RED BANK: TOWN HALL MOURNS A LOST FRIEND

mccarthy 2 092313Bunting hung above the police station door and flags flew at half-staff in memory of Red Bank police Chief Steve McCarthy shortly after his death Monday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

mccarthy-chief-steveRed Bank officials, grieving the loss of a colleague, have began preparations for a final salute to police Chief Steve McCarthy, who died in Manhattan Monday after a battle with cancer.

“It’s a sad, sad day,” said assistant construction official John Drucker, echoing a comment heard frequently throughout borough hall, at 90 Monmouth Street.

Mayor Pasquale Menna said the police department was filled with sadness and “a lot of tears” over the death of McCarthy, at age 50, to a rare and fast-moving thyroid cancer.

Flags on borough poles were lowered to half-staff, and black-and-purple bunting was hung over the entrance to the police station.

Police officers who had taken turns driving McCarthy to treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in recent months were preparing to accommodate “hundreds of law enforcement officials, from all over the state,” for a viewing expected to be held later this week at the John E. Day Funeral Home, Menna said.

Monday afternoon, a two-car police escort quietly accompanied McCarthy’s remains back to the town he’d served for 27 years.

mccarthy 1 092313The hearse carrying McCarthy’s remains got a police escort into town from the Staten Island mortuary to which it had been temporarily transferred, per New York law, Monday afternoon. (Click to enlarge)

After tearfully sharing the final texts they’d received from McCarthy and other memories, officials began turning their attention toward the details of sending off a colleague and friend. McCarthy had joined the police department immediately upon graduation from Rutgers, rising through the ranks from patrolman to the department’s top post three years ago.

“The whole building – everyone’s taken aback,” said Council President Art Murphy, who worked closely with McCarthy as police commissioner.

Wednesday night’s bimonthly meeting of the borough council has been cancelled, as have other committee meetings for the week.

Menna said borough hall would be closed for business the day of McCarthy’s funeral, which has not yet been announced. [Update: 6:06 p.m.: Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels says borough hall and all other borough offices will remain open the day of the funeral, which has now been set for Friday.]

The Day Funeral Home on Riverside Avenue is handling the arrangements, with interment at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Middletown, according to information on the home’s website. Further details were not immediately available.