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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Police News  >  Fallen Lakewood Officer Laid to Rest

 

Fallen Lakewood
Officer Laid to Rest

Police and Law Enforcement News
Monday, May 21, 2007 2:20 p.m.

(NJLawman.com) It began with legions of patrol cars filling the First Energy parking lot on New Hampshire Avenue in Lakewood.   Different colored uniforms mingled, academy mates caught up, and coffee went down.

Rain threatened but would hold off at least for a while.

At about 9:30 a.m., emergency lights went on, as did the engines of hundreds of patrol cars, detective cars, and SUV's from around the state and beyond.

A caravan of considerable size emerged from the lot.  Red, blue, yellow, and white flashing lights, dazzling strobes, and periodic NYPD-style toots of the siren all added to the picturesque moving landscape.

It might have been considered stunning, maybe even beautiful, if not for the reason all this apparatus and humanity had been assembled against the backdrop of an otherwise gloomy day: to bury a brave, young, fellow policeman.

As we were escorted through intersections, it became clear that Dover (now Toms River PD), Brick, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department and the Troopers would be running things and handling logistics.   They did an awesome job this day.

At about 10:00 a.m. a closed Route 88 would accommodate the mass of law enforcement now arranged into organized ranks.

Being placed at attention made it difficult to follow exactly what was happening.  The sharp drumming announced the arrival of the various pipe and drum bands, and they eventually marched in and out of our view and down the street. 

The already quiet ranks fell into complete silence as the next group slowly marched into view. 

Some stone-faced, some clearly holding back tears, and others trying to recover from already losing it, their collective expressions told us who they were before their powder blue uniform shirts and blue with yellow patches.

They were the Lakewood cops.

Seeing them march into sight made the day more real, more sobering.  For them this wasn't a road trip to support an anonymous fallen brother.  For them this was real, raw pain.   For them, it must have been inconceivable to have ever thought they would be marching up a closed Route 88 flanked by better than a thousand fellow knights whose names they will never know.

You couldn’t help but get choked up seeing them for the first time that morning. 

They would probably say the same thing about seeing us.

Silently, we in the ranks tried to gauge exactly what was taking place by listening to the sounds alternating between bagpipes and motorcycles and sirens.

Again, standing at attention makes you less than an observer.

Those who were there to observe were mostly from the different corners of Lakewood.  They hung out doorways and sheltered under trees from the increasing precipitation, many in utter awe of the spectacle they were watching.

There are few things more impressive, more dramatic than a full Inspector’s funeral.

Various segments of Lakewood’s complex culture began showing up with video and digital cameras to catch this never before seen sight.  White, black, Hasidic, and Mexican all took part.

The PBA trailer was the town square while the church services were taking place.  Groups formed and a lucky few found restrooms. 

As the mass neared its end, the ranks reassembled. 

The church bells rang out again, and as the mourners were leaving the church, for the first time we caught sight of two little girls, both about five years old give-or-take. 

It was them. 

Any of us who could see them knew they had to be Julia and Gracie, the daughters of fallen Lakewood Police Officer William Preslar and his wife Lisa. 

Both were wearing pretty dresses, the kind little girls love to wear.  I remember wondering if Lisa had to pick those dresses out special for this occasion.   Just the thought wells up your eyes.

As they disappeared from view, the Lakewood officers reemerged and marched this time the opposite way.  Behind them were the staff and dispatchers, our guardians, who should not go without mention.  Their pain was no less than anyone else’s.

“Detail!  Dismissed!”

We made our way back to our patrol car and joined a second procession for the morning this time going to the cemetery.

Again, lights in front and lights behind for as far as the eyes could see.

Lakewood’s streets were peppered with well-wishers and observers.

As the caravan made its way to the cemetery, you couldn’t help but notice that most of the oncoming traffic pulled over.  There was plenty of room for them to proceed in the opposite direction and there was no law requiring them to do so, but most pulled over.  You couldn’t help being surprised and touched by that and by them, the public.

At the cemetery the ceremony was just as impressive.  Maybe poignant is a better word.

Again, we had the obstructed view seats in the back of the formation, but we could see a bit more here than at the church.

Bagpipes with drums, Honor Guards with flags, and a riderless horse with boots affixed backwards in the stirrups all made their way to the mausoleum area.

Limousines pulled in, and we got our second glance of the two little girls.  Seeing them really makes you ponder your own mortality and your own children.  Beautiful little girls they were, they are.

We couldn’t hear what was being said, but words were being spoken for William.

A single trumpet played taps, but no twenty-one-gun salute.  I suspect it was skipped so as not to scare Julia and Gracie.

Everything became quiet for a while.  We figured they were getting ready to dismiss us when a helicopter approaching from behind us broke the silence.  We couldn’t look because we were still at attention, but you could tell it was unusually low.

Before I could start cursing the media in my head for so rudely interrupting a policeman’s funeral, the chopper came into view.  It was a New Jersey State Police helicopter, which came in very low and did a slow and graceful flyover above the family and formations in honor of William.  It then left as quickly as it came.

Nice touch.

As the ceremony wound down I saw one of the daughters being carried by a woman who was balancing between the girl and a triangular folded American flag. 

It was obvious that this would be Lisa Trella Preslar. 

My own wife has cried for Lisa several times since this whole thing began.  I’m sure there are thousands of other police wives who have also shed tears for her. 

She kept it together and did a great job this day.

Behind Lisa was a second woman carrying a flag.  It was William’s mom.  You can’t even begin to imagine her pain.

