The Township Committee on Thursday named the section of Third Street along the entrance to the township police department in honor of slain Officer Christopher Matlosz.
The street now will be called ceremoniously Matlosz Way.
“Chris (Matlosz) did not die in vain,” Mayor Menashe Miller said. “The unity brought about by Officer Matlosz’s death will be forever etched in our hearts and our memories.”
Matlosz, 27, was killed Jan. 14 while on patrol along Joe Parker Boulevard.
Jahmell Crockam, 19, of Edgewood Court, pulled a handgun and shot Matlosz three times in the head after Matlosz approached him, authorities have said. Crockam, who was wanted by authorities on weapons charges, was walking along the residential neighborhood street at the time.
At Third Street and Clifton Avenue, more than 200 people gathered for the unveiling of the royal blue sign emblazoned in white letters with Matlosz’s badge number, 317.
Kelly Walsifer, Matlosz’s fiancee, spoke about her love for Matlosz and her appreciation of everyone who helped her through the aftermath of his death.
“It will take a while for my life to go on because it was robbed from me,” she said.
Walsifer pulled a string to unveil the new street sign. But the string broke. Some people laughed, and one person in the crowd, referring to Matlosz’s predilection to pranks, said: “That’s Chris.”
To applause, Officer Gary Przewoznik, president of the township’s police union, was hoisted up to pull the black wrapping from the sign.
“I thought that naming of (Third) Street was most appropriate because maybe seeing his name might make us (the township police) more diligent and more aware when we are on patrol,” Przewoznik said.
Nearby, the township police car placed in the center of Town Square for Matlosz’s vigil was still there. Black and purple bunting was still draped over the car’s hood. Candles were placed on the pavers around the car, on the roof and on the trunk. Only one candle was lit.
Electric road signs flashed “RIP 317,” and giant flood lights lit up the street corner and square.
Area police chiefs were honored Thursday by township Police Chief Robert Lawson for the assistance they provided during the 38-hour manhunt for Crockam that ended in Camden early in the morning Jan. 16 when State Police and U.S. Marshals’ tactical officers stormed the apartment complex where Crockam was hiding.
“This was my most difficult experience as the chief of police,” Lawson said. “We owe a tremendous debt to officers throughout the state. Without them, we couldn’t have gotten through.”
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