Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler and Sheriff’s Officer of the Year Carmen Cruz.

Mercer County Sheriff’s Officer Carmen Gloria Cruz has been named the 2018 Officer of the Year.

The Officer of the Year award is given to a well-rounded officer who has exceeded the duty requirements expected of their position and has demonstrated a distinct and positive pattern of service and professional achievement.

Cruz, a five-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, is assigned to the Courts Division. In addition to providing security for the Judiciary, she administers and processes, the movement, and the securing of inmates and those awaiting trial. Her chief role is to maintain a safe and secure courthouse environment, with no major incidents under her watch.

Cruz, a Trenton native, and graduated from the Mercer County Police Academy in 2014. She has completed extensive coursework in physical training for law enforcement and first responder training. She was selected by her peers for this prominent award.

“Despite her short time in law enforcement, officer Cruz has quickly become a seasoned Sheriff’s Officer with an impressive dedication to duty and a commendable record,” Sheriff Jack Kemler said.

Kemler also presented Medal of Honor Awards and Meritorious Service Awards: Three Medals of Honor were awarded to detectives William Perez, Joseph Tuccillo, and Steven Niederer for their bravery and valor while under imminent danger. This award was conveyed for their actions when they were met with gunfire on the morning of May 10, 2017, when they attempted to serve an arrest warrant related to a Megan’s Law offense, on Centre Street, Trenton.

Each officer sustained gunshot injuries at the scene and a deadly standoff ensued. All three detectives currently work out of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Unit and are assigned to the United States Marshals Service NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force.

“Each detective displayed bravery and heroism in the face of deadly gunfire,” said Kemler. “Thankfully, all three returned home to their families that night.”

Meritorious Service Awards were given to four sheriff’s officers for having distinguished themselves with courageous acts and rapid response in the line of duty. Officers George Dzurkoc III and John Lyle of the Sherriff’s Patrol Unit, for seizing a loaded 9 mm handgun, multiple ammunition clips, and a tactical device from a 16 year-old juvenile in August, 2017. In addition, to officers Joseph DiLissio and Joel Adams of the Sheriff’s Courts Unit for their quick action to quell a vicious act in the Mercer County Courthouse, in which a criminal defendant suddenly and violently struck their attorney in June, 2017.

Years of Service Awards were also presented to officers with 5, 10, 15, and 20 years of departmental service and those who served in the United States military.

Sheriff Jack Kemler thanked each individual officer for his or her dedication to the people of Mercer County. A committee of peers nominated and selected the award recipients. The awards presentation took place June 8 at the Mercer County Civil Courthouse.