River Vale police specialists honored

River Vale Sgt. Chris Bulger kept his eyes peeled after hearing a report that a hit-and-run driver who killed a pedestrian on the highway leading to the Pulaski Skyway in Jersey City might be headed his way. Moments later, an SUV with a smashed headlight came by. Bulger pulled the driver over, smelled alcohol on his breath and began asking questions.

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

River Vale Police Officer Chris Bulger, with Chief Michael McCann

“Holy s—! I killed that guy?” Bulger said 23-year-old John Dineen told him. The sergeant arrested Dineen, who was on his way home to Harrington Park but instead was returned to Jersey City to face charges.

Had Bulger not put himself in the right place at the right time “there would likely be no arrest in this case or closure for the family of the victim, Jermaine Forrester,” said River Vale Police Chief Michael McCann. “This was just tremendous police work by an outstanding police officer.”

As a result, the 12-year department veteran this weekend received an award in Paramus from the Northern New Jersey Chapter of ASIS International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to safety and security. Bulger can add the honor to several he’s received during his career from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Bulger’s “Award of Valor,” at the group’s 18th Annual Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony, wasn’t the only honor bestowed on a River Vale police officer on Saturday.

Detective Sgt. John DeVoe received the “Exemplary School Safety Leadership Award” from the New Jersey Association of School Resource Officers at its 7th Annual New Jersey Statewide Conference on Youth Safety in Atlantic City.

Detective Sgt. John DeVoe, far right, with the NJASRO president, Det. Sgt. Timothy Gerity (of Saddle River), and Chief McCann

DeVoe is known among students, teachers and administrators in town for his outreach efforts, which make students feel safer by giving them a direct to police.

“In recognition of your exemplary leadership and commitment to increase communication and cooperation between law enforcement and Schools,” his plaque says. “Your efforts support a common goal of providing safe and secure environments where children can learn successfully.”

A separate honor could have gone this weekend to Chief McCann — who managed to attend BOTH events.

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