Trooper of the Year 2010's

"Honor Above All Honors"

Trooper of the Year ribbon


Detective II Frederick Fife #5826

In April of 2006, Detective II Frederick Fife #5826 spearheaded “Operation Phone Flash,” after a 911 call to the Philadelphia Police Department led detectives to investigate reports of the suspicious activity of a group of men living and working in both Pennsylvania and Southern Jersey.

Detective Fife was assigned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is a law enforcement team comprised of officers from multiple agencies. "Operation Phone Flash" was an in-depth, intensive investigation of terrorist activity within the U.S. The operation was eventually deemed a "Major Case" by the FBI, which is the highest designation an investigation can receive. It was one of only 251 cases designated for major case status in the 100-year history of the FBI. Detective II Fife is the first and only task force officer to be named the case agent for an FBI Major Case.

Terrorism experts believe that "Operation Phone Flash" is one of the most significant Hezbollah investigations in U.S. history. The Director of the Washington Institute stated, "These indictments are very significant. Hezbollah has long had financial support networks inside the United States, but seeing it laid out in the details of this indictment is nonetheless startling."

Investigators have uncovered unprecedented intelligence as a result of the investigative platforms established by Detective II Fife. The reverberations of this intelligence are expected to bear fruit for years to come.

Detective II Fife's ambition, determination, and accomplishments are deserving of the honor of being named "Trooper of the Year." His actions are in the finest investigative traditions of the New Jersey State Police. Detective II Fife’s outstanding efforts embody the State Police core values of Honor, Duty, Fidelity.


DSG Edward Fallon #5348

During the period from July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011, while assigned to the New Jersey State Police Fugitive Unit, DSG Fallon initiated 72 investigations leading to the arrest of 77 persons for a variety of offenses, including 10 subjects wanted for murder or attempted murder.  Most notably, DSG Fallon's investigative efforts during the period of January 16-17, 2011 directly led to the arrest of Jahmell Crockam who was wanted for the murder of Lakewood Township Police Officer Christopher Matlosz on January 15, 2011. 

Officer Matlosz was shot and killed as he sat in his patrol car during an encounter with Crockam.  A massive three-day manhunt by members of local, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies was launched.  DSG Fallon personally developed direct information placing Crockam in an apartment in the City of Camden.  In the early morning hours of January 17, 2011, DSG Fallon led a team of multi-agency law enforcement officers and members of the NJSP TEAMS Central Unit who were able to locate Crockam into custody less than 38 hours after the murder of Officer Matlosz.

DSG Fallon's actions have brought great pride and distinction to himself and the Division of State Police.  His commitment and dedication to duty embody the core values of the New Jersey State Police: Honor, Duty, and Fidelity.


Trooper Ryon A. Barclay #7007

On Wednesday, May 2, 2012, two troopers from the State House Security Unit attempted to stop a car on Route 29 in Trenton, the driver refused to stop and a pursuit ensued. As the troopers followed the vehicle onto Interstate 195, Trooper Ryon Barclay #7007 joined to assist, eventually becoming the primary unit. As he was following the vehicle, he observed muzzle flashes coming from the vehicle's sunroof. Trooper Barclay recognized the flashes as gunfire and immediately notified dispatch of the deadly situation.

The pursuit finally ended when the suspect vehicle crashed onto the front lawn of a Brick Township residence. The suspect then got out of his vehicle and ran towards the front door of the home. At this time, Trooper Barclay exited his troop car, assuming the suspect was armed, and repeatedly ordered him to get on the ground with no success. Fearing for his life and the lives of others, Trooper Barclay discharged his service weapon hitting the suspect two times.

Despite being shot, the suspect remained combative and aggressive and had to be subdued by several assisting troopers. No troopers or residents were injured as a result of Trooper Barclay’s quick and decisive actions, and the suspect fully recovered and was charged accordingly.

Trooper Barclay's quick and decisive actions in a deadly force situation were sound and concise. His valor and determination are deserving of the honor of being named "Trooper of the Year." His actions are in the finest traditions of the New Jersey State Police. Trooper Ryon A. Barclay embodies the State Police core values of Honor, Duty, and Fidelity.


Tpr. I Raymond Amato #6018

Tpr. II Thomas Ferrigno #6501

On May 10, 2013, members of the New Jersey State Police were requested to assist Trenton Police Department with barricaded subject who had taken hostages. The event was predicated by a well being check conducted by Trenton police officers. It was reported by relatives that the woman and children who resided at the residence had not been seen or heard from. Trenton City police responded to the residence and forced entry. While inside the residence, officers were briefly confronted by a suspect armed with a handgun. He retreated and barricaded himself in a bedroom and told the officers he had explosives and hostages. Officers were able to confirm that the suspect had three children held hostage. Members of the Technical Response Bureau and Crisis Negotiation Team secured the environment and engaged in negotiations with the suspect that would last several days.

