It will be four years this Thanksgiving that Ocean Gate Patrolman Jason Marles died on the Garden State Parkway, after his car was struck by a drunk driver.
The popular young officer had just finished a drunk driving detail when he was killed. But he has not been forgotten. The Ocean County Police Traffic Safety Officer's Association will hold an award ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at FirstEnergy park to select the winner of the Fallen Officer Jason Marles DWI Award.
And Manchester Township Patrolman Joseph Reilly will represent Manchester as a nominee for the award, Police Chief Brian Klimakowski said
The ceremony will take place at the Lakewood Blue Claws' annual Law Enforcement Night. A panel of civilian, police and honorary members of the Ocean County Police Traffic Safety Officer’s Association (OCPTSOA) will select the winning officer from those nominated by their departments.
The award was created to honor the life and memory of Jason Marles, an Ocean Gate police officer, badge No. 271, who was tragically killed by an alleged drunk driver on the Garden State Parkway while returning home after working a drunk driving enforcement detail on Thanksgiving morning in 2010.
“By recognizing an Ocean County police officer who has demonstrated a great commitment towards the apprehension of DWI offenders and prevention of crashes, the Jason Marles award increases public awareness of the determination officers have in keeping roadways safe,” said OCPTSOA President Antonio Ellis, a Manchester Township Police Traffic Safety Officer.
Reilly made 10 DWI arrests and 23 controlled dangerous substance arrests in 2013. In February 2014, he was awarded the Manchester Township Police Chief’s Award for his outstanding job performance the year prior. A member of the force for just over two years, Patrolman Reilly consistently is one of the top producers in the agency in DWI and CDS arrests, the chief said.
Before joining the Manchester Township Police in 2012, Patrolman Reilly completed a decorated career in the United States Marine Corps before he joined the Manchester Township Police Department in 2012.
He was the recipient of the 200 Club’s George Haines Award, an honor given to the recruit who achieves the highest overall average in his or her Ocean County Police Academy class.
The officer selected for the Fallen Officer Jason Marles DWI Award will receive a commemorative plaque, and all nominees will receive a certificate of recognition. In addition, the OCPTSOA and its sponsors will make a monetary donation to a charity selected by the Marles family.