Union County Sheriff’s Office K9 Caesar to Get Donation of Body Armor

Union County Sheriff’s Office K9 Caesar will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. K9 Caesar’s vest is sponsored by Dr. Julie Tropeano of Lincroft, NJ and will be embroidered with the sentiment “In memory of Mark Hratko”. Delivery is expected within eight to ten weeks.

K9 Caesar is a 2yr old German Shepard, who is certified in patrol and narcotics work and is partnered with Officer Nelson Agurto. Caesar became a member of the Union County Sheriff’s Office in May 2018, began his formal police training in July 2018 and successfully completed training with Officer Agurto in December 2018.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Search and Rescue Unit was formed in 1983 and has provided assistance to County and regional law enforcement agencies for over thirty-five years.  UCSO is home to a regional K9 training academy that has graduated nearly 1000 K9-handler teams in patrol, scent and explosives detection certification. The Unit provides services to all law enforcement agencies in Union County, is a member of the NJ Detect and Render Safe Task Force and regularly assists various Federal agencies in support of their law enforcement efforts.  The UCSO K9 Unit additionally served with distinction in the aftermath of the attacks on 9/11/01, searching at Ground Zero.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, MA whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 3,500 U.S. made, custom fitted, NIJ certified protective vests, in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a value of $6.9 million dollars.

The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.

The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950.00. Each vest has a value between $1,744 – $2,283 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. There is an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.


9th Annual Pistol Competition

Union County Freeholder Vice Chairman Alexander Mirabella and Freeholder Sergio Granados this morning joined Union County Sheriff Peter Corvelli in congratulating the winners of the Union County Sheriff’s Office 9th Annual Pistol Competition at the Sheriff’s range in Springfield. Officer Richard Brattole of the Union County Sheriff’s Office won first place. Sgt. Sean Dougherty of the Union County Police Department took second place. Lt. Carlo Caparruva of the Union County Sheriff’s Office took third place. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

Image may contain: 16 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor


11th Annual Union County Columbus Day Flag Raising

Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella and State Senator Nicholas P. Scutari today joined with members of the various chapters of UNICO District X in holding the 11th Annual Union County Columbus Day Flag Raising event today in Elizabeth. Mirabella and Scutari, the keynote, were among a card of speakers that included Union County Surrogate James LaCorte, Freeholder Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded, and Anthony Bengivenga, the UNICO District X Governor, which represents 8 chapters in Union County.

Bob Bengivenga, the President of Plainfields Unico, led the UNICO prayer. Sheriff Peter Corvelli led the Pledge of Allegiance and the posting of the colors, and Marie Oakie sang “God Bless America.” Others in attendance included Freeholder Sergio Granados, Freeholder Angel Estrada, County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi, Acting Prosecutor Lyndsay Ruotolo, Mountainside Mayor Paul Mirabelli, County Manager Ed Oatman, Deputy County Manager Amy Crisp Wagner, Elizabeth Board of Education members Nathalie Hernandez and Charlene Bathelu


Union County Hosts Networking Mixer for All Military Personnel

Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski and Freeholders Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded, Andrea Staten and Rebecca Williams joined Union County Deputy County Manager Amy Wagner, Union County Office of Veteran Services Coordinator Janna Williams (USAF), Union County Sheriff’s Captain George Kurz (USAF) and Michael Hrycak (LTC, USA, Ret.) at the 2nd Annual Union County Networking Mixer for all military veterans and active duty personnel, their families, and veterans’ service providers at the Clubhouse at Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth.

The event was coordinated through the Union County Office of Veteran Services UC-HERO program. For more information about services contact the Office of Veteran Services Coordinator Janna Williams by phone at 908-527-4918, or email at (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)


National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Union County Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski, Vice Chairman Alexander Mirabella and Freeholders Sergio Granados and Christopher Hudak joined Union County Sheriff Peter Corvelli, County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi, Union County Surrogate James LaCorte, Acting Prosecutor Lyndsay Ruotolo and Union County Manager Ed Oatman in welcoming Union County Undersheriff Amilcar Colon (SSgt. USMC Ret.) as the guest speaker at the Union County Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Remembrance Day ceremony in Elizabeth. Kenilworth VFW 2230 Commander Robert Jeans delivered the Invocation.