On May 11, 2013, information was gained from the negotiations that the suspect may harm the children on Mother’s Day, which was the following day. He also admitted to having murdered his girlfriend and one of her children. With this information, and after many hours of negotiations with the suspect not giving any concessions or giving up a hostage, a tactical plan was formulated to rescue the hostages during the early morning hours. The plan would incorporate the Division's Technical Emergency and Mission Specialists (T.E.A.M.S.) and Arson/Bomb Unit personnel utilizing explosives to breach the wall of the room occupied by the suspect and the hostages. During the execution of the hostage rescue, T.E.A.M.S. members entered the bedroom. They encountered the suspect who was armed with a knife and a handgun. He was advised numerous times to drop the weapons and he failed to comply. Tpr. I Raymond Amato #6018 approached the suspect who was near the children and pinned him to the ground using a ballistic shield. The suspect, still armed with the weapons, was attempting to physically harm the children. Tpr. II Thomas Ferrigno #6501, who was serving as tactical cover for Tpr. Amato, discharged a single shot from his issued firearm, striking the suspect and neutralizing the threat posed to the children and State Police personnel. The scene was secured and the children, who had been bound with duct tape, were removed to safety where they received medical treatment. Detectives later discovered the suspect’s girlfriend deceased in the bedroom. The suspect was transported for medical treatment and was subsequently pronounced deceased at the hospital.

Although the success of the operation was due to the collective efforts and response by all State Police members who participated, both Troopers Amato and Ferrigno’s selfless efforts and immediate actions stood out as they most certainly saved the lives of the three children held hostage. Their actions have brought great pride and distinction to themselves and the Division of State Police. Their commitment and dedication to duty embody the core values of the New Jersey State Police: Honor, Duty, and Fidelity.


Detective Sergeant Aaron J. Auclair #6056

On February 27, 2014, a large team of interagency investigators spread out across the New York and New Jersey area to investigate violent and armed carjackings.  "Operation Jacked" led to the the arrest of 32 people and the recovery of 179 stolen automobiles valued at more than $10 million dollars.

While this mass investigative effort required unprecedented cooperation and coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, it was Detective Sergeant Auclair’s dedication, leadership, and courage that led to the dismantling of an international auto theft trafficking ring.  His long history with this type of crime has taken him overseas to West Africa, tracking down leads in Ghana, Liberia, and Senegal, and to meet with foreign government leaders to better understand the dynamics of transnational auto theft and trafficking.

The knowledge he gained enabled Detective Sergeant Auclair to bring together investigators from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia to synchronize investigative efforts against traffickers specializing in stealing high-end automobiles from the East Coast, and then smuggling them overseas through Port Newark/Elizabeth.

The success of “Operation Jacked” is largely due to the selfless efforts and professionalism of Detective Sergeant Auclair.  He worked countless irregular hours and place himself in harm's way while pursuing violent offenders that prey on New Jersey’s citizens.

On September 30, 2014, while participating in an early morning surveillance detail, Detective Sergeant Auclair found himself face to face with a carjacker in the City of Newark.  Disregarding his own safety, Detective Sergeant Auclair physically confronted the carjacker, who had a victim still inside the recently carjacked vehicle.  Without posing additional harm to the victim, a struggle ensued in which Detective Sergeant Auclair was forced to discharge his duty weapon striking the suspect before Detective Sergeant Auclair was violently ejected from the vehicle.  These actions led to the release of the victim and the identification and subsequent arrest of the carjacker.  Detective Sergeant Auclair suffered serious injuries as a result of the confrontation with the carjacker.

Detective Sergeant Auclair’s investigative efforts and skills are extraordinary and heroic.  His selfless efforts have brought great pride and distinction to himself and the Division of State Police.  Detective Sergeant Auclair’s commitment and dedication exemplify the core values of the New Jersey State Police: Honor, Duty, and Fidelity.


Detective Sergeant Glenn A. Garrels #5897

During a one-year period, Detective Sergeant Glenn A. Garrels #5897 demonstrated extraordinary performance during numerous homicide and other high-profile investigations.  Detective Sergeant Garrels personally led six notable and individually complex homicide investigations which resulted in a one-hundred percent solve rate.  This closure rate is remarkable considering the national homicide solve rate is approximately sixty-five percent.

