SCOTCH PLAINS — When Summit Police Detective Matthew Tarentino died in the line of duty nearly six years ago, there was no room for his name on the local fallen officers memorial.

But he's part of one today. A brand new area of remembrance has opened up at the John H. Stamler Police Academy.

The new memorial includes Tarentino and 36 other Union County law enforcement officers who lost their lives while on duty since 1895.

"It means a lot to me and my family, particularly my children, that their father's name can appear here on the memorial in Union County," said Vickie Tarentino Proctor.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on May 15, during National Police Week.

Presentation of the new Union County Law Enforcement Fallen Officers Memorial in Scotch Plains (Danny Rivera)
Presentation of the new Union County Law Enforcement Fallen Officers Memorial in Scotch Plains (Danny Rivera)

"After we lost Detective Tarentino, we knew we had to create a memorial to honor all of our fallen officers — solemn and enduring retreat for family, friends, and members of law enforcement — a proper place of reflection to honor our fallen heroes, as well as those who continue to wear the badge," said Giacommo Sacco, president of the Union County Police Chiefs Association.

Tarentino is the most recent Union County officer to die while on duty — the cause was an automobile accident in 2017.

Thirteen of the officers named on the memorial died by gunfire.

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