News Department

Morris County Sheriff recognizes employee achievements

MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – Members of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections and Bureau of Law Enforcement attended the 2023 annual Medal Day Ceremony held at the Morris County Park Commission’s Frelinghuysen Arboretum on Sept. 29.

Sheriff James M. Gannon welcomed all to the celebration by saying, “It is a great day to recognize the good work being done at the Morris County Sheriff’s Office. The Office is rich in tradition and history yet always focused on accomplishing many mandated functions and supportive law enforcement roles.”

Sheriff Gannon also gave special thanks to the families who continually support the agency’s officers as they perform their challenging job assignments.

Morris County Sheriff Gannon recognized 55 officers and non-sworn staff for the year’s outstanding achievements and life-saving measures.

“I am very proud of every agency member. All officers and support staff of both Bureaus make a difference in the lives of the people of Morris County. They are often examples of how to lead while working alongside one another for good, always without judgment,” Gannon said.

The awards presented are categorized by operational Bureau:


Honorable Service Medal

Sheriffs Officer Brian Weber
Sheriffs Officer Erik Williams

On May 02, 2023 SO Williams and Sl Weber encountered an elderly female who got off at the wrong train station and had no way home. This woman lived too far to transport, and she had no money. SO Williams and Sl Weber exhausted every possible option to assist her in getting home. Ultimately, SO Williams and Sl Weber reviewed the train schedule and were able to assist this woman in getting on the proper trains, with the proper transitions in order to get her home. SO Williams also paid for the woman’s train ticket out of his own pocket because she did not have enough money to pay for it herself and had no other means of payment. SO Williams and SJ Weber stood by until the train arrived, and she got on it safely. SO Williams also spoke to NJ Transit staff and explained the situation to them to ensure she was assisted in making the proper transitions. SO Williams and SJ Weber went above and beyond in helping this 74 year old woman get home Jat at night in an unfamiliar place. Both SO Williams and Sl Weber demonstrated the willingness and intelligence to help this woman in a time of need and represented the agency with the utmost integrity and exemplary character.

Sergeant Kyle Koster
Detective Deanna Gardner
Sheriffs Officer Erik Williams

On Tuesday, July 18th 2023, at approximately 2003 hours, Sgt. K. Koster and SO Williams responded to assist the New Jersey State Police for a missing person possibly in the water on Marine 2. They were met by Det. Gardner on Marine 4, who observed what she believed to be the victim submerged in the water. At this time, Sgt. K. Koster, SO Williams, Det Gardner along with 2 Members of the New Jersey state police Marine unit were able confirm it was the victim and recovered him, unfortunately deceased. They utilized Marine 4 and removed the victim to a nearby dock.

Citizen Service Medal

Jon-Erik Randazzo

On July 27th, while Hope One was posted at the Trinity Soup Kitchen at 123 E. Blackwell Street in Dover an individual overdosed. Hope One team members Erica Valvano, Jon-Erik Randazzo (CARES) and Darrin Redding (CARES) quickly assisted. EMS was requested to respond, and Jon-Erik Randazzo deployed four (4) Hope One lifesaving Narcan sprays. The individual recovered and unfortunately refused any medical attention on scene but was stabilized and provided with a box of Narcan.

Meritorious Service Medal

Sergeant Casey Slinger
Detective David Marshall
Detective Mark Slinger

On 19 February 2023, at approximately 2227 hours, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Was requested to assist the Wharton Police Department with locating an individual involved in a physical domestic abuse incident. The individual fled on foot and was known to have an extensive criminal history to include possession of a handgun. Det. Slinger, Det. Marshall, and Sgt Slinger were able to track, locate, and take the actor into custody utilizing K9 Zara. The efforts of Det. Slinger and K9 Zara, Det. Marshall, and Sgt. Slinger reflects great credit upon themselves, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division, and the Sheriffs K9 Unit.

Detective Travis Dean

On Monday, 23 May 20231 Detective Dean responded to Denville to assist with a suspicious activity investigation. An individual in crisis parked his vehicle at his girlfriend’s residence, located at 56 Riverside Drive East, and attempted to take his own life. Responding officers arrived to render aid and observed a suspicious Item, detecting a strong odor of gasoline in the vehicle upon arrival, Detective Dean determined the device to be a homemade flamethrower, which he quickly mitigated.

