Valor Award For SWAT Team Members
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato has announced the selection of the Ocean County Regional SWAT Team North Platoon by the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association to receive this year’s coveted Gold Medal of Valor Award. The team will be recognized for its outstanding police work at the annual Valor Awards Banquet, which will be held at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City on Saturday, November 23. The team was selected for its role in the apprehension of Louis Cataldo, the owner of the Brielle Sand Bar Restaurant who was accused of trying to kill his manager on June 18, 2013. Cataldo’s apprehension came after a five-hour standoff at his Point Pleasant residence, culminating with Cataldo being taken safely into custody despite firing his weapon.
At approximately 2:00 pm on June 18, 2013 the Ocean County Regional SWAT Team North Platoon responded to a call at the Bay Harbor, Point Pleasant home of Louis Cataldo who was wanted in an attempted homicide. Although the Team had executed a search warrant in Berkeley just hours before, Sheriff’s Officer Danny Kuhn, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Det. John Dotto and Det. Brad Frank, and Manchester Ptl. Christopher Walaszek didn’t hesitate to respond when called for duty. The above officers held numerous posts during the slow process of securing the above address, eventually being assigned to the Crisis Entry Team. As the response unfolded, Cataldo came out of a second floor bedroom in which negotiations began and continued for the next four hours. Members of the Crisis Entry Team, now within close proximity of Cataldo, were instructed to take the subject into custody should the opportunity arise.
The official submission to the New Jersey PBA cites that Sheriff’s Officer Danny Kuhn (379), Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Dets. John Dotto and Brad Frank (171), and Manchester Ptl. Christopher Walaszek (246) performed their duties in an exemplary and highly professional manner. While performing their duties on a highly trained SWAT Team, the named Officers and Detectives put themselves in harm’s way to bring Louis Cataldo to justice.
Coronato said “it was the above team members’ dedication and tenacious work ethic that set an outstanding example for fellow officers to follow. Their devotion to duty and tireless effort reflect great credit upon themselves, the Ocean County Regional SWAT Team, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Manchester Police Department.”