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West Orange Police Officers Recognized at Essex County Valor Awards

Cynthia Cumming

Thursday, May 8, 2014 • 2:00pm

WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange Police Officers Keith Boryeskne and Jerome Pleasants were honored as Public Safety Valor Award Recipients at the 48th Annual 200 Club of Essex County ceremony Wednesday at Mayfair Farms.

Det. Boryeskne and Officer Pleasants, along with other police officers, firefighters and state troopers from across Essex County, received recognition for lifesaving and life preserving efforts during 2013. The 200 Club of Essex County was established by business leaders to “help provide for dependents of police and firefighters in Essex County and state troopers in New Jersey who lose their lives in the line of duty.” The organization also recognizes the efforts of those that continually put their lives on the line to protect others.

On March 2, 2013, Boreyeskne and Pleasants rescued an elderly female victim and her unconscious developmentally disabled son from their home at 1480 Pleasant Valley Way. Heavy smoke was coming from the home and both officers, without benefit of protective gear or a charged hose line, twice entered the home to remove the two inhabitants.

According to Officer Pleasants, a 19-year veteran of the WOPD, he and Boryeskne, a 16-year veteran, were the first to respond and enter the residence. “I saw smoke and I got down low,” said Pleasants. “My brother Devon is a firefighter with the East Orange Fire Department and I knew what to do.”

Both he and Boryeskne were treated for mild smoke inhalation. The elderly woman and her son, also brought to St. Barnabas Hospital, made full recoveries.

West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi, Police Chief James Abbott, Deputy Police Chiefs Mike Corcoran and John Buoye, and Fire Chief Peter Smeraldo, attended to show their support for the officers.

“Officer Pleasants and Detective Boryeskne are deserving of this prestigious award for their exceptional heroism and commitment to their profession,” Abbott said.

Hundreds of family members, friends, fellow officers and dignitaries turned out to honor the awardees who received medals and a $1,000 stipend.  Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura introduced the recipients.  Honorable Stephen Sweeney, New Jersey Senate President, was the keynote speaker, and Senator Richard Codey, Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, and Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray, were also present.  Murray recognized the efforts of the Major Crimes Homicide Task Force, who helped to apprehend the suspects in the Short Hills Mall shooting and a homicide in Newark on Christmas Day that took the lives of several teens.

The John P. McLaughlin Award was posthumously awarded Louis R. Dell’Ermo and a Special Commendation Service Award was presented to Firefighter Frank Bellina.

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