KPD Facebook post: Cop’s quick thinking may have saved lives

The following post is from the Kearny Police Department’s Facebook page. It’s sparked a large-scale discussion on bail reform and just how fortunate several officers were at a recent motor vehicle stop:

“Allow us to tell you a story of two young police officers working the overnight shift in South Kearny’s Second Precinct.

“Officers Mike Gontarczuk and Sean Podolski were patrolling Routes 1&9 on Saturday night when a vehicle sped past them at a high rate of speed. Adding insult to injury, the speeding vehicle’s taillights did not work properly. The officers were able to catch up to the speeding car just over the bridge into Jersey City where they pulled it over.

“While Officer Podolski called in the stop on the police car radio, Officer Gontarczuk quietly walked up to the passenger side of the stopped car. Choosing this quiet passenger side approach may be the luckiest decision the young patrolman has made in his short career.

“Officer Gontarczuk noticed three men in the car all looking over their left shoulders. The men were expecting an officer to approach from the driver’s side. They hadn’t yet realized the second officer had reached the passenger side window. Upon shining his flashlight into the car, Officer Gontarczuk saw the backseat passenger looking expectantly over his left shoulder while his right hand reached for the loaded revolver sitting by his side.

“Luckily, this story ended without a shot being fired. After “getting the drop on them,” the two officers were able to remove the men from the car at gunpoint and arrest them absent any violence. The officers also recovered the drugs the men had packaged as if for sale and the open bottle of liquor that accompanied them on their drive.

“Unluckily for the rest of us, KPD was notified that the three men were released Monday at their first appearances at Criminal Justice Reform Court. Is speeding through Kearny with broken taillights, an open bottle of booze, drugs packaged for sale, and one’s hand on a loaded revolver during a traffic stop proof that men are a danger to the community? That’s not for us to judge, but consider our minds boggled.

“All we can say is, here’s to a job well-done by Officers Gontarczuk and Podolski! Thank you for standing ready so that others may sleep peaceably in their beds at night.”


The Observer Staff