Chief Robert Dolan is proud to announce the hiring of three Manchester Township Police Department Patrolmen, the promotion of two veteran officers, and the lateral transfers of three officers to new roles within the agency during a ceremony held on January 8, 2024, in the Municipal Complex Civic Center.
Mayor Robert Arace had the honor of administering the Oaths of Office in the presence of family, friends, police, and township personnel to new hires Ptl. Ryan Cheslock, Ptl. Anthony DeBlasio, and Ptl. Harry Paul, as well as to Sgt. Christopher Cerullo, who was promoted to Lieutenant, and School Resource Officer Keith Craig, who was promoted to Sergeant.
“Whether joining our department today as a Patrolman or being promoted to a leadership role, each individual taking their oath put forth a tremendous effort,” said Chief Robert Dolan. “Our residents can rest assured that the tradition of exemplary public service will continue here in Manchester Township.”
Additionally, the following lateral assignments were made: Narcotics Enforcement Team Dsg. Christian Nazario to the Investigations Bureau as Detective Sergeant; Patrol Sgt. Danny Barker to the Narcotics Enforcement Team as Detective Sergeant; Patrolman Jose Diaz to Detective; and Patrolman Jason Tarabokija to School Resource Officer.
Taking his Oath of Office first was Ptl. Cheslock, who is pursuing his bachelor’s degree at Thomas Edison State University. He began his law enforcement career as a Special Law Enforcement Officer Class I with the Toms River Police Department before joining the Mantoloking Police Department as a SLEO II and later the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office.
Next, Ptl. Paul, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Stockton University and previously served as a Special Law Enforcement Class II Officer for the Lavalette Police Department and a Patrolman for Lakehurst Police Department, took his oath. A decorated officer, Ptl. Paul was awarded a Distinguished Service Award and was recognized as Officer of the Year by the Lakehurst Police Department.
The final new hire to take his oath was Ptl. DeBlasio, who graduated from Montclair State University with a bachelor’s degree before beginning his career in law enforcement with the Point Pleasant Beach Police Department. He also served the Toms River Police Department and Egg Harbor Police Department before joining the Manchester Township Police Department.
Lt. Cerullo was hired as a Manchester Police Patrolman in 2007 and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and a master’s degree from Seton Hall University. Along with a select group of officers, he was instrumental in the development of the #NotEvenOnce high school opiate awareness. He created the curriculum for the Manchester Youth Police Academy, a successful summer day camp program launched in 2015. Lt. Cerullo most recently led the Investigations Bureau as the unit’s Sergeant.
A 12-year veteran of the Manchester Township Police Department, Sgt. Craig attained a bachelor’s degree from Ramapo College and a master’s degree from California Coast University. He has served as a Field Training Officer, Domestic Violence In-Service Trainer, Juvenile Officer, and is chairman for the Municipal Alliance. Sgt. Craig’s awards include two Chief’s Awards and the Exceptional Service Award.
Since joining the department in 2007, Dsg. Nazario has served in many roles, including Police Explorer Advisor, Auxiliary Advisory, and Field Training Officer. As a NET Detective, he was Team Leader for multiple operations including a wiretap that was the largest drug investigation in Ocean County. Before assuming leadership of the Investigations Bureau, he successfully led the NET as Detective Sergeant since 2021.
Dsg. Barker previously served in the Investigations Bureau as a Detective. Dsg. Barker served as Lead Evidence Custodian, Megan’s Law Liaison, and Firearms Instructor. He also has served as Platoon Leader of the North Platoon for the Ocean County Regional SWAT Team since 2018. Prior to joining the NET, he served as a Patrol Sergeant.
Det. Diaz began his career with the Manchester Township Police Department in 2019, having attained his bachelor’s degree from Kean University in 2017. His experience within the department includes part-time Traffic Safety Officer, a Field Training Officer certification, and an interest in narcotics-related investigations leading to the seizure of drugs, vehicles, and currency.
A former Manchester Township High School teacher, SRO Tarabokija is a 2011 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Rowan University, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Education. SRO Tarabokija’s appointment to School Resource Officer compliments his expertise, given his extensive knowledge of the Manchester School District and his ability to connect with students.
“The continued support of Mayor Arace and the Township Council was paramount to ensuring the hiring of these Patrolmen and promotions of our veteran officers,” said Chief Dolan. “We wish everyone the best of luck as they begin the next chapters in their law enforcement careers here in Manchester Township.”
Following the ceremony, Ptl. Cheslock, Ptl. DeBlasio, and Ptl. Paul entered day one of the Manchester Township Police Department’s intensive twelve week Field Training and Evaluation Program. During the training program, they will be instructed and mentored by several highly trained and seasoned officers.