did great things throughout the year,” said Mayor Brian Carlin ahead of the ceremonies.
Resident Evan Herold was first to be sworn in as a Class II Special Police Officer. He graduated with an associate’s degree from Burlington County College and a bachelor’s degree from Wilmington University, both in criminal justice. Herold currently serves in the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a lance corporal. He attended Gloucester County Police Academy Special Officer Class II and graduated on March 20.
Taylor Holba, a former resident of Burlington Township, was also sworn in at the meeting following his promotion to sergeant on May 5. His law enforcement career began after attending the Burlington County Police Academy Basic Recruit Class No. 95 and graduating in August 2008. He attended basic military training at Lackland Airforce Base for the NJ Air National Guard and served active duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010. He was hired as a police officer in February 2012.
Following the swearing-in ceremony for Herold and Holba, Director of Public Safety Bruce Painter joined the mayor to present the Fraternal Order of Police Awards for 2018.
Notable police actions recognized at the meeting included a stolen bicycle incident for which Sgt. Brandon Roberson and Officers Charles Richardson, Christina Zalot, Christopher Zier and Tyler Trumbetti received letters of recognition and Officer Shawn McDonough received a letter of commendation.
According to Painter, on Nov. 1 these officers responded to a report of a stolen bicycle and upon his arrival, McDonough recognized the victim as a special needs individual.
“Knowing the victim’s only means of transportation was the bicycle that was stolen, he took it upon himself to approach the squad and together they put forward money to purchase a new bicycle for the individual,” said Painter.
Another notable incident involving the investigation of a stolen vehicle and a police eluding earned Sgt. Christopher Ent, Detectives Anthony Fontana and Terrance Hreso, Officers Taylor Holba, Steven Cosmo, Matthew Kochis, Jordan Green and Katelyn Fleming letters of recognition and Officer Dave Long a letter of commendation.
According to Painter, on Nov. 30, Long located a motor vehicle reported stolen out of Hamilton Township and followed until backup arrived. Upon activating his emergency lights, the vehicle pulled over and all four occupants fled on foot. With the assistance of backup units, three of the four were located and taken into custody.
“A perimeter was then set up around a wooded area, and after a short period of time the fourth subject surrendered without incident. All four suspects were charged accordingly and the victim had her vehicle returned to her,” recounted Painter.
A distinguished service award was also presented to Burlington City Detective Jamie Lambing who was first on the scene of a reported drowning at Sylvan Lake on May 10. Before water rescue personnel arrived, Lambing tethered himself to a safety line and dove into the lake to search for the victim.
“Although the rescue attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, your efforts were nothing less than heroic and extremely brave,” said Painter.
The last officer recognized during the award ceremony was Detective Michael Casella, who was named Officer of the Year for 2018 for closing several investigations, including a bank robbery at a Beneficial Bank, an armed robbery at a 7-11 and a strict liability death.