NEWARK, NJ (Essex County) – Governor Philip D. Murphy, Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan Wednesday presented badges to New Jersey’s newest state troopers during the graduation ceremony at the Prudential Center in Newark.
The 161st New Jersey State Police Class graduated 138 men and 6 women. Of this graduating class, 139 have college degrees, 62 are prior military, and 29 have prior law enforcement experience. Among the class, 44 were college athletes, 9 were firefighters, and 4 were emergency medical technicians. During training, four graduating troopers had children born, and cumulatively the class had 15 family members pass away.
Traditional State Police recruits endure 24 weeks of strenuous physical and academic training consisting of classroom lessons and practical training scenarios. Recruits would report to the State Police academy in Sea Girt before dawn on Monday morning and would not return home until dismissal on Friday evening. This class has had an academy experience unlike any other. The recruits of the 161st Class reported to the State Police Academy on Monday, November 2 at 6:00 a.m. and have remained at the academy for the duration of their training. Our academy staff worked long and irregular hours to ensure that this class met all of the prerequisite criteria to become a New Jersey State Trooper despite the tremendous obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, which included training on weekends and routine COVID-19 testing of both recruits and academy staff.
This graduating class spent several holidays away from their families in their unwavering pursuit to become New Jersey State Troopers. Today was the first time that many of their family members have seen them in months.
The newly graduated troopers have been assigned to stations throughout the state, and over the next few months, they will begin their careers under the watchful eye of their Trooper-Coaches and supervisors.
“Given the unique challenges posed by the pandemic, the graduates of our 161st Class have truly embodied the ideals of the New Jersey State Police – Honor, Duty, and Fidelity,” Murphy said. “They’ve made many sacrifices during their training, including spending months away from their families. I’m honored to welcome our newest law enforcement officers as they begin this exciting chapter of their professional careers.”
“I offer my heartfelt congratulations and deepest gratitude to the graduates of the 161st Class. The sacrifices you have made in these unprecedented times to achieve this extraordinary milestone will culminate in a rewarding career of service,” said Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “Through completion of this rigorous training, you have proven yourselves to be dedicated and loyal public servants. I am confident that as you embark on your career, you will protect and honor the people of New Jersey by leading with bravery and compassion for others.”
“These troopers enter law enforcement not only on the 100-year anniversary of the state police, but also at the intersection of a global health pandemic and a national reckoning on issues of race and justice,” Grewal said. “While the challenges they face have never been greater, so too are the opportunities they possess. As the most visible symbols of law enforcement in our state, I am confident that they will do tremendous good and help maintain the critical trust of all the communities they serve.”
“As the New Jersey State Police embarks on its one-hundredth year of service, the journey of the 161st Class begins the final chapter of our centennial, and while their road to becoming New Jersey State Troopers is unique, their dedication, perseverance and resolve is not. Only those who have demonstrated the ability to adapt and evolve in an ever-changing environment have earned the right to proudly wear our badge and call themselves a New Jersey State Trooper,” said Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “As these new troopers prepare to embark on their new assignments to serve the citizens of this state, I know that they are fully prepared for the challenges that lie ahead, and that they are ready to lead the way for our next 100 years of service.”
In addition to honoring all graduates from the 161st Class, Colonel Callahan presented the following awards:
- The recipient of the “Father Grady Award” is Trooper Kyle Fauvell. This award is presented to the recruit with the highest academic average.
- The recipient of the “Captain Baxter Award” is Trooper William Pope. This award is presented to the recruit with the highest marksmanship average.
- The recipient of the “H. Norman Schwarzkopf Award” is Trooper Chad Haegele. This award is presented to the recruit with the highest physical average.
- The recipient of the “Commandant’s Award” is Trooper Robert Shalikar. This award is presented to the outstanding recruit selected by the academy instructors.
- The recipient of the “Lieutenant James Walsh Award” is Trooper James Heitzer. This award is presented to the person who exhibited dedication, commitment, loyalty, and unselfishness during training.
- The recipient of the “Superintendent’s Award” is Trooper Craig Morton. This award is presented to the outstanding recruit selected by his or her peers.