LAKEWOOD – Ocean County will remember its fallen police officers and will honor all peace officers during the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Day Service scheduled for 11:30 a.m., Friday, May 18 at the Ocean County Police Academy, Ocean County Park, Route 88, here.
"We take this day to remember the lives of Ocean County's fallen officers," said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. "As we recall those whose names are etched on the Police Memorial, we remember that they have made the ultimate sacrifice. Their service will never be forgotten."
The annual event is hosted by the Ocean County Chiefs of Police Association with the support of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
"This ceremony gives us an opportunity to remember the men and women of law enforcement who are no longer with us," said Ocean County Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy. "We recall the important work of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and we extend our appreciation to the families and loved ones they left behind."
Retired Police Chief William Dikun, who is the Chief Police Instructor at the Ocean County Police Academy, will serve as master of ceremonies. New Jersey's 61st Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal will give the keynote address.
The Point Pleasant Borough High School Panther Concert Band, under the direction of Scott Visco will perform. Also participating are honor guards, motorcycle squads, bagpipers along with members of the Ocean County Sheriff's Department, the New Jersey State Police and numerous representatives of law enforcement agencies.
The families of those Ocean County officers killed in the line of duty will be recognized during the ceremony with the placement of a wreath at the Police Memorial, followed by the placing of red roses by the surviving loved ones.
"On this day we take the opportunity to express our deepest appreciation to all law enforcement," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little. "We remember the fallen and their loved ones and we acknowledge the sacrifices made.
"Law enforcement is far from easy especially nowadays," Little said. "In Ocean County we have the greatest respect for all of our peace officers who work so diligently to keep us from harms' way."
The Police Memorial monument at the Police Academy now lists the names of 18 officers from Ocean County that have died. Those names that appear on the Police Memorial at Ocean County Park are: New Jersey State Trooper First Class Joseph A. Smith, Aug. 4, 1927; New Jersey State Trooper Leonard P. McCandless, June 28, 1931; New Jersey State Trooper John J. Ressler, May 1, 1932; Marshal Arnold Johnson, Point Pleasant Police Department, July 22, 1928; Police Officer Hartley Richter, Lakewood Police Department, April 8, 1946; New Jersey State Trooper Raymond P. Fiola, February 19, 1962; Chief Angelo J. Leonetti, Long Beach Township Police Department, March 6, 1962; Police Officer Robert T. Tobias, Manchester Township Police Department, May 17, 1975; Police Officer Richard J. Harper, Brick Township Police Department, May 4, 1978; Police Officer Larry A. Dunfee Jr., Stafford Township Police Department, April 27, 1981; Police Officer John J. Lesemann, Brick Township Police Department, Aug. 30, 1999; Police Officer Robert Ventura, Jackson Township Police Department, March 18, 2001; Police Officer William Preslar , Lakewood Township Police Department, May 14, 2007; Police Officer Jason C. Marles, Ocean Gate Police Department, November. 25, 2010; Police Officer Christopher A. Matlosz, Lakewood Police Department, Jan. 14, 2011; Detective Tina E. Rambo, Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, Aug. 1, 2011; Detective 1 John Scott Stevens, Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, Jan. 21, 2015 and Cpl. Scott R. Thompson, Manchester Township Police Department, April 10, 2015.