TRENTON - Flags at all state buildings in New Jersey will be lowered to half-staff on Friday to honor a police officer who died in the gym of his department's headquarters last week.

Gov. Chris Christie ordered the honor for Manchester Township police Officer Scott Thompson. The 47-year-old died last Friday morning after collapsing while exercising.

Christie says his selfless devotion to public service and protecting others "makes him a hero and a true role model for all New Jerseyans."

The 47-year-old who was slated for a promotion to the rank of corporal joined the force in February 1999. The department says he was honored with a meritorious service award last year for peacefully resolving an incident with a mentally ill patient.

He began his law enforcement career as a special officer in Seaside Park in 1986 and then graduated from the Ocean County Police Academy in 1987. He later worked in the South Toms River and Lakehurst police departments.

Thompson is survived by his wife, Tracy, and daughters Kelsey and Sydney.