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Colonel Callahan prioritizes community outreach and trooper resiliency as State Police embarks on its 100th year anniversary

NEW JERSEY – Colonel Patrick J. Callahan announced Wednesday his priorities for the New Jersey State Police as the Division enters its one-hundredth year of service. In 1921, Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf, our first colonel and founder of the New Jersey State Police, issued General Order #1, which states “It shall be the duty of the members of the New Jersey State Police to prevent crime and pursue and apprehend offenders. Members should bear in mind that the prevention of crime is of greater importance than the punishment of criminals. The force individually and collectively should cultivate and maintain the good opinion of the people by prompt obedience to all lawful commands, by a steady and impartial line of conduct in the discharge of its duties, and by a respectful bearing to all classes.”

As the Division enters its one hundredth year, Colonel Callahan has recommitted the agency to its foundation of community service by creating the Office of Employee Relations & Community Outreach, which focuses on enhancing both our external outreach to New Jersey communities and internal outreach to our enlisted and civilian personnel. The newly created Office of Employee Relations & Community Outreach will be commanded by Major Carla Thomas and will include the creation of the Diversity and Inclusion Unit, which will be tasked with a variety of internal and external functions such as creating annual training for enlisted and civilian personnel, developing strategic plans to create inclusive and respectful workplaces, and assisting with recruiting and with community outreach efforts.

The section will be responsible for weaving community engagement into the fabric of the daily encounters of the Division’s 4,000 enlisted and civilian members, whether it is through a traffic stop, a motorist aid, a town hall meeting, a community event, an investigation, or a simple phone call, in an endeavor to enhance relationships where they exist and to establish relationships and instill trust in communities where they do not exist and to foster the compassion and call to service of every trooper from their first day on the job to their last.

The new Office of Employee Relations and Community Outreach shall consist of two bureaus. The Employee Health and Wellness Bureau will provide services to both enlisted and civilian employees to support their physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being. The bureau’s mission compliments the Attorney General’s “Officer Resiliency Directive,” which is a first-in-the-nation statewide program to train officers in resiliency and help them become better equipped to handle the daily stress of police work that, when left unchecked, may lead to physical ailments, depression, and burnout. The mental health of troopers is a vital component to their ability to protect and serve the public.

The Employee Health and Wellness Bureau will be comprised of the following units:

  • Employee and Organization Development Unit – The EOD Unit is staffed by licensed clinicians who provide confidential employee assistance services including assessment, counseling, and referral for workplace and behavioral health issues to all enlisted and civilian Division members and their family members.
  • Peer Assistance Unit – The unit is staffed by enlisted members who offer similar employee assistance and counseling that the EOD Unit provides with a focus on the needs of the enlisted members of the Division.
  • Medical Services Unit – Medical Services Unit is staffed by medical professionals who oversee the health and well-being of all employees and is responsible for health-related functions such as, coordinating annual medical examinations for troopers, maintaining medical records for enlisted members, and recommending duty status evaluations to the Superintendent.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Unit – The newly created unit will establish annual training for enlisted and civilian members, assist with the recruiting program, and enhance outreach initiatives. The members of the unit will be tasked with developing strategic plans to create inclusive and respectful workplaces throughout Division. The importance of creating an internal culture that embraces diversity and inclusion will create an environment where current members of different races, genders, ethnicities, and sexual orientations can flourish.

The Community Outreach Bureau will expand the Division’s mission of establishing meaningful partnerships with the members of the communities we serve. Colonel Callahan is committed to ensuring that all enlisted members are engaged in community outreach. In the past, the bureau has created initiatives that have been effective in promoting transparency in Division practices such as the New Jersey State Police Citizens Academy. The Citizens Academy consisted of community leaders, faith-based leaders, and members of the New Jersey community from across the state who committed to an eight-week program, which was created to inform a group of citizens who represent a cross section of New Jersey, about the responsibilities, capabilities, operations, and procedures of the New Jersey State Police. The Community Outreach Bureau will also oversee the State Police Chaplain Program, which provides spiritual and grief counseling services to members of the Division. Each of the units within the bureau have an outreach component to their mission. By combining resources and personnel, the State Police will be able to enhance the effectiveness of its outreach programs and services.

The Community Outreach Bureau will oversee the following units:

  • Public Information Unit – The Public Information Unit serves as the primary liaison between Division personnel and members of the community. The unit is also responsible for issuing press releases, organizing press conferences, preparing statements on behalf of the Division, gathering and providing information at the request of media, facilitating media interviews for both enlisted and civilian members, and managing the NJSP social media accounts.
  • Open Public Records Unit – The Open Public Records Unit provides a service to the public by providing State Police records, reports, and documents as set forth by the Open Public Records Act.
  • Recruiting Unit – The Recruiting Unit is responsible for the recruitment of qualified applicants who are representative of the citizens of New Jersey. The unit supervises the Division’s recruiting program including the coordination and presentation of career programs and community relations activities to civic, fraternal, college, and government groups.
  • Outreach Unit – The mission of the Outreach Unit is to promote and foster positive relationships within the community using proactive educational programs in schools such as bicycle safety and teen driving education. The unit also assists with school security concerns, emergency drill best practices, and community policing initiatives to districts statewide.

“For 100 years, the New Jersey State Police have protected and served the people of New Jersey–true to their motto—with honor, duty and fidelity. Under the steadfast leadership of Colonel Callahan, they are well-prepared to continue and build on this proud tradition as they enter their second century,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “With the innovations and changes announced today, Colonel Callahan is challenging the State Police to look both inward and outward, and work to foster a resilient and diverse workforce that will continue to build relationships of trust with communities across New Jersey. By supporting healthy officers, we also support healthy community relations, as we recognized in implementing our statewide officer resiliency program.”

“Nearly one hundred years ago, our General Order #1 directed all troopers to cultivate and maintain the good opinion of the people of the State. That order has never changed and neither has our commitment to fulfill it. As a result of this newly created section, we have aligned units with complimentary missions that will not only allow us to strengthen our current partnerships externally, but allow us to expand our outreach capabilities and establish new relationships throughout the state. Internally, our Employee Health and Wellness Bureau will ensure that our troopers are offered essential services for their physical and mental well-being, which will greatly assist them in dealing with the stresses of working in law enforcement,” Callahan said. “Building upon our relationships with the community is not possible without ensuring that our troopers are equipped with the tools necessary to enhance their physical and emotional health.”

“On behalf of the chaplains of the New Jersey State Police, as we move forward under the leadership of Colonel Callahan, we are taking a wholistic approach to ensure our troopers, civilians, and the residents of our state work together in a partnership that will make all of us unified as a community of one,” said Reverend John R. Taylor, Pastor of Friendship Baptist Church and Chief Chaplain of the New Jersey State Police.

Colonel Callahan is also announced the promotions of following members, who will join his command staff to help lead the Division with these initiatives and the broad scope of responsibilities critical to the State Police mission: Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Korte, Branch Commander, Homeland Security Branch; Major Carla Thomas, Commanding Officer, Office of Employee Relations & Community Outreach; Major Peter Velez, Field Operations Section, Troop “B” Commander; Major Brian Foody, Field Operations Section, Troop “A” Commander.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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