On January 3, 2017, an extremely distraught woman contacted the Verona police department via telephone and advised them, “Get the fire department ready. I cut through the gas line and I got a good fire going and I’m going to level the place. You better evacuate.”
Detective Sgt. Banta and other Verona police officers responded to a multiple-family residence on Bloomfield Avenue as quickly as possible. A mentally disturbed woman had severed the gas line from her stove, turning the hose into a flame thrower. The deranged individual was also armed with a knife. Sgt. Banta took immediate charge of the scene and made a forced entry through the apartment’s locked door. He then subdued the woman, sustaining injuries as she lunged at him with the knife. He was able to take the woman safely into custody and a much needed psychological evaluation. Throughout this life-threatening incident and in personal jeopardy to life and limb, Detective Sgt. Banta demonstrated tremendous courage, initiative and professionalism. Recently, the 200 Club of Essex County proudly presented the Valor Award to Detective Sgt. Timmy Banta.