Asbury Park police Sgt. Joseph Spallina is among the first cops in the country to graduate from a special training course on crisis intervention.

The intensive program covers mental and behavioral health intended to help law enforcement officers handle some of the most intense and difficult situations.

Despite the negative media narrative about cops that we hear far too often, police departments around the country and here in New Jersey are always striving to better their education and training to serve and protect the public.

A few months after Sgt. Spallina graduated from the intense training and then had an opportunity to implement some of what he learned.

On a morning earlier this month, a man was standing out in front of the headquarters waving a large knife after reportedly slashing one of the tires on a nearby patrol car.

Sgt. Spallina was able to deescalate the situation by calmly speaking to the man and getting on a first-name basis right away. After a few minutes of conversation, he was able to distract the man and subdue him and remove the deadly weapon without further incident.

It's the calm, measured professional actions of officers like Sgt. Joseph Spallina that save lives every day in this country. I'm proud of the actions taken by these hero officers every day without regard to their own safety.

Being a police officer is more than a job. More than a career. It's a calling and thankfully there are many New Jerseyans hearing and acting on that call. Sgt. Joseph Spallina is one of them and thanks to him a distraught man will now get the help he needs instead of becoming a statistic.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

Early voting locations in each NJ county

Each county in the state will have between three and 10 early voting locations, open daily for the 2021 general election from Oct. 23 through Oct. 31. The sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. except for Sundays, when they will close at 6 p.m.

New Jersey's favorite 'old school' sitcom