One resourceful Middletown Police officer is credited with acquiring $424,453 worth surplus military equipment for Police Department through the Department of Defense’s Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO), just in time to save lives during Hurricane Sandy.
Sgt. First Class William Colangelo researched and applied for the program that bestowed Middletown PD with 5 Humvees, two cargo trucks, one generator, 2 water pumps, 8 cameras, a storage unit, and more than than 40 computers and laptops at no charge.
"We got a lot of good, brand new equipment because the government is de-escalating the war, and they are turning over the equipment to law enforcement, to make use of it, and we are going to make good use of it," said Chief Robert Oches. "We got it none too soon -- that we got it before that hurricane. Every piece that we got we used. It was amazing. But it was all him [Colangelo], looking for this stuff online."
At the Township Committee meeting Tuesday, Colangelo was thanked by Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger and given a certificate for "Employee of the Month for December 2012" and a round of applause.
Colangelo was asked to tell the story of how he commanded the new Humvee to ferry members of the Office of Emergency Management and the Police Auxiliary to rescue 17 residents trapped in their flooding homes in Port Monmouth's Shoal Harbor and a residence at Willow Street, near Compton Creek, at the height of Hurricane Sandy, on Oct. 29. (See video.)
"All's I did was drive the truck," he said. "The credit goes to the OEM people and the auxiliary police."
Colangelo is a 26-year veteran of the force who serves as the department's liaison to the police auxiliaries and the domestic violence response team among other groups. He also runs the field training program for new police recruits and researches grants.