As Denville Officers spoke with the individual’s family at 5 Sterns Terrace, they detected a strong odor of natural gas in the residence. Denville Fire Department arrived as well as Natural Gas employees. Once the gas was shut off, the residence needed to be properly ventilated. The Denville Fire Department gas meters detected unsafe levels of natural gas. Due to the discovery of the homemade flamethrower, the Fire Department requested a Bomb Technician to conduct a search for other hazardous items while the residence was vented.

Detective Dean donned the proper PPE and took charge of the search/ventilation team. After providing clear instructions, he led the team into an extremely hazardous condition, The team found that the furnace was tampered with, causing the gas leak. Despite locating additional suspicious items, Detective Dean was able to provide a clear path and the residence was successfully ventilated, A secondary sweep was conducted, identifying the suspicious items as non-threatening.

Exceptional Duty Medal

Detective Captain Walter Rawa

During the Axon Taser Master Instructor Course (May 1 – 5, 2023) in Charlotte, NC, Det./Cpt. Rawa was selected as the top recertification student in the Delta Team (Team 1) Cohort. Det./Cpt. Rawa’s performance was exemplary and brought great credit upon himself and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office.

Detective Rosemary Brown

Detective Rosemary Brown is currently the Cold Case Task Force. Through a collaborative effort with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, the New Jersey State Pollee Laboratory, and municipal detectives, Detective Brown assisted with Investigating a Morris County cold case. This decades old case has weighed heavily on the minds of generations of detectives. Detective Brown was integral in handling the fragile DNA evidence and ensuring Its Integrity. This ultimately led detectives to identify a suspect this year. This case is currently ongoing.

Detective Christopher Murarik

On Tuesday, 21 February 2023, Detective Murarik responded, as part of a mutual aid request, to 482 Houses Corner Road, located in Sparta, NJ, to assist with a burglary investigation. Responding Officers from Sparta, Sussex County, and New Jersey State Police observed several suspects in the area. A brief foot chase ensued, however, the suspects evaded capture by running into a large field surrounded by heavy brush.

Detective Murarik arrived on scene, assessed the situation, and developed a plan to deploy K9 Spike. His assessment led him to a large thicket, where he believed the suspects may have been using it to conceal themselves. Detective Murarik provided guidance to the assisting personnel, while simultaneously deploying K9 Spike to search the area. Although Detective Murarik encountered adverse terrain, he and K9 Spike were able to locate two of the three individuals that police were looking for.

Detective Murarik’s determination, initiative, and K9 handling skills, enabled partner police agencies to locate the Individuals suspected of being involved in criminal activity.

Life Saving Medal

Detective Sergeant Edward Zienowicz

On July 26, 2023 Detective Sergeant Edward Zienowicz was working on an Operation Helping Hand operation In Dover. Contact was made with an individual who was actively overdosing. D/Sgt. Zienowicz, along with another detective from the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, each provided a dose of Narcan. The individual was then transported to Saint Clare’s Hospital in Dover. Not only did this Individual survive and accept services from MCPIK, this Individual also requested services for a friend and both were admitted to a detox facility the following day. It is due to D/Sgt. Zienowicz’s swift actions that this individual is alive today.

Corporal Erica Valvano

On July 27th, while Hope One was posted at the Trinity Soup Kitchen at 123 E. Blackwell Street in Dover an individual overdosed. Hope One team members Erica Valvano, Jon-Erik Randazzo (CARES) and Darrin Redding (CARES) quickly assisted. EMS was requested to respond, and Jon-Erik Randazzo deployed four (4) Hope One lifesaving Narcan sprays. The individual recovered and unfortunately refused any medical attention on scene but was stabilized and provided with a box of Narcan.

