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Ridgewood, Glen Rock officers deserve praise for disarming emotionally troubled man with knife

A PUBLISHER WRITES: No one organizes a rally or a march when police resolve a deadly threat without anyone getting hurt, so it was nice to see an awards ceremony last night for a quartet of Ridgewood police officers and a Glen Rock cop working as an EMT who swiftly and safely disarmed and subdued a troubled 55-year-old man who pulled a knife on them.

Officers were called to the Chestnut Street home of James Brown on Nov. 18 by a maintenance worker who was having a dispute with him.

Brown cooperated at first, agreeing to go to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, they said.

Then he suddenly pulled a weapon the size of a Swiss Army knife.

Acting quickly, the group snatched the knife and subdued him. Brown, who was taken to Bergen Regional Medical Center, was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and weapons offenses.

“It’s a testament to the caliber of officers we have and the training they receive,” Ridgewood Police Chief John Ward ( above, second from left ) told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

The village Combat Cross recipients:

Ridgewood Sgt. Brian Pullman
Ridgewood Detective Peter Youngberg
Ridgewood Officer Rosario Vaccarella
Ridgewood Officer Raymond Tarino
Glen Rock Officer Murray Yang

Vaccarella and Tarino were cut, though not severely, as they and their colleagues risked their own personal safety to quell the threat without violence, Detective Lt. Forest A. Lyons noted.

Jerry DeMarco

Courts have held that the use of deadly force is authorized in situations even less dangerous than the one these officers faced.

For nearly 30 years, the court-approved standard distance at which someone holding a knife is deemed a potential deadly threat is 21 feet.

In other words: In the time it takes an officer to recognize that someone is charging him with an “edged” weapon, pull his service weapon and fire two rounds at center mass, the average assailant can cover a distance of 21 feet (“charging” being the operative word here).

Know how fast that is in real time?

The quickest can make it in 1.27 seconds.

Even lumberers can cover the distance in 2½ seconds.

Brown was much, much closer. And he wasn’t standing still.

The “reasonable standard” established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor clearly would have protected these officers had they made a different choice.

That they didn’t is the headline here.

As Lyons noted: “This was an extremely dangerous incident that was handled exceptionally well by all involved. These officers put their own personal safety at risk to restrain a party that was extremely disturbed and hostile toward all parties present.

“Their actions were indicative of their excellent abilities as police officers and their high regard for all members of the public’s safety,” the lieutenant wrote, in recommending all four for the Combat Cross.

How about we have a demonstration of our gratitude for the work these and other officers do every day? Maybe enough of us can create a crowd so large that we block traffic.

We could do it monthly — or even weekly.

Shoot — we get enough people, we can do it every day.

Would make a great message for today’s youth and inject some much-needed balance into this runaway distorted-truths PR campaign against law enforcement.

While we’re at it, we can make a suggestion to those who would bash our protectors — be they newspaper types, misguided college students or the opportunists whose lives are so miserable that they try to tear down our most valued institutions.

Next time their kid’s head is stuck in a fence or they find their money missing — or, better yet, when they hear a noise downstairs in the middle of the night — don’t dial 911. Call a newspaper reporter or editor instead. Call Larry Hamm and his People’s Organization for Progress. Call Al Sharpton.

Then let me know how that works out.

PHOTO: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Senior Correspondent Boyd A. Loving / L to R:  Glen Rock Police Chief Frederick Stahman, Ridgewood Police Chief John Ward, Ridgewood Mayor Paul Aronsohn, Ridgewood PD Sergeant Brian Pullman, Detective Peter Youngberg, Officer Raymond Tarino, Glen Rock PD Patrol Officer Murray Yang


A PUBLISHER WRITES: A media report this weekend that the state attorney general has “launched” an investigation into the September shooting of an ex-con who tried to ram police with a stolen SUV in Rutherford after crashing during a chase is somewhat disingenuous. READ MORE….

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