Police Honor Fallen Officer
Lodge to carry Conklin's name
by Pauline Greenberg

MONROE - The Fraternal Order of Police was the type of lodge Tuxedo park Police Officer Jason D. Conklin couldn't wait to join. Conklin loved being a cop.  But the rookie officer never got the chance to join the fraternity.

Last night the new Monroe chapter dedicated their lodge to their fallen comrade : The Fraternal Order of Police Jason D. Conklin Memorial Lodge 957.

Conklin, 22, was killed in the line of duty August 21 when his police sport utility vehicle overturned while in pursuit of a speeder.  He had graduated from the Rockland County Police Academy two months earlier.

Lodge President Neil O'Riordan said he nevr met Conklin, but he considered him a brother.

Conklin grew up in Monroe dreaming of becoming a police officer.  O'Riordan said it's fitting that the Monroe lodge honor him.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians hall, which is serving as the temporary home for the FOP lodge, was packed with fellow officers, family, friends, and many local politicians who came to honor Conklin.

After the lodge officers were officially sworn in, Rep. Ben Gilman, R-Greenville, presented the Conklin family with a memorial plaque naming the lodge. "Jason was taken far too prematurely," Gilman said.

Conklin's parents and his brother, Tuxedo Police Officer David Conklin, wrapped their arms around each other, as they tearfully accepted the plaque.

Tuxedo Park Police Chief Bill Bortnowsky and Detective Robert Culhane presented a framed photo of Conklin to O'Riordan on behalf of the family.

"I was proud to serve as his chief," Bortnowsky said.  He asked everyone to carry on Conklin's spirit and tradition.