Sheriff’s Officer Kayla Santos
Sheriff’s Officer Asher Rumfield
Sheriff’s Officer Jonathan Feinberg
Sheriff’s Officer Daun White
Sheriff’s Officer Yosslint Mendez
Sheriff’s Officer Dominick Nicastro
Sheriffs Officer Dominic Alheidt

The 7 individuals listed above were directly involved in performing life-saving CPR and emergency medical care for an individual who collapsed from a heart attack outside of the Morris County Superior Courthouse August 08, 2023. Upon arrival, the individual appeared grey in color with no pulse and was not breathing. These Officers began continuous CPR and utilized a defibrillator to administer shock to the person back into faint vital signs prior to turning him over to ALS/BLS for transport. It has been confirmed that the individual underwent emergency surgery to receive a stint and is in cardiac recovery.

Educational Achievement Medal

Detective Captain Aaron Tomasini – Doctorate degree achievement
Sheriff’s Officer Balkis Bernard – master’s degree achievement
Sheriff’s Officer Ashley Craig – bachelor’s degree achievement

Veteran Service Medal

Detective Lieutenant Robert Kranz

Det./Lt. Robert Kranz served in the United States Marine Corps on active duty from April 2002 through April 2006. During his time in the Marine Corps, Det./Lt. Kranz deployed to Iraq as an artilleryman in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Det./Lt. Kranz’s combat deployments required him to engage in armed conflict with enemy forces in order to defend Iraqi national forces. Det./Lt. Kranz was honorably discharged in April 2006.

National Defense Service Medal

Detective Lieutenant Robert Kranz

Peace Keeping Award

Detective Lieutenant Robert Kranz


Life Saving Medal

Officer Miguel Pardo

On 07/07/2023, Officer Pardo was assigned to the 2B housing unit/ a housing unit he works everyday while on duty. Preparing to conduct a lunch count/Officer Pardo noticed that Inmate Alexander Jacobs was absent from the line. Officer Pardo found this to be unusual due to the habitual nature of Inmate Jacobs being the first one in line every day for every meal. Having a “gut” feeling to check on Inmate Jacobs before issuing trays to the population/Officer Pardo took it upon himself to go to Inmate Jacobs’ cell to ensure he was okay. Once he arrived at Inmate Jacob’s cell/ Officer Pardo observed Inmate Jacobs attempting to commit suicide. Without hesitation/ Officer Pardo called a medical response/ entered Inmate Jacobs’s cell/ used his rescue tool to free an obstruction from Inmate Jacobs’s neck/ and began to render medical aid until the facility medical staff arrived.

If it wasn’t for Officer Pardo knowing the daily routines of his inmate population coupled with the fact to trust his “gut” and investigate his feeling that something wasn’t right/ this situation could have ended tragically.

Officer Kyle Wenzel

While conducting a tour of his housing unit. Officer Wenzel was alerted to a cell by another inmate who informed Officer Wenzel that the inmate did not look well. As he approached the cell, he observed an inmate attempting to hang himself. Without hesitation. Officer Wenzel breached the door, entered the cell and used his rescue tool to cut the inmate down. Officer Wenzel then provided aid to the inmate until medical personnel arrived and took over the scene.

Officer Francesco Manna
Officer Richard Fahy

Officers Manna and Fahy responded to a medical response call of an inmate in his cell appearing unresponsive. After an initial assessment was conducted, it was determined that the inmate was suffering from an apparent drug overdose. Communication between these two Officers, led to Officer Fahy knowing that Narcan needed to be administered and Officer Manna conducted sternum rubs and proceeded to assess the inmate while providing first aid until the inmate eventually became alert and responsive. If it wasn’t for these two Officers reverting back to their training, remaining calm but proactive, this situation could have ended differently.

Unit Citation Medal

Edwin Santana
Lieutenant William Schwarick
Detective Corporal Michael Molde
Corporal Nicole Levendusky
Officer Joshua Acevedo

The STG Unit comprised of Edwin Santana/ Lt. Schwarick/Cpl. Molde/ Cpl. Levendusky/ and Officer Acevedo are intricate in staying up to date with the ever-evolving gang activity not just in Morris County but nationwide. The information gathered on facility shakedowns/ interviews with suspected gang members/ and intel received through investigations are a crucial part of what makes this unit effective. Their knowledge is second to none/ which is why the training seminars bearing the names of this unit are always well attended. This unit takes pride in their job and is always willing to thoroughly explain what a tattoo/ artwork/ literature/ or a simple saying/slang means in terms of STG identification. Gangs are growing and evolving every day and keeping up with this evolution is a lot of work/ but this group seems to always make it work and then takes the opportunity to share it with their peers in order to strengthen the knowledge of not only this department/ but all departments
across the country.