The annual event is sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders to honor and remember prisoners of war and those missing in action. The National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed each year on the third Friday of September.


Union County Sheriff’s Officers Join “Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation” Sandwich Drive

Union County Sheriff Peter Corelli, Undersheriffs Dennis Burke, Amilcar Colon and Jonathan Parham and dozens of Union County Sheriff’s Officers joined Assemblywoman Annette Quijano and local volunteers in making sandwiches for the needy as part of the Assemblywoman’s annual “Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation” food drive at St. Joseph’s Social Service Center in Elizabeth. The event is in partnership with the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless and the St. Joseph’s Social Service Center. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)


Sheriff’s Youth Academy tours Courthouse Complex

Union County Sheriff Peter Corvelli welcomes the cadets from this year’s Union County Sheriff’s Youth Academy class to the Union County Courthouse complex in Elizabeth. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)


The 2019 “My County” Poster Contest Winners

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi joined Union County Sheriff Peter Corvelli and Union County Surrogate James LaCorte in congratulating the top winners of the 2019 “My County” poster contest sponsored by the Union County Constitutional Officers.

The top four winners of the contest are:

  • 1st Place – Victoria A. Cardenas (Our Lady of Guadalupe Academy, Elizabeth)
  • 2nd Place – Mike Quinatoa (Ronald Regan Elem. School #30, Elizabeth)
  • 3rd Place – Madison Porter (St. Michael’s Elem. School, Cranford)
  • 4th Place –Ariana Armijos (John Battin School #4, Elizabeth) Not Pictured

More than 200 fourth grade students from schools throughout Union County entered the contest. Twelve winners in total will have their artwork featured in a poster calendar.

(Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)


Union County Sheriff’s Youth Academy Ready for 2019 Class – Program Opens in July for Students in Grades 7 to 12

Union County Sheriff Peter Corvelli is pleased to announce the 12th Annual Union County Sheriff’s Youth Academy is now accepting applications for its 2019 summer class.

The free program is designed to provide youths the opportunity to gain insight into the everyday functions and training of the variety of law enforcement agencies and emergency services. It operates similar to an actual police academy for teens interested in law enforcement.

“The Youth Academy aims to teach kids about law enforcement and it is a great first step for those interested in the field,” Sheriff Corvelli said.

The Sheriff’s Youth Academy is not a ‘boot camp’ for troubled youth. In order to enroll in the program, students must have a minimum GPA of 2.70 (B- average) and a one page letter of reference from a non-family member.

Also, all applicants must have their parents/guardians sign all waivers and obtain a medical release note from their physician.

The two-week program for middle school and high school students meets daily from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the John H. Stamler Police Academy in Scotch Plains.

The class for 7th and 8th graders runs July 8-12, 2019. The high school class for grades 9 through 12 will take place from July 15-26, 2019.

During the program, the teens engage in a physical training regime, team building exercises, and attend lectures on subjects such as crime scene investigations and motor vehicle stops. They also receive visits from representatives from several branches of the military, New Jersey State Police NJ State Police, FBI and the ATF.

The Youth Academy also involves visiting various Sheriff’s Office operations around the county including the K-9 Search and Rescue Unit, the Fugitive Unit and Courthouse Complex Security.

Last year more than 100 students from across Union County graduated from the Sheriff’s Youth Academy.

Applications may be obtained by emailing Sergeant Tara Halpin at or Officer Victoria Smith at Applications can also be downloaded at

Completed applications should be sent to the attention of: S/O Tara Halpin, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Administration Building, 1st Floor, 10 Elizabethtown Plaza, Elizabeth, NJ 07207.


Union County Sheriff’s Office Tree of Hope Winter Coat Donation Drive

Union County Sheriff Peter Corvelli joined Sheriff’s Sgt. Tara Halpin, Det. Luis Alfaro and Ofc. Keith Rhyner, on behalf of the Sheriff’ Office Tree of Hope charity, in donating coats to Rev. Orlando Sanchez and Roberto Semiday of the Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal M.I Church of Carteret. Union County employees donated more than 100 coats to the Tree of Hope to be distributed to charities helping those in need in Union County. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)