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Two Ocean County Law Enforcement Officers To Receive Prestigious Awards


Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced that two Ocean County Prosecutor Office members have been selected by New Jersey Women in Law Enforcement, Inc. to receive two top awards.

Detective Melissa Matthews has been named Police Officer of the Year and Lt. Shanna Beal has been selected to receive their coveted Leadership Award, he said.

“To receive not just one, but two awards from such a prestigious nationally recognized group is an amazing accomplishment," Coronato said. "This is a proud moment for the office.  The citizens of New Jersey and I are truly blessed to have such gifted dedicated professionals working within law enforcement.  Shanna and Melissa’s devotion to duty and tireless efforts reflect great credit upon themselves and the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor.”

New Jersey Women in Law Enforcement, Inc. is a professional organization founded in 2004 by a group of dynamic female law enforcement executives representing federal, state, county and municipal agencies.  New Jersey Women in Law Enforcement, Inc. (NJWLE) is a professional organization of both men and women who are working together to strengthen public recognition of the unique contributions of women to the profession of law enforcement.

The award ceremony will take place at 8 a.m. on Thursday at the Rutgers University Visitor Center, Busch Campus in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Matthews has been employed at the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office for nine years and assigned to the Special Victims' Unit for the past seven years.  The unit investigates incidents of sexual assault and child abuse. 

The unit investigates over 300 cases a year - one third of them involving the Hispanic community. Matthews is the only Spanish bi-lingual detective assigned to the Special Victims' Unit She is responsible for over 100 cases annually, Coronato said.

"She conducts amazing child forensic interviews and she obtains confessions from suspects on the majority of her investigations," he said.

Matthews is responsible for the increase in reported cases involving the Hispanic Community, Coronato said.

"As we know, often members of the Hispanic Community will not report being the victim of sexual assault because they fear deportation and interacting with law enforcement," he said. "Det. Matthews' reputation of being a fair, caring and effective Law Enforcement Officer has positively changed the way the Ocean County Hispanic Community interacts with law enforcement."

Matthews also speaks to various organizations and investigates crimes involving human trafficking, She has been named as the Ocean County Human Trafficking Liaison.

Ocean County Prosecutor Lt. Shanna Beal - who heads the Office Litigation Bureau - will receive the group's  annual Leadership Award.

Beal is responsible for the completion of all investigative cases being presented to the Grand Jury and at trial.  She is also responsible for drug court, Mental Health Court, and the Witness Relocation Protection Program. Shana oversees a staff of more than twenty detectives and support personnel making her assignment easily one of the most challenging at the Prosecutor's Office, Coronato said.

"The Prosecutor’s Office and these units enjoy tremendous success as a result of Shanna’s commitment, dedication and professionalism," he said. 

Beal was promotoed to the rank of sergeant in 2005 and lieutenant in 2008.

"Shanna’s reputation in the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor and throughout the county is beyond reproach," Coronato said. "She is an asset to the agency, the citizens of Ocean County and the state."



Cabrina Decerbo Bertero Whitam May 21, 2014 at 01:31 PM
Bravo! Ladies Bravo!
grace May 22, 2014 at 08:08 AM
X O my ladies!!!

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