By Cleve Bryan

WASHINGTON TWP, N.J. (CBS)–Officer Allen Franchi is sometimes assigned to security detail at the Motor Vehicle Commission office in Washington Township and on April 18 the job got physical.

“There was a guy outside in the parking lot, seemed he was starting a fight with this other couple. I just tried to break it up and guy attacked me, guess he was looking for a fight,” recalls Franchi.

Franchi says as he was trying to arrest the man it turned into an all-out brawl.

As the man put his hands on Officer Franchi’s throat, several MVC workers rushed to his aide.

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“The man tried to choke him and we ran down and tried to help as much as we could,” says MVC employee Andre Sawaya.

State employees Andre Sawaya, David Fraser and Ryan Armstrong wrestled the man off officer Franchi.

“We just basically tried to keep him on the ground so he could hurt anyone else,” says Armstrong.

The suspect, Peter Strickland of Hammonton, was charged with assault and resisting arrest.

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The  workers were honored by Washington Township Police and Mayor Joann Gattinelli at a ceremony on Friday.

“Often times people run from problems and some people run to problems and we call those people heroes,” said Chief Pat Gurcsik.

Sawaya, Fraser and Armstrong each received police citations of merit and special coins as well as a thank you from officer Franchi.


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