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Hero Down: New Jersey Transit Police Department Officer Brendan Burke Dies Unexpectedly

Bayonne, NJ – New Jersey Transit Police Department (NJTPD) Officer Brendan Burke died unexpectedly on April 15.

The NJTPD confirmed the 46-year-old officer’s death in a press release two days later.

“With heavy hearts and extreme sadness, we report the untimely passing of New Jersey Transit Police Officer Brendan Burke,” the police department said. “Today, our deeply broken hearts are with Officer Burke’s family. Please keep his family as well as our NJTPD family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Officer Burke’s exact cause of death was not immediately released.

After graduating from St. Peter’s Prep High School in 1994, Officer Burke earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Rutgers University, according to his obituary.

He joined the NJTPD on April 22, 2002, and served in multiple patrol districts during his early years of service, the agency said.

“He later served as a field training officer and ensured our newest patrol officers were the absolute best that they could be,” the NJTPD noted.

Officer Burke was assigned to the Intelligence Section in 2016 and was later honored with a unit citation award for helping review 10,800 hours of video footage in order to track a terrorist who had placed devices in the area of the Elizabeth Train Station.

He was most recently assigned to the NJTPD’s Central Communications Center, where he answered emergency calls from the public.

“At our department, Burke will be remembered for his dedication, his constantly cheerful demeanor, and his professionalism,” the police department said. “Rest in eternal peace Officer Burke. We thank you for your service.”

Officer Burke leaves behind his wife, Judeth, as well as his children, Paige, Jane, and Evan, according to his obituary.

He is also survived by his siblings, nephews and nieces.

A fundraising page established to help his family in the wake of their loss has raised more than $29,000 so far.

“Brendan was an amazing husband, father and friend to all. He was proud to serve as a police officer, but his greatest source of pride was his three children,” his obituary read. “He loved with his entire being and truly was a beacon of love and light.”

“People as special as Brendan never truly leave us, even after they are gone,” his family said. “His legacy is the lives he touched, the inspiration he gave, and the ability he had to alter other’s pain. May he live on and be felt in every soul filled hug, a door held for a stranger, belly laughter between friends, and heartfelt conversations between loved ones.”

Officer Burke was laid to rest on April 21.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of New Jersey Transit Police Department Officer Brendan Burke, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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