Officer Kevin Johnson
Officer Gina Cali
Mike Dunleavy
Kenneth Palmisano
Reverend Herman Scott

The Hope Wing personnel have worked for the last few years establishing effective guidelines in order to overcome addiction. Officers Johnson and Call along with Mike Dunleavy, Ken Palmisano, and Reverend Scott create a team that has found success in their practice all while not sacrificing order or security to our facility. All five individuals take pride in their job and are always willing to go the extra mile to help somebody receive treatment or just educate themselves on addiction.

Honorable Service Medal

Officer Justin Sudol

On 09/19/2023, Officer Sudol was conducting a meal relief when he was notified that a High Risk/Ad Seg Inmate needed to be escorted from the MCU which houses disciplinary inmates to Intake for a visit. As Officer Sudol entered the cell, he ordered the inmate to sit on his hands to which he initially complied. As Officer Sudol approached the inmate to place him in handcuffs in order to be escorted to intake, the inmate stood from his bunk striking Officer Sudol on the left side of his face. A UOF ensued and the inmate was brought into custody by staff including an injured Officer Sudol. Officer Sudol did not retreat and “stayed in the fight” until the inmate was brought into custody and the scene was safe and secure.

Corporal Dawn Simpson

On 10/07/2022, Cpl. Simpson was assigned to conduct a transport detail to bring a high risk/mentally ill inmate to a medical appointment outside of the facility. When Cpl. Simpson entered the cell of the inmate/ she applied handcuffs to the seated inmate without issue, but without warning and to the surprise of Cpl. Simpson, the inmate spit in her facial area and proceeded to kick her in her chest/ lower abdomen, and torso area. A UOF ensued/ and additional staff responded/ but until then, Cpl. Simpson took it upon herself to subdue the inmate until responding staff arrived on scene. Once additional staff arrived, Cpl. Simpson was removed from the scene and other Officers took over although most of their work was already completed by Cpl. Simpson.

Officer Jennifer Demarest

Officer Demarest was escorting an inmate to video court from the 2MCU housing unit. This inmate had a history of assaults on staff and many disciplinary issues while housed within our facility. As this escort was being conducted, the inmate turned and spit in the face of Officer Demarest. The inmate then attempted to further assault Officer Demarest but without hesitation, Officer Demarest engaged the combative inmate and deployed the appropriate force to bring this inmate into custody. By the time the team arrived, the inmate was already placed in restraints. Despite being assaulted, Officer Demarest did not retreat. She took it upon herself to bring a combative inmate into custody despite being assaulted.

Officer Richard Fahy

On 12/13/2023/ Officer Fahy was returning an inmate to his cell at the conclusion of the inmate’s recreation time. This inmate had a history of disciplinary issues and has threatened many times to cause harm to staff. While in his cell/ Officer Fahy had the inmate sit on his bunk in order to remove his handcuffs and shackles. The shackles were removed without issue and once the handcuffs were removed the inmate verbally stated that he wanted to have an altercation with Officer Fahy. He stood from his bunk unexpectedly and struck Officer Fahy with a punch to his left temple followed by a punch to his right eye. A body alarm was activated/ and Officer Fahy deployed O.C. to the facial area of the inmate but the inmate continued to try and punch Officer Fahy. Officer Fahy engaged the inmate and fought off the inmate until additional staff arrived at the scene. Once responding staff arrived the inmate was restrained and eventually secured. Although Officer Fahy sustained injury/ it never occurred to him to retreat. He remained in the fight until the inmate was no longer a threat.

Officer Michael Lania

Officer Lania was escorting an inmate from the 3MCU rec deck back to his cell when the inmate without warning punched Officer Lania on the left side of his face. Without hesitation/ Officer Lania engaged the inmate in an attempt to subdue him. After a brief struggle / the efforts of Officer Lania were successful and accomplished with minimal injury to both the inmate and himself. This inmate had a history of assaults on both the inmate population and staff. Due to Officer Lania not hesitating to engage with the combative inmate, injury to other staff members were nonexistent. Officer Lania put his own well-being aside for the betterment of his fellow Officers.

