Officers and their families gathered Thursday night in the basement of the Garlic Rose Bistro on North Avenue for the first Cranford Police Benevolent Association Silver Card and Awards Dinner ceremony since 1994.
The police union honored their own for outstanding work on and off duty.
Of those given silver awards:
- Sgt. Anthony Dobbins, for aiding a brother and sister caught in a rip tide off the coast of the Outer Banks in North Carolina in July 2007. Dobbins’ training as a fast water rescue member helped him save the two people even when on vacation.
- Officer Timothy O’Brien for chasing down and holding a burglary suspect in Elizabeth until police arrived at the scene in February 2006. O’Brien was also off-duty at the time.
- PBA President and Officer Matthew Nazzaro for rendering first aid to a woman who suddenly lost consciousness, stopped breathing, and had no pulse at Kean University in October 2008. After three minutes of cardio pulmonary resuscitation, the woman’s pulse and breathing returned.
- Officer John Rattigan for successfully performing the Heimlich Maneuver on a choking 102-year-old woman in August 2007.
- Sgt. Guy Patterson and Detective Ryan Greco for subduing a suspect who was threatening to kill himself and others with a crossbow, a samurai sword, and other weapons during a psychiatric emergency in February 2009.
- Sgt. Edward Davenport and Nazzaro for delivering defibrillator aid to a victim who was not breathing and had no pulse in May 2009. The victim made a full recovery.
- Lt. Stephen Wilde, Dobbins and Rattigan for apprehending a purse snatcher who resisted arrest by trying to escape by vehicle and on foot, and by fighting the officers during the September 2008 incident.
Of those given merit awards:
- Sgt. Frank Hanley, Officers John Heesters, Sean Holcomb, Daniel Norton and Rattigan for arresting two suspects connected with the Newark 18th Street set of the Bloods Street Gang in June 2008.
- Hanley, Detectives Sgt. Jerry Quinn, John Swandrak, Robert Montague, Michael Andrews, Richard Vitale, and Officers Donal Zsak, Derek Farbanec, Patrick Fay for apprehending a homicide suspect within six hours of the crime in January 2006. The suspect eventually plead guilty to aggravated manslaughter.
- Nazzaro and Montague were also given a merit award and a Robert Hand Brotherhood Award for their efforts in preventing 2009 police department layoffs.
Cranford Patrolman Robert Hand was killed in February 1975 in an automobile accident during a vehicle pursuit.
The PBA honored those killed in the line of duty, including Hand, in the form of a powerpoint presentation compiled by Detective Lt. Joseph Van Bergen.
“I’m happy that this tradition is coming back,” said Nazzaro at the end of the dinner. “This is just a tradition I think should continue and I’m sure will after tonight.”