HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – In the early morning hours on June 21, 2018, Hamilton Township Police Officer Lawrence Murray responded to the Hamilton Mall for a report of a female subject who had gained access into the building. He located, and made contact, with the woman.

During the encounter he noticed that her behavior was erratic. Due to his training and experience, he also observed that she positioned her body in a manner as if she was trying to hide something. Officer Murray realized that she was attempting to conceal a firearm and immediately immobilized her. She was resisting arrest, so Officer Murray summoned volunteer firefighter Ryan Clark, who was on the scene and nearby, to assist him.

Clark was able to assist Officer Murray while he placed handcuffs on the female and retrieved the loaded .22 caliber handgun from her waistband.

For their efforts, both Clark and Murray were recognized, along with dozens of fellow officers, dispatchers and community members and businesses, at the annual Township of Hamilton Police Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 30 at Township Hall.

For their efforts, Officer Murray received a Meritorious Service Award and Clark earned a Certificate of Appreciation.

The event was a melancholy one for Police Chief Stacy Tappeiner, as his announced retirement had him leaving his post the following day. Following a presentation of a proclamation by members of the governing body recognizing his 32 years of service in the township, Tappeiner offered comments.

“It’s been a privilege to serve as your chief,” he said. “Tonight was an example of the work you do. I am especially proud of the community-police relationship that has been created.”

Tappeiner joined the force in 1987 and was promoted to detective in 1992, sergeant-patrol squad supervisor in 1999, detective sergeant in 2001 and lieutenant in 2003. He assumed his present position in 2010.

In addition to Murray, those earning Meritorious Service Awards included Sergeant Christopher Robell and Officers Erik DiMeo and Christen Mandela.

Those receiving Exceptional Service Awards were Sergeants Timothy Graczyk, Nicole Nelson, Patrick Muller, Michael Schnurr and Detective Christine Armitage-Cooker. Officers receiving the award were Ryan Brady, Craig Clayton, Brendan Hanley, James Jacobi, Christen Mandela, Brian Miller, Nicole Odell, Keone Osby, Frank Schalek, Michael Tantum, Erich Thumhart, Joseph Wilsbach, Kevin Zippilli and Cory Silvio with K9 Argos.

Receiving Certificates of Appreciation were Sergeants Patrick Muller, Nicole Nelson, Michael Schnurr, Michael Virga and Christopher Robell with K9 Kota.

Also, Detectives Christine Armitage-Cooker, Christopher Rizzo, Michael Robison and Kristi Ware, Dispatchers Russell Ayers, Alane Dunn, Rosemarie Hewitt, Adrienne Ohnemuller, Nicole Potenski, Hilda Saia and Mark Sciore and Officers Todd Bauerband, Ryan Brady, Eric Bittmann, Craig Clayton, Erik DiMeo, Brendan Hanley, William Howze, James Jacobi, Christen Mandela, William McElrea, Brian Miller, Lawrence Murray, Servando Pahang, Leo Rudolph, Jason Sexton, Gerhard Thoresen, Gregory Van Gilder, Joseph Wilsbach and Kevin Zippilli.

Civilian Robert Dennis, Jr. also received a Certificate of Appreciation for reuniting a missing autistic 18-year-old male with his parents.

Certificates of Appreciation were also awarded to Bonnie Horner of the George Hess Education Complex, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Hometown Fitness, PetSmart, Target Department Store and Walmart Department Store for their continued support of the department’s K9 unit.

Local property managers Marge Wilson representing Victoria Crossing, Meadowbrook and Eaglesmere, Kristen Klein of The Fairways, Kari Clemente of the Woodlands and Mark Williams from Oakcrest Estates were recognized for regularly meeting with officers to address concerns in their communities.

The Lakewood Chapel was awarded for their donation of homemade baked goods to the officers while members of the Police Athletics League received a certificate for generously giving their time and expertise to serve the youth of the township.

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