Lower Township Police Promoted

Lower Township officials and police gather to recognize five police officers who were promoted.

Lower Township / Provided

LOWER TOWNSHIP — Five Township police officers were promoted, and three of them took the oath of office at the Township Council meeting Wednesday, Jan. 3.

John Chew was promoted to lieutenant. Chew is the father of two, Kyliebree and Johnny, and has an associate degree in criminal justice from Atlantic Cape Community College. Chew was hired in 1995 and promoted to sergeant in 2006. He spent 10 years on the SWAT team. Police officials said he will be assigned as the patrol bureau commander.

Donald Vanaman was promoted to sergeant first class. He has three children, Liberty, 22, Marshal, 20, and Avery, 9. Vanaman is a 14-year veteran of the department and also serves as the commander of the 348th military police detachment at Fort Dix, in the Army Reserves as a chief warrant officer 3.

Vanaman is assigned to the Army's Criminal Investigation Division as a special agent and has received training in criminal investigation, intelligence and protective services. During his 22-year military career he served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Korea, as well as on stateside assignments.

Vanaman is also a former senior corrections officer with the NJ Department of Corrections, and a former Lower Township police detective, SWAT and Sniper Team member, but has served most of his career with the Patrol Division. He will be assigned as the administrative sergeant.

Robert C. Smith Jr. was promoted to sergeant. He has two sons, Robert Smith III, 19, and Branden Smith, 15. Smith was hired in 1995 and worked in the Patrol Division until 1998, when he was assigned to the Detective Division. During his time with the detectives Smith was assigned to work with the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force as an undercover narcotics officer. He is currently a member of the prosecutor’s crisis negotiation team. He is assigned as a patrol squad sergeant.

Charles "C.J." Ryan, who was promoted to sergeant, is an 11-year veteran hired in 2007. His duties in the department include field training officer, honor guard and firearms instructor. Ryan has been a member of the Cape May County SWAT team since 2011 and a member of the SWAT sniper element since 2015. He is an officer in the New Jersey Air National Guard, and his deployments include Qatar in 2003, Iraq in 2005 and Afghanistan in 2011. Ryan is assigned as a patrol squad sergeant.

John Armbruster Jr., hired by the Lower Township Police Department in 2012, was promoted to corporal. Armbruster has an associate degree in criminal justice from Atlantic Cape Community College and a bachelor's degree in health promotion from Coastal Carolina University, where he graduated cum laude. He is a field training officer, a defensive tactics instructor and a physical fitness instructor. In 2015 he was recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for outstanding and distinguished service for DUI/DWI enforcement. He is assigned as second in charge on a patrol squad.

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Middle Township Gazette reporter. Call me anytime you have news for the paper or the website. 609-365-6176