ACPO Det. Christoper Southard and Lt. Thomas Finan
ACPO Det. Christopher Southard and Sgt. William Hess
ACPO Det. Christopher Southard and Lt. James Scoppa
ACPO Det. Christopher Southard and Lt. David Weiss

MAYS LANDING-To show support for his ACPO supervisors, ACPO Det. Christopher Southard– who is also a Marine Reservist– nominated 4 ACPO supervisors to receive the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve’s (ESGR) Patriot Award! ACPO Lt. Thomas Finan, Lt. James Scoppa, Lt. David Weiss, and Sgt. William Hess are the recipients and all were presented their awards in a ceremony on Friday.

ESGR, a Department of Defense program, was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment, according to the ESGR website.

“As a Marine Reservist, I nominated my supervisors for the award. In September, I returned from my fifth deployment, my first as a Reservist.  My chain of command was extremely supportive (as was the entire office).  Although shorthanded due to my absence, they always understood my military commitment and additional career with the Marines.  They would check in on me while deployed and would always offer to assist my wife and our five children with anything while I was away.  They continued to assist with my caseloads and would always be available if I thought of something else that could be done while I was away.  The entire Major Crimes Unit has always been supportive to cover my on-call weeks whenever I was required to attend drill periods.  The unit has always been supportive of my military service despite and worked extremely hard in covering all responsibilities while I was away,” said Det. Southard who served in the Navy from 1998-2004, the Marine Corps from 2004-2014 and currently serves in the Marine Corps Reserves since his transition from active duty.

An employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve, or the spouse of a Guard or Reserve member, may nominate individual supervisors and bosses for the Patriot Award for support provided directly to the nominating Service member and his or her family. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.

Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner signed a Statement of Support as a continued pledge to support Military National Guard and Reserve employees of the ACPO office.

“The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office has several employees who not only serve this community in their law enforcement career, but also serve our country in their military careers.   When employees are deployed with the military, it takes a toll on their families and their work colleagues.  We are required to do more with less because we cannot replace an employee who has been deployed.  While it can be stressful for their co-workers we support their deployments because we realize how essential they are to defending our country.  We are happy to have Detective Southard back among our ranks, and we salute him for his service to our country,” Prosecutor Tyner said.

According to the ESGR website, ESGR has served our country for more than 45 years, fostering a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. These citizen warriors could not defend and protect us at home and abroad without the continued promise of meaningful civilian employment for themselves and their families. ESGR has continued to adapt to meet the needs of Reserve Component members, their families, and America’s employers by joining forces with a network of other national, state, and local government and professional trade organizations.


Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.


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