Mount Olive High School Grad Named Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police

Photo courtesy of Col. Patrick Callahan

 

By Steve Sears

Mount Olive High School graduate and school Hall of Famer, Colonel Patrick Callahan, was recently named Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.

Callahan was officially sworn is as Superintendent on January 12, 2022. 

Per Callahan, a 26-year trooper veteran, his roles both as Colonel and Superintendent are interchangeable. “The reason I am a cabinet member is because I’m the State Director of the Office of Emergency Management. Whether that’s a hurricane, whether that’s a snowstorm, whether that’s a pandemic, all roads run to the Office of Emergency Management from a planning logistics, finance, and coordination standpoint.”

Callahan, who is 52 and whose dad was also a New Jersey State Trooper for 29 years, details his background. “I started out as a road trooper in Somerville, Washington Township, and Perryville, which I loved and still love to this day,” he says. “It was different every day.” He then served as a station detective and in other various roles, and in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, he assisted the Attorney General’s office trying to get federal funding to all of the state’s 21 counties. “That was probably one of the hardest jobs I had,” he says. “It was literally a one-person show, and it was a heck of a learning experience. I got to work with federal, state, county, and local partners, and it was just a great learning experience for me.” 

Callahan’s next stop was as Chief Financial Officer for the division when Superstorm Sandy raged through the state. “I ended up soon after that being the Recovery Bureau Chief,” he says. “A lot of folks don’t know that the emergency management component is built into the New Jersey State Police. There are two states in the country that have that, us and the state of Michigan, and we find that it works. Being basically responsible for all of the federal FEMA funding that came to the state, the state police are responsible for that. So that was a huge, huge undertaking, and another phenomenal learning experience – our partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA. Obviously now, during a pandemic, those relationships and partnerships are certainly paying off.” 

Callahan’s next role was as Major of the Office of Emergency Management followed by Lieutenant of the administrative branch, and then Col. Joseph R. Fuentes asked Callahan to be Lieutenant Colonel of road operations, overseeing 1,800 road troopers. “That was kind of like going back to where I started, and that to me was one of the highlights of my career,” Callahan says. After the retirement of Col. Fuentes in 2017, then-Governor Chris Christie appointed Callahan as the 14th Colonel of the New Jersey State Police. “It’s been a humbling experience, and I’ve been honored to serve in this role for over the last four years.”

Callahan, who is a 1987 graduate of Mount Olive High School, attended also Sandshore Elementary School and Mount Olive Middle School, and played football first and then wrestled as a Marauder prior to playing rugby at the University of Villanova. “I was a fullback and a winger in rugby, which was again a phenomenal battle out there for 80 minutes, but just a great experience.” Callahan also states that service when not in uniform is important and valuable as well. “I’ve been heavily involved in mission trips to Appalachia and Haiti, just giving back and kind of going out and working with the marginalized, which is also a big part of law enforcement. It’s not all about what we do when we’re in uniform. I think it’s just important to remain engaged when not in uniform, and that we give back in that capacity, too.”

Callahan knows the public expects compassionate, professional law enforcement officers to show up and guide them through their crisis, and he expects that as well. “Our troopers are known to embrace that scrutiny because they’re held to a higher standard, as they should be. And I just ask that they don’t do anything to embarrass the state police, their family, or themselves. If they go out with that in mind, I think that’s why we’ve made it 100 years with a phenomenal group of women and men that are viewed across the nation as amongst the best.”

 

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