For Immediate Release: December 4, 2020
Office of The Attorney General
– Gurbir S. Grewal, Attorney General
For Further Information:
TRENTON – On the one-year anniversary of the Attorney General’s announcement of the state’s “Excellence in Policing Initiative,” Governor Phil Murphy and Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced the winners of the first-ever Attorney General’s Excellence in Policing Awards.
Governor Murphy delivered opening remarks at today’s virtual ceremony and highlighted the tremendous service displayed by New Jersey’s law enforcement agencies, officers and professionals. Through the Excellence in Policing Initiative, New Jersey is creating a national model for building community trust. Additional law enforcement leaders participating in the virtual event included Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police; Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez, President of the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey; and Voorhees Police Chief Louis Bordi, President of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.
For video of the event: https://youtu.be/2PEUYlCo_H8
“One year ago today, I was joined by some of our state’s most dedicated law enforcement leaders to announce the Excellence in Policing Initiative, a comprehensive set of law enforcement policies designed to enhance public safety and public trust and to promote the professionalism, accountability, and transparency that are the hallmarks of our finest law enforcement agencies,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Today, I am honored to announce the recipients of our inaugural Excellence in Policing Awards— eight exemplary awardees who through their dedication, ingenuity, and commitment have built community trust and have bettered their profession. While this season is fraught with challenges, let us hold fast to these shining star examples, so that together we can make a difference and build trust in the communities we serve.”
The following Excellence in Policing Awards were awarded today:
The Detective Joseph Seals Valor Award honors a police officer who demonstrated an act of extraordinary bravery or heroism in the line of duty. The award honors Detective Joseph Seals, a 13-year veteran of the Jersey City Police Department, who lost his life in the line of duty in December 2019. Detective Seals’ actions in December 2019 likely saved the lives of many others. Detective Seals was not a stranger to heroism; in 2008, he broke through a window and stopped the rape of a 41-year-old woman on Christmas Eve. The Detective Joseph Seals Valor Award was bestowed posthumously to Patrolman Sean C. Peek of the Bridgeton City Police Department, who lost his life on September 6, 2020, in the line of duty.
The Detective Pablo Santiago Resiliency Award honors a police officer who developed an innovative program or initiative to improve officer safety and wellness. The award honors Mercer County Sheriff’s Officer Detective Pablo Santiago who lost his life to suicide in December 2018. Detective Santiago’s untimely death was the inspiration for the Attorney General’s Statewide Law Enforcement Resiliency Program. The Detective Pablo Santiago Resiliency Award was presented to Patrol Sergeant Antonia Gonzalez of the Long Branch Police Department.
The Attorney General’s 21/21 Award honors a county prosecutor’s office that exhibited outstanding community outreach efforts in advancing the Attorney General’s 21 County 21st Century Community Policing Project. The Attorney General’s 21/21 Award was presented to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the leadership of Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II.
The Attorney General’s Initiative Award honors a police department or county prosecutor’s office that demonstrated outstanding efforts toward advancing one of the Attorney General’s key initiatives, namely “Combatting the Opioid Crisis,” “Reducing Gun Violence” and “Police-Community Relations.” The Attorney General’s Initiative Award was presented to the New Jersey State Parole Board for their Swift, Certain and Fair Sanctions (SCF) Supervision Initiative.
The Innovations in Public Safety Award honors a police department or county prosecutor’s office that developed an innovative program or initiative utilizing community policing practices or community-based intervention services to promote public safety. This may also include the use of technology to effectively promote community engagement and outreach. The Innovations in Public Safety Award was presented to the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, under the leadership of Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McCrae, for the series “Coping with COVID.”
The Outstanding Community Partnership Award honors a police department or county prosecutor’s office that implemented or strengthened a community partnership or collaboration with community stakeholders to advance public safety. The Outstanding Community Partnership Award was presented to the Collingswood Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Kevin Carey, for the Police Chief’s Advisory Committee.
The Outstanding Youth Engagement Award honors a police officer who designed and implemented an innovative program or initiative to promote stronger police-youth engagement. The Outstanding Youth Engagement Award was presented to Detective Anthony Carrington III from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Major Crimes Unit, for the MOVE Project.
The Police Chaplain of the Year Award honors an exceptional chaplain who goes above and beyond the normal duties of a police chaplain to serve the needs of the department and community. This year’s Police Chaplain of the Year Award was presented to Pastor Terrence “TK” Porter of Pilgrim Baptist Church of Red Bank, who serves as Chaplain to the Monmouth County Chiefs Association.