By John Burton
LONG BRANCH – Officers from what appeared to be every department in Monmouth County, wearing their dress uniforms, joined an overflow crowd of mourners Friday morning for the funeral for Red Bank Police Chief Stephen G. McCarthy.
Over the skirl of bagpipes and the roll of drums, mourners from the law enforcement community joined friends and family and crammed to capacity St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church at 800 Ocean Ave. in the city’s West End, offer their final farewell to the chief.
McCarthy, 50, a 27-year veteran of the Red Bank department, who was widely respected for his dedication and professionalism, died on Monday from thyroid cancer.
The crowd included a smart and crisp honor guard of law enforcement officers from various departments, hundreds of brother and sister officers, other law enforcement officials including the current acting and former county prosecutors, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna, former Mayor Edward J. McKenna, Red Bank Borough Council members and other local officials. So many attended the funeral that the church could not accommodate them all. Some attendees had to listen to the service outdoors while others listened to the Mass from the “lower church” on the basement level.
Police blocked off a portion of Ocean Avenue to through traffic to accommodate those coming to the service
After the one-hour Mass of Christian Burial, McCarthy’s flag-draped casket left the church, followed by many teary-eyed attendees. His family and others followed a large police procession, including a fleet of motorcycle officers with lights shining, as they began to make their way to Mount Olivet Cemetery, Middletown, McCarthy’s final resting place.
As the sea of uniforms and vehicles and lights started down Ocean Avenue, former Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter E. Warshaw looked out at the cortege.
“Steve would have loved this,” said Warshaw, who is now a Superior Court judge in Mercer County. “Steve deserved this.”
Earlier in the morning firefighters draped a huge flag was draped across Broad Street in Red Bank to honor McCarthy.