HOWELL – The township has a police chaplain program now, and also promoted and appointed officers, during a ceremony at town hall recently.
Howell Police Chief Andrew Kudrick called it a great honor to welcome the officers into their roles at the March 7 town council meeting, promoting and appointing two officers, and also announcing the township’s first ever police chaplaincy program.
The chief promoted Bernard “Bernie” Fowler to lieutenant, saying he is his right-hand man and an officer whom he shares a strong history with.
Chief Kudrick and Lt. Fowler both began their careers as police explorers in Howell and Rahway, competing against each other within the state. When Fowler came to the Howell Police Department in 2000, Kudrick was assigned as his field training officer, and the two drove around for three months in a Chevy Blazer with fellow K-9 Officer Blitz. According to the police chief, the training went the other way around.
Lt. Fowler quickly rose through the police ranks and excelled in the department’s Training Bureau, where he is responsible for new officers in the field training program, county instructor for the active shooter program, conducting firearms certifications for over 100 officers, handling equipment procurement and coordinating in-house officer training. He is also the tactical team leader for the Monmouth County Emergency Response Team.
“He is directly responsible for Howell officers being the most highly trained and skilled officers in the county,” said Chief Kudrick. “He’s my go-to officer—he gets it done and he gets it done to the highest level that I expect.”
Appointed to patrolman was Ryan Jackson, who has been with the Neptune City Police Department for the past three and a half years. Patrolman Jackson earned a degree in law and justice from Rowan University and began his law enforcement career doing parking enforcement for the Point Pleasant Police Department. He then paid his way through training at Monmouth Police Academy as part of the state’s highly competitive Alternate Route program.
“I always say Howell Police is the all-star team and we make our selections from the very best of all the police departments, and here’s another example of that here tonight,” said Chief Kudrick.
He was sworn into the department standing next to his father, a retired police chief from Eatontown, and his brother, a patrol officer with the Ocean Township Police Department.
Several chaplains from religious organizations across the township were also sworn in as part of the department’s first police chaplaincy program. As members of the new program, chaplains will assist police during times of crisis and handle situations that require a more emotional or social response, such as attending funerals, assisting with death notifications, visiting the sick at home or in hospitals and responding to scenes of tragedies, such as homicides, suicides or child deaths.
All chaplains joining the program have been certified through the Police Chaplain Program and many are also certified recovery coaches, which is a growing need due to the opiate abuse problem in Howell, officials said.
Chief Kudrick also spoke about revamping Howell’s Municipal Alliance, which has been in a transition period since its long-time coordinator vacated the role last year. The alliance is an organization closely tied to the police department that runs programs to prevent drug, alcohol and tobacco use among the community youth.
As part of the revamping effort, the alliance held a Design-A-Logo contest, to which 50 Howell art students submitted an original design for the organization to use as its new logo. Winner Chelsea Burwick was given a certificate of appreciation at the council meeting, and her design will be imprinted on a school resource vehicle along with Howell’s school logos.