Police officer remembered for service to community

When people who knew Marlboro police Cpl. Robert Edward Tossie Sr. think about him, they remember an upbeat, hard-working man. Tossie, a 25-year veteran of the Marlboro Police Department, died of cancer at his home in Lakewood on Nov. 15.

He is remembered as one of the founding advisers of the department’s Police Explorers program, in which young adults who have an interest in a career in law enforcement work with the professional members of the police department. Many young people who were guided by Tossie went on to careers in the field.

Marlboro police Lt. Doug Van Note was good friends with Tossie for about 25 years and said his colleague was a positive person.

“Bobby never had a bad word for anybody. If you needed to talk to him he was always there. After people talked to him they always left smiling,” Van Note said.

Tossie worked closely with the young men and women in the Police Explorers program, Van Note added.

“Bobby was very involved with the Explorers and the kids loved him,” Van Note said, adding that 20 of the 25 current members of the Explorers program attended Tossie’s funeral on Nov. 19 in Lakewood.

Marlboro resident Fred Hoffer, who said his son was involved in the Police Explorers program, called Tossie a “gentle man.”

“He was gentle, even though he was huge,” Hoffer said. “As big as he was, that’s how big his heart was. He took pride in helping the children of Marlboro and making sure they went the right way, and not the wrong way,” Hoffer said.

Hoffer remembered Tossie as a person who was always smiling and upbeat.

Another Marlboro resident, Mike Freedman, praised Tossie’s police work and positive attitude.

“Bob knew how to enforce the laws but at the same time gave true meaning to ‘community policing,’ ” Freedman wrote in a letter to the editor. “Bob was that happy officer, as my daughter would call him, directing traffic at the Marlboro Middle School, Marlboro High School, or enforcing traffic laws in the township. Bob was always fair, polite, and respectful to all. I will miss his smile when I waved to him while he was directing traffic. I am proud and privileged to have called him a friend.”

Tossie grew up in Oviedo, Fla. He was a graduate of Hightstown High School and attended Syracuse University, where he played football and received a degree in accounting.

Tossie served in the U.S. Marines during the Vietnam War and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon.

During his time on the Marlboro police force, Tossie was a drill instructor for the Monmouth County Police Acad-emy and received numerous awards from the Marlboro Police Department.

Tossie is survived by his wife, Shirley, three children, one sister and 10 grandchildren.

— Larry Ramer