2 Longtime 'Outstanding' Bridgewater Officers Promoted

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — Two longtime Bridgewater Police Officers were promoted at the recent Bridgewater Council meeting.

Mayor Matthew Moench swore in Officer Russell Dunlop to Sergeant and Sergeant John Cooper to Lieutenant.

“This occasion marks a significant milestone in their careers, reflecting their unwavering dedication, tireless commitment and exemplary service to our community,” said Police Chief John Mitzak at the March 7 meeting.

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Moench noted that the Bridgewater Police Department is one of the finest in the state which is due to the great leadership within the department.

“It’s the standards that our leaders set and the examples that they set that continue to make Bridgewater one of the premier police departments in the state,” said Moench. So when we have officers who have worked hard and have set that example and have demonstrated their leadership, their compassion to our community – it is a real honor to have two great officers being promoted here tonight.”

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Officer Dunlop earned the following degrees: Associates of Arts from Raritan Valley Community College, Bachelors of Science from Seton Hall University and his Master of Science from Utica
College. He graduated from the Somerset County Police in 2005 and started his police career the same year with the Middlesex Borough Police Department.

Dunlop transferred to the Bridgewater Police Department in August 2006. He worked for several patrol squads until starting his detective career in 2017. While as a detective he was the lead detective on all white-collar crimes. He was also the ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) Coordinator, Megan Law Coordinator and was an alternate school resource officer.

Dunlop also became a member of the Somerset County Dive team in 2011, where he has been involved in several water rescues and recoveries. Additionally, Dunlop is a CPR instructor for the department, a Field Training Officer, and recently a member of the Officer of Emergency Management.

After serving 4 years as a detective Dunlop was transferred back to patrol in 2022 so he could re-acclimated with patrol to prepare him for his new position.

“As you just heard, Officer Dunlop is well educated and is well trained and is ready and able to take on his new role,” said Mitzak.

Sergeant John Cooper lives in Bridgewater where he and his wife Collen raised their daughters, Laine and Katie. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Hobart College. He graduated from the Somerset County Police Academy in 1999 and he joined the Bridgewater Police Department later that year.

He is a 26-year member of this department. During his career he served in the patrol division. He was selected as a negotiator for the Somerset County Crisis Negotiations Team, where he was the lead negotiator in many tense and stressful situations. All of them with successful outcomes. He served on this team from 2003 to 2023, where he worked and earned his way up to Deputy Commander for this team.

Cooper is a long-serving Firearms Instructor for the department. He is also an instructor of Basic Spanish for police officers. Cooper is fluent in Spanish.

He has received numerous departmental awards during his career. He has earned the Medal of Valor, Lifesaving Award, CPR Save Award, and Letters of Commendation.

He also received the NJ State PBA Valor Award for exceptional police service, the 200 Club Valor Award and the Knights of Columbus Shield Award.

He was promoted to Sergeant in 2020 where he mentored several patrol squads.

“As you assume the responsibilities of a police lieutenant, I have full confidence that you will continue to lead with integrity, inspire those around you and contribute to the safety and well-being of the Bridgewater Community in even greater capacities,” said Mitzak.

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