IMG_1142.jpg

Spotlight 200

Officer Adam Sosnowski

“I remember looking at the gun thinking, ‘Wow, that’s real.’ It’s amazing how your training kicks in.”

Manalapan Township Police Department K-9 Officer Adam Sosnowski recounts what happened during his shift one night in August 2018. A call came in about an allegedly suicidal man, a person Officer Sosnowski knew from prior incidents. In fact, Officer Sosnowski had been at a call earlier when the same man was transported to the hospital for an evaluation.

Officer Sosnowski describes what happened when he went up to the house and convinced the man to come outside: “He came out and appeared agitated, but the next thing you know, he reaches into his front pocket and pulls a handgun out.”

Officer Sosnowski believes the man pointed the gun at him because he wanted to be shot and killed, but luckily, thanks to Sosnowski’s quick actions and training, a “suicide by cop” scenario was avoided.

Sosnowski’s police chief, Michael Fountain, says that a physical struggle ensued between Sosnowski and the man, but his officer managed to free the firearm from the man’s hand and subdue and handcuff him. Sosnowski says the man indicated that he wanted the officer to shoot him.

Chief Fountain says, “Officer Sosnowski responded to what he thought was a deadly force situation with courage and the will to win.” For these heroic actions, Officer Sosnowski is being award the Valor Award by the 200 Club of Monmouth County on June 7, 2019. Valor Awards are the highest award given out by the Club to first responders who go above and beyond the call of duty, often putting their own lives in jeopardy to save the life of another.

“Well, my whole job is what-ifs. Almost every call you are thinking what if, what if, what if. You try to prepare yourself before the actual situation happens. Like every call you get, you are driving going through scenarios, this could happen, that could happen, just kinda trying to prepare yourself. I guess it may have ran through my head. I never thought that exact thing would happen at that moment. I’m just glad my past training kicked in. I’m just glad. It could have went way different, you are right. If there was more distance between us, it may have went differently. I'm glad it worked out the way it did, and I was as close as I was to him… ‘cause he’s alive now and not hurt.”

Officer Sosnowski added, “I am definitely not a hero. There are definitely many other heroes in the world. I just think it was the right circumstances at the right time, with the right person. Thank God I had the proper training.”

When asked how he felt about being honored with the Valor Award, he said, “Anything pro-law enforcement is amazing. And, the 200 Club is definitely the top of the top in New Jersey, and it truly is an honor to even be recognized by them.”

 

Spotlight 200

Neptune Township Police Officer Dominique Russo

She heard a loud pop and recognized the sound. Neptune Township Police Officer Dominique Russo immediately turned her patrol car around and spotted a group of men--- one of them was carrying a gun. He took off running, and she followed him in her car. Then, he crossed her car and the two made eye contact. The gun was still in clear sight. “I thought to myself, is this really happening…is this really in front of me right now,” Officer Russo said when interviewed by the 200 Club of Monmouth County.

Officer Russo said her instincts kicked in, and she called for backup. The man darted into a yard, and she followed him on foot. The 24-year-old added, “To be honest, you don’t think about the danger in the moment, all I saw was a guy holding a gun, and all I thought was I have to get that gun off the street.”

The officer, who measures in at five-foot-one inch, single-handedly got the suspect, who is five-foot-ten inches tall, to the ground and handcuffed him. The gun was recovered where he tossed it during the pursuit. It was a .45 caliber, and it was found cocked and loaded. Turns out that he was a known gang member with an extensive criminal history. He has since been convicted of that 2017 crime.  

The 200 Club of Monmouth County honored Officer Russo last year with a 2018 Valor Award for her bravery and for serving with distinction. “I’m just so happy I was able to get the gun off the street, because if he was trying to hurt someone, he wasn’t able to succeed,” stated Officer Russo.

Officer Russo says she does not consider herself a hero but is honored to be recognized by the 200 Club of Monmouth County. “I’m just doing what I signed up for, but honestly, we (police) go through so much negativity, that going through this one positive and actually being recognized means a lot. The news only focuses on the bad. I rarely see the good, and there is so much good that police do every day. Thank you for this.”