The Verona Police Department is wishing a fond farewell today to Officer Justin Nielsen, who, along with his German Shepherd, Benning, is joining the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office to fulfill his lifelong goal of being a police dog handler.
Officer Nielsen has served the residents of Verona for the past seven years as the VPD’s tactical training coordinator and firearms instructor. He helped the department’s officers with training in firearms re-qualification, close quarters combat, building clearing, bleeding control, CPR, Narcan, and active shooter training.
In announcing his departure, the VPD said that, Officer Nielsen had coordinated several multi-jurisdictional active shooter training scenarios for VPD officers, Verona Rescue Squad personnel, and multiple surrounding law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and ATF. (MyVeronaNJ covered one of those drills in 2018.) Officer Nielsen also helped to get 10 VPD officers fully certified as SWAT officers.
Prior joining the VPD, Nielsen served in the United States Army’s 10th Mountain Division, retiring with the rank of staff sergeant.
“Aside from training,” the department wrote on its Facebook page, “Justin excelled as a patrol officer, receiving numerous citations and awards from not only the department but often recognized by members of the public for his professionalism and compassion.”