Mat Chester Receives Second ‘Officer of the Year’ Award

Apr 11, 2018
Courtesy of: Harvey Cedars Police Department

For the second time in three years, Harvey Cedars Patrolman Mat Chester received the borough’s Officer of the Year award for 2017. Chester, who also won the award for 2015, received the award at the borough commission meeting on April 6.

The awards program was started in 2006 by then-chief Jerry Falkowski to recognize those who demonstrate all-around professionalism and exceptional work ethic all year long. Chester was the first to win the award as a special officer, a post he was appointed to in December 2014. He become a full-time patrolman in 2016.

Police Chief Robert Burnaford said Chester led the department in arrests, made close to 400 motor vehicles stops, checked more than 1,000 properties and continually had positive interactions with the general public.

“Officer Chester also is not afraid to take initiative,” said Burnaford. “He is a lead instructor at Southern Regional High School in the ‘Not Even Once’ opiate prevention program, which was started by Manchester Township Police Department. He continues to be an example for all officers to follow and lives up to our department’s motto of ‘commitment to excellence.’”

Burnaford also said 2017 “was a very good year” for the department, noting it achieved N.J. State Chiefs of Police re-accreditation for the second time.

“Re-accreditation means that the department meets the best practice standards,” he said. “It’s a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.”

Burnaford said the department has had a presence in local schools, from bicycle safety programs to Read Across America events. Community policing has also been a priority; he pointed to holding “coffee with a cop” and “pizza with the police” during the summer as well as Trunk or Treat and Harvest Fest in the off-season.

“We have large presence at the summer concerts at Sunset Park, giving free tattoos to children, and engage in friendly conversations,” he said. “We also encouraged people to sign up and utilize our winter house check program.”

Also, the department participated in the “No-Shave November” campaign where it raised close to $10,000  for cancer research, education and prevention.

— Eric Englund

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