With the era of the 1960's, the complexities of policing the state
were compounded. The ever-increasing need for modern methods of
police work led to an increase in the professionalism of the organization.
On March 6 and 7, 1962, a savage snow-laden northeast storm spread
death and destruction from Virginia to New England. Hundreds of
people were evacuated from their coastal homes, while inland wet
snow clogged roads and cut off electric service to thousands of
Troop A responded to Long Beach Island and the southern New Jersey
shore area to evacuate stranded victims, set up communications to
the disaster area, establish strategic dismounted posts and patrols
to prevent looting, and to search the floating debris for bodies.
Meanwhile, State Police personnel assigned to the Division of Civil
Defense and Disaster Control Section activated the state control
center and channeled to proper authorities with the greatest of
expediency. The Office of Emergency Planning established temporary
headquarters at the state control center, processing requests for
The single worst tragedy to befall the Division would occur on June
1, 1962, with the deaths of Tprs. Milan Simcak #999, Joseph P. DeFrino
#1605, and Arthur J. Abagnale Jr. #1671. The tragedy occurred on
the New Jersey Turnpikes Passaic River Bridge, where the three
troopers, traveling together, were struck by a bus, killing them
The portraits of the three troopers to this day hang in a place
of honor at the Newark Turnpike Station and serve as a reminder
to all troopers entering or leaving the station of the dangers involved
in patrolling New Jerseys heavily-traveled highways.
The Planning Section, in conjunction with the Academy, was responsible
for the institution of the trooper-coach training program with the
graduation of the 61st recruit class in June 1963.
Upon completion of the twelve-week pre-service course, probationary
troopers were placed under the direct control of trooper-coaches
for an eight-week period. At the conclusion of the coach program,
the new troopers returned to the academy for a two-week in-service
Prior to 1963, new troopers were assigned to ride with experienced
troopers for a month or so, but not formally evaluated. Although
the new program shortened the original 16-week course, it allowed
for an additional six weeks of supervised training before final
assignment. The program also allowed for an additional recruit class
to be trained each year.
In 1963, Colonel Dominick R. Capello was appointed to succeed Colonel
Rutter. During 1964, the Division was assigned to one of the largest
security details in its history, providing police protection for
the Democratic National Convention which was held in Atlantic City.
The absence of the incidents which had plagued the Republican Convention
earlier, and the problems at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago,
bolstered the opinions of many who declared it was the best
policed convention in recent years.
Colonel David B. Kelly was appointed Superintendent in 1965, during
a time of dynamic and tumultuous change for the nation, the state
and the State Police. The ability to deal with civil and racial
disturbances was tested throughout the 1960's.
During 1967, State Police personnel were charged with riot control
in the violence-stricken cities of Newark and Plainfield. Throughout
these turbulent times, Division personnel were tested both as individuals
and as a disciplined unit working as a whole.
The fact that the Division responded effectively was clearly evidenced
in the Governors directive that the State Police conduct training
in riot control for all police agencies in the state. Thus, Operation
Combine, a training program for command and tactical control
of civil disorder, was established.
As a result of this program, a statewide response strategy for municipal,
county, and state agencies and the ALERT radio system for interagency
communication during disasters, was implemented.
After the civil disturbances of 1967, the Division realized the
need for a utility uniform. Thus, the Class B Uniform
was added to the Troopers clothing issue.
Earlier in the decade (1961), a somewhat small but important change
in the State Police uniform would occur. The addition of a name
bar to be worn over the right front pocket of both the summer and
winter uniform was adopted, with little of the fanfare that had
occurred with the change from boots and breeches to slacks and military
shoes some three years earlier.
In June 1967, the State Police again was tasked with another large
security detail. A Summit Conference in the Town of
Glassboro, New Jersey would bring together the two most powerful
men in the world. President Lyndon B. Johnson and Premier Aleksei
N. Kosygin of the Soviet Union were to meet for the first time to
discuss matters of mutual interest.
The Summit was held at the Glassboro Colleges President home,
named Hollybush on the campus of the State College at
Glassboro. With the world watching, the State Police again performed
its duties in an exemplary manner.
During the late 1960's, the Division continued to accrue added responsibilities
and achieve higher degrees of recognition. The end of the decade
witnessed an increased public awareness of the violent nature of
The Division again became a pioneer in new investigative efforts.
Intelligence and Organized Crime Task Force Bureaus were created
to monitor and interdict organized criminal groups.
As the legislature originated and enacted new laws governing electronic
surveillance, witness immunity, statewide grand jury, gun control
and uniform crime reporting codes, the New Jersey State Police was
charged with the enforcement of these laws to wage war against organized
This added responsibility delegated to the Division gave rise to
the formation of the Electronic Surveillance Unit and the expansion
of the Intelligence Bureau.
In 1967, the Attorney General authorized the New Jersey State Police
to collect and collate crime data received from law enforcement
agencies within the state.
The Uniform Crime Reporting Unit receives monthly and annual summary
crime reports from 484 full-time municipal police departments and
submits an annual report which extensively delineates those statistics.
In 1968, the Divisions awards program was expanded to include
an annual event that exemplified the highest level of performance
accomplished by our Troopers.
The Trooper of the Year award was established to honor the outstanding
performance of a Trooper during that year. The Divisions first
recipient was Tpr. John Billick #1494.
In 1969, the State Police acknowledged the need for scientific analysis
of evidence gathered during criminal investigations. This led to
the creation of the Central Laboratory in West Trenton.
Since that time, the demand for our services has increased to such
an extent that four Regional Labs were established to service the
needs of the law enforcement community throughout the state.
This time frame also saw the creation of the Division Traffic Bureau
to enforce traffic safety laws and a Tactical Patrol Research and
Analysis Unit to identify target areas for selective enforcement
and assist local police departments in handling specific traffic
The present Aviation Unit was formed in 1969 and was known as the
Helicopter Patrol Bureau. Its main function was traffic patrols.
Since that time, the unit has expanded to include a fixed wing aircraft
and its responsibilities have increased to include medevac services,
criminal surveillance, and executive transportation.