Video: Hundreds Turn Out To Honor Fallen Lakewood Officer


matlosz-vigil[Video below.] Lakewood, NJ – More than 500 people filled the town square on a freezing night last night to remember Patrolman Christopher Matlosz, who was shot, execution style, one year ago while on patrol.

“Although the weather might be cold, the warmth of our hearts are united as we stand here tonight to perpeturate the memory and legacy of Chris Matlosz of the Lakewood Police Department,” said Mayor Menashe Miller.

The candlelight vigil followed a parade of emergency vehicles from jurisdictions throughout the region, and included the Monmouth County Police and Fire Pipes and Drums, as well as the Shamrock and Thistle Pipes and Drums.

The vehicles circled the municipal complex and came to rest on Matlosz Way, the section of Third Street at the entrance to the Police Department that was named for the slain officer in the month following his death.

West Long Branch Patrolman Jeff Hanlon worked with Matlosz in the Eatontown Police Department where they became close friends.

“Although one year has passed, because of people paying tribute to him everywhere you turn, it still feels like he is alive and surrounding us,” Hanlon said. “Even after his death, Chris is performing his duties as a police officer, more than anyone would ever have imagined. All you have to do is look around you, he has helped to bring together law enforcement and the community – something we as police officers strive to achieve on a daily basis.”

Before the ceremony, Lakewood Patrolwoman Lynn Miller, a spokeswoman for Policemen’s Benevolent Association Local 71, said Matlosz’s death had also brought the Police Department closer together.

“What brings it home for me, the suspect who killed Chris, he didn’t go after Chris Matlosz – he went after a police officer. It could have been anyone of us. All of my brother and sister officers, we know that. I think about him every single day,” Miller said. “Being the events coordinator of the PBA, we had so many events this year, so many memorial services, that it kept me busy. So I, I never really mourned, but it’s really hit me hard in the last month. It really has.”

The vigil ended with the unveiling of a bronze plaque bearing Matlosz’s likeness that will be placed on a memorial wall inside the foyer of police headquarters, next to the watch commander’s office.

Patrolman Gary Prezewoznik, president of PBA Local 71, said the memorial wall was started after Lakewood Patrolman William “Nichie” Preslar was killed a motor vehicle crash while on patrol on May 14, 2007.

Preslar was an isolated stretch of road about 4 a.m., when he swerved to miss a deer and his police cruiser crashed into a tree.

Click here for a video of the event.

{Asbury Park Press/ Newscenter}