While assigned as a squad leader within the Major Crime Unit, Detective Sergeant Garrels led homicide investigations in five different counties throughout southern New Jersey.  While guiding his squad, Detective Sergeant Garrels demonstrated outstanding leadership by successfully managing a team of detectives during multiple chaotic and stressful responses to violent crimes.  Most notably, Detective Sergeant Garrels successfully drove three long-term homicide investigations in Atlantic, Cape May, and Cumberland counties that at first glance offered little to no evidence, witnesses, or viable suspects.  Undaunted, Detective Sergeant Garrels and his detectives worked tirelessly while following every potential lead in an effort to garner the truth.

In addition to the successful homicide investigations he led, Detective Sergeant Garrels was also tasked with the unenviable assignment of investigating the brutal murder of three young children by their mother, who immediately after committing this heinous act, took her own life.  Detective Sergeant Garrels also supervised over two dozen suspicious death investigations with meticulous attention to detail.  These investigations included drownings, suicides, infant deaths, deaths of enlisted members, and poisonings.  Each investigation was closed with conclusive findings based on thorough collection and review of all available facts and evidence.

Detective Sergeant Garrels’ unwavering commitment has bolstered the Division’s reputation as a leader in the field of case management and homicide investigation within the State of New Jersey and beyond.  His selfless efforts have brought great pride and distinction to himself and the Division of State Police.  Detective Sergeant Garrels’ dedication exemplifies the core values of the New Jersey State Police; Honor, Duty, and Fidelity.


Trooper I James Agens #6436

Tpr. I James Agens, of the Mobile Safe Freight Unit, is the 2016 Trooper of the Year as a result of his year-long patrol efforts, which led to the seizure of 79 kilograms of heroin and 10 kilograms of cocaine with a total estimated street value of $6.7 million.

As a result of the nationwide heroin epidemic, Colonel Rick Fuentes directed State Police command to initiate a plan to detect and dismantle the bulk amount of heroin being transported to and through New Jersey.  As part of this effort, Tpr. I Agens distinguished himself as a result of his diligent criminal patrol, bulk drug seizures, and unwavering dedication. 

On May 15, 2016, Tpr. I Agens stopped a tractor-trailer in Warren County for a safety inspection.  During the stop, Tpr. I Agens detected evidence of criminal activity, which led to a search and subsequent seizure of 15 kilograms of heroin.  On August 23, 2016, Tpr. I Agens was conducting a commercial vehicle safety inspection in Warren County when he once again detected evidence of criminal activity.  As a result of his investigation, 74 kilograms of heroin and 10 kilograms of cocaine were seized.  This is the largest cold-stop heroin seizure to date in U.S. history.

Tpr. I Agens’ investigative efforts have brought great pride and distinction to himself and the Division of State Police.  Tpr. I Agens’ commitment and dedication exemplify the core values of the New Jersey State Police: Honor, Duty, and Fidelity.


Detective Sergeant James Abbes #5816

Detective I Stephen Christinzio #6217

Photo of Detective Sergeant James Abbes #5816
Detective Sergeant
James Abbes

On September 17, 2016, Detective Sergeant James Abbes and Detective Stephen Christinzio, of the New Jersey State Police Bomb Unit South, were requested to assist the Seaside Park Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office after an explosion that occurred inside a garbage bin along the route of the Semper Five Marine Corp Charity 5K Run.

While donning protective equipment, Detective Sergeant Abbes conducted reconnaissance of the direct area where the explosion occurred.  During the investigation, a secondary suspicious bag was deemed safe and non-explosive, but a partially initiated IED was observed to be moderately intact, still inside the garbage bin. 

Photo of Detective I Stephen Christinzio #6217
Detective I
Stephen Christinzio

Detective Sergeant Abbes and Detective I Christinzio expanded the perimeter, locking down the entire race route while also relocating all law enforcement and citizens to a safe distance.  Once the area was secured, both troopers, who were wearing protective gear, approached the explosives in order to set up specialized equipment to assist with deactivating the device. 

The procedure involved manual approaches and the use of robots and special equipment to remotely remove the IED and dismantle and deactivate the device.  Detectives determined that the IED consisted of three, large pipe bombs linked by a fusing system with two remaining intact and live. 

The selfless efforts and the swift and proficient actions taken by Detective Sergeant James Abbes and Detective I Stephen Christinzio have brought great pride and distinction to themselves and the Division of State Police.  They went above and beyond the call of duty for the safety of the citizens of Seaside and Ocean County.  Their expertise greatly assisted the FBI in identifying the bombing suspect and led to the successful conclusion of this investigation.  Their commitment and dedication exemplify the core values of the New Jersey State Police: Honor, Duty, and Fidelity.

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