I’m glad they gave flags to both.

We got the command to fall out and we set out for home. 

There is no happy ending to this story.  Lisa will have to carry on without William.  The Lakewood officers will have to carry on without him too. 

Ghosts and reminders will be everywhere, and tears and anguish will not be going away any time soon.

But, on this day Lakewood stopped for a few hours.  A town like Lakewood doesn’t easily stop.

Major roads and arteries were closed and a simple yet loud message of “Not Today!” resounded.

This very busy town saw all of its officers stripped from the streets and its dispatchers and staff pulled from their headquarters. 

Behind them and William’s family formed immense ranks of support and love from an invasion of blue that had been arriving all morning from everywhere.

And all this, all of this, was done for no other reason than to say goodbye to Lakewood Patrolman William Nichie Preslar and to say "we’re with you," to those he left behind.

God bless Patrolman William Preslar.

God bless Patrolman Preslar’s family.

God bless the men and women of the Lakewood Police Department.

NJLawman.com

Police and Law Enforcement News
Monday, May 21, 2007 2:20 p.m.

 

From Lisa Preslar

Thank you so much for such for the beautiful summary of Nichie's service. I have printed this out for our girls to read when they are old enough to appreciate it.

He so deserved this overwhelming service, but I will tell you Nichie was looking down on all of us and saying "This is way too much for me", but He was there beaming with pride...for all Nichie ever wanted was to be a Police Officer.

Thank you so much for all of your thoughts and prayers and Thank you to all the officers who attended Nichie's service to honor this GREAT man and father. 

-Sincerely,
-Lisa Preslar

 

I have never read this article until now, even a year later I find myself crying.  Thank you for this article.  I live in Lakewood, but didn't know Officer Preslar.  Thank you for protecting us, and now you are doing it from heaven.  Thank you.

My family would like to thank William Preslar for his service and for keeping us safe.  We are very sorry for your loss.  We will keep your family in our thoughts and prayers.

-Long Family
-Lakewood, NJ

Mrs. Preslar, Our thoughts and Prayers are with you. RIP Patrolman Preslar.

-D. Reid
-Hanford Patrol

To a lost brother. RIP

-Martin
-South Australia Police

Lisa, Julia & Gracie......I am so, so sorry for your loss. my thoughts and prayers are with you

-Nicole Ricci
-Family Friend

RIP Patrolman Presler.  Our hearts go out to the family, friends and Lakewood Police Officers and Dispatchers.

-Jim, DRPA Police Department

Rest in Peace Brother.

-East Brunswick Motor Cycle Unit

RIP Brother God Bless you and your Family.

Now God has another angel in heaven to patrol his beat. May God bless you, and you family.  R.I.P. brother.

-Bogota Police

I lost a friend and a brother. My heart is broken without you here to fix it. The memory of your laugh and smile hopefully will mend it. I love you. My friend.

God bless your family. RIP
-Kenny
-South River PD

I am a childhood friend of Nichie's, and would like to thank you for writing so beautifully.  I was not able to attend the funeral, but reading this has made me feel as if I was there.  Thank you so much and God bless you. 

-MD
-Florida

Thank you for this article, it means a lot!!  God Bless You Nichie and God Bless Your Family!!!!

Rest in Peace Brother.
Ocean Gate Police Dept.

Thank You for the great article.

I'm not sure where Lakewood, NJ is, but as a Police officer myself I feel a void in my heart. My condolences to the Preslar family. RIP and may God bless your soul my brother.

-Deputy Saenz
-Brooks County, Texas

Thank you for your dedication and making us all safer.

Was not able to attend, however, reading the article was gut-wrenching. RIP Officer! God be with you

May God Bless you and your Family. RIP Brother
-P/O Fetzer,
-DoD Police Ft. Dix

My heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends and members of the Lakewood Police Department on the tragic and painful loss of Officer William Preslar Jr. This unfortunate incident that caused this tragic event proves beyond a doubt he was trying to save a life rather than take one, even if that life was an animal. My prayers go out to Officer Preslar and all that knew him for he has earned that right to be with his Lord and Savior…… Blessed are the Peacemakers: For they shall be called the children Of GOD.

Captain Gene DiGiacomo
East Orange Police Department

WE DEFEND OUR HOMELAND EACH AND EVERYDAY BUT NO ONE NOTICES

BUT IS NOT FOR THE GLORY OR THE PAY, IT IS WHAT WE DO SIR.   I'LL SEE YOU WE I GET THERE WELL DONE YOUR FAMILY SHOULD BE PROUD OF YOU, AND I KNOW THEY ARE.

GOD BLESS.

Nice article, Thank You.......

Our Thoughts and Prayers to the Preslar Family. God Bless Patrolman Preslar.

-Brian Petrone, Past PBA 152 Ex-Bd Member
AAA Bail Professionals of New Jersey

RIP brother.
-Beachwood Police

Rest in peace, and thank you for your service.

May God Bless your family.  RIP Brother.
-David
-NJ Transit

I was there for the first half as well.  Great turnout, and kudos' to those who ran things.  My sympathies go out to Mrs. Preslar and the two little girls.  I saw them too coming out of the church.  God bless all for their loss.

-Norm
 Newark PD

Couldn't have said it better.  I only attended the first half at the church.  It was a very sad morning.  RIP Patrolman Preslar.

I also was at the funeral.  It was a great service.  RIP brother.

 

Police and Law Enforcement News
Monday, May 21, 2007 9:20 a.m.

 

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