December 27, 2020
Detective Richard Hershey was named the New Jersey State Police's 2020 Trooper of the Year, the organization's highest honor, "for his fearless and courageous actions" during a home invasion that left him critically-wounded in Salem County earlier this year.
Hershey was investigating a violent robbery at a trailer park in Pittsgrove Township this past April when several suspects returned to the scene armed with guns and confronted Hershey as he was interviewing witnesses, police said.
Despite Hershey identifying himself as a state trooper, the suspects continued to advance towards him with their weapons and opened fire with 13 rounds of ammunition, striking Hershey with a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
The gunshot left Hershey unable to walk and bleeding profusely, but he survived after receiving emergency service and assistance.
Hershey was taken to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, where he recovered from the wound for several weeks.
Three men were charged in Hershey's shooting, and a total of 18 have been charged in connection with the investigation into the home invasion.
Hershey was credited with a "presence of mind" for hitting the suspects' vehicle with a gunshot that left a "distinguishing mark," which was used to help later identify the car.
"Detective Hershey’s outstanding dedication and commitment are deserving of the honor of being named, 'Trooper of the Year,'" New Jersey State Police Colonel Pat Callahan said.
"His heroic actions undoubtedly protected the residents of that neighborhood and prevented further tragedy. The remarkable efforts of Detective Richard Hershey embody the New Jersey State Police core values of Honor, Duty, and Fidelity."
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The award is given out every year, and recipients receive a red ribbon encased with a gold frame that is worn on their uniform.