Fair Lawn Detective Wins National Law Enforcement Award
Detective Jeff Welsh has been honored as the VFW National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.
Detective Jeff Welsh, who in February was named the District 2 (Bergen County) Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of New Jersey, was honored again Thursday for his first-rate police work.
This time, the VFW bestowed the National Law Enforcement Award upon Welsh, who was entered in the nationwide running because of his earlier selection within Bergen County.
"We, the members of Fair Lawn PBA #67, are very proud of Jeff Welsh," PBA president and fellow Detective David Boone said in a statement. "He has served the Borough of Fair Lawn with great distinction for over 22 years and this is a well deserved recognition of his excellent police work. The Borough leaders and the residents should take great pride in having such an exceptional officer serving them."
Detective Lt. Michael Uttel also applauded Welsh for the distinction, and said he was very deserving of the award.
"There's not a guy down here that works harder than him and they all work very hard," Uttel said back in February.
Known within the department for his understated, yet authoritative manner, Welsh is a stickler for details who specializes in fraud investigations and often works with the Secret Service and other government investigative agencies.
Welsh joined the detective bureau in 1999, after working in patrol for nine years, and has since taken on a mentoring role to the junior detectives, who frequently come to him with questions.
In an email, Boone called him "first and foremost a team player."
"Although he carries a very heavy caseload," Boone wrote, "he will always drop what he is doing to assist other officers or detectives in an investigation."
When approached back in February after winning the county award, Welsh said he was honored to be recognized by the VFW, but quickly shifted the focus to his colleagues within the department.
“My success here is based upon my surroundings," he said, "the officers that I work with."
Welsh said he loves both patrol work and detective work, but finds that making an arrest following an investigation is more rewarding.
“When you're out on the street, it's what you see is what you get,” he said. “Here, you get a piece of paper that gives you a bunch of what ifs and you gotta put it together and make the best of what you can. You're not given too many tools other than this (pointing to his head) and your hands."
For Welsh, the best part of his job is getting to serve the residents of Fair Lawn.
“When you can look a victim in the eye and tell 'em, ‘Hey we got 'em. We picked up that bad guy.’ There's nothing more rewarding than that,” he said. “It's not about the paycheck.”