Officer John Boeren

Officer Boeren was assigned to work at the 3 Delta housing unit which houses all types of classifications within our facility. Officer Boeren began conducting his formal count of his unit and arrived at a cell which housed an inmate with a disciplinary history specifically for assaulting staff. When Officer Boeren breached the cell to account for the inmate/ the inmate charged Officer Boeren pushing his way out of the cell. The inmate began to strike Officer Boeren repeatedly. Officer Boeren activated his body alarm and attempted to restrain the combative inmate. During this event, Officer Boeren sustained injuries that eventually required further medical care/ but even though he was injured, he attempted to complete is law enforcement objective until responding staff

Corporal Manuel Flores

On February 03, 2023, Cpl. Flores was part of a team conducting the weekly tier shakedown of the MCU unit which houses the Disciplinary and Administrative segregation inmates within Morris County Correctional Facility. At the conclusion of the cell search for an inmate with a lengthy disciplinary history/ Cpl. Flores was conducting the escort of said inmate back into his cell. It was at this time that the inmate threw a punch at Cpl. Flores striking him in his face thus initiating a UOF. Even though Cpl. Flores was struck/ he never retreated and transitioned to the next law enforcement objective which was to gain control of the combative inmate and place him into restraints. Cpl. Flores was successful in restraining the inmate. Cpl. Flores put the safety of his fellow Officers and the facility before his own by engaging the combative inmate after being injured. Cpl. Flores did receive medical treatment, but not before he knew the scene and his fellow Officers were safe.

Officer Delmy Zelaya

On 01/19/2023, Officer Zelaya was collecting meal trays through the food port upon completion of feedings on the 3MCU housing unit. While collecting the tray from one of the problematic inmates on that unit, the inmate reached his arm through the port and took control of her shirt near her arm and refused to relinquish his grip. Officer Zelaya fought herself away from his grasp/ but he again grabbed her torso area. She again fought herself away and had the instinct to secure the food port and did so successfully even though the inmate continued to grab her. Officer Zelaya understood that to secure the food port meant that the scene would be safe, but she had to put herself into harm’s way to do so. Officer Zelaya sacrificed her own safety to secure the scene for responding staff.

Citizen Service Medal

Doctor Rolando Robleza
Jennifer Zuber
Nurse Elizabeth Law
Nurse Jeannette Paszko
Nurse Maria Laddonia

On 07/07/2023, a medical response was called for an inmate who was in medical duress due to a suicide attempt. Upon arrival to the scene, medical staff comprised of Dr. Robleza/ Jennifer Zuber, Nurse Law, Nurse Paszko, and Nurse Lacidonia, took control of the scene and began to administer crucial medical care for an Inmate with serious self-inflicted wounds. With their medical expertise coupled with their “working as a team approach”, the inmate was stable and alert when the paramedics arrived. Without the selfless actions of the medical staff, this situation may not have ended the way it did. The inmate is recovering from this incident currently and the outlook on this inmate is positive. This would not have been the case without these individuals standing up here today.

Educational Achievement Medal

Sergeant Nicolas Monaco

Sgt. Monaco has recently received his master’s degree in administrative science from FDU with a 4.0 GPA.

Meritorious Service Medal

Officer Alyssa Jodexnis

After completing a double shift, Officer Alyssa Jodexnis was driving home when she noticed smoke filling a nearby street. Soon after, she noticed flames coming from a window of an apartment building and two people standing on the sidewalk. She immediately stopped her car and asked the two individuals if there were other people inside. Officer Jodexnis observed the individuals to be disoriented and their answer did not bring clarity to her question. Officer Jodexnis called 9-1-1 and entered the building to start evacuating the individuals inside and escorted them to safety. As the police arrived, she exchanged information and continued to assist them in evacuating the nearby buildings. Although she is extremely humble about her actions and has stated to me many times that she was just doing what she signed up for/ her actions did not go unnoticed. I commend her bravery and applaud her selfless act.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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