A police officer may clock in and out for duty but they never stop being a police officer and protecting the communities they serve.

An Off-Duty Manchester Township Police Sergeant is being recognized for his role in helping rescue and bring a missing person to safety.

Police received a call from a woman last Friday about her 78-year old father who went missing after last being seen earlier that day.

Heidi Sarno gave police a description of her father's vehicles, his cell phone number and information regarding his medical/cognitive condition.

An investigation began and police used cell phone GPS tracking information to try and find Fred Rapp which kept changing along wooded areas along Route 37 touching on the Toms River and Berkeley Township borders and near the ASARCO and Crossley Preserve land sites.

Manchester Police searched the wooded areas with their Humvee, drone, and its ATV but weren't able to find Rapp or his vehicle.

At the same time, Sergeant Theodore Cooke kept trying to make contact with Rapp on his cell phone.

He answered a call made to him by Sgt. Cooke the following morning and said he had crashed his vehicle in a wooded area and did not know where he was.

Rapp then told Sgt. Cooke that someone was with him and handed his phone to the person who was off-duty Manchester Sergeant Charles Brooks who had been hunting in the area at the time.

Sgt. Brooks told police dispatch their location, which was inaccessible to motor vehicles, and then escorted Rapp to an open area where he was transported by police vehicle to Bone Hill Road where he was treated by Manchester First Aid and then transported to Community Medical Center for evaluation and treatment.

It was Rapp's dog Petie that led Sgt. Brooks to his owner on a nearby trail.

Sgt. Brooks assumed the dog had wandered from its owner and decided to attempt to reunite the dog with its owner.

He then followed the dog’s paw prints and nearby foot wear impressions for several hundred yards, ultimately leading him to Rapp.

“This situation highlights the fact that a police officer is a police officer 24/7. We are truly fortunate that Sgt. Brooks was in the right place at the right time because without his help there is no telling how this story would have ended”, Manchester Police Chief Lisa Parker said in a statement.


You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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