2018 News Release

February 22, 2018

Public Information Bureau (609) 882-2000
Major Brian Polite - ext. 6514
Lt. Theodore Schafer - ext. 6515
SFC Jeff Flynn - ext. 6516
Sgt. Lawrence Peele - ext. 6531
Tpr. Alejandro Goez - ext. 6527

State Police Announces 2017 Trooper of the Year Recipients

Troopers Deactivated Two Live Explosive after 2016 Terrorist Attack in Seaside Park

West Trenton, N.J. - Colonel Patrick Callahan earlier today announced Detective Sergeant James Abbes and Detective I Stephen Christinzio as the recipients of the 2017 Trooper of the Year Award for deactivating two live Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) that were found in a garbage bin after an apparent terrorist attack in Seaside Park, N.J.

On September 17, 2016, Detective Sergeant Abbes and Detective 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. 

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.

“Detective Sergeant Abbes and Detective Christinzio performed with calm and focus while under extreme stress, ensuring the safety of others first before risking their own lives to execute their mission, without the luxury of knowing if there were more components of the attack yet to be acted,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.  “The actions of both troopers have made all of us in the State Police, past and present, proud and honored to call them Troopers of the Year.”

Annually, the New Jersey State Police will select an enlisted member or members to be the recipient of the “Trooper of the Year Award.” Recipients are awarded a red ribbon encased by a gold frame, which is to always be worn on the uniform.  It is the highest honor a trooper can receive from within the Division.  All recipients are honored for their outstanding performances, an honor which reflects great credit upon themselves and the New Jersey State Police.

Photo of Detective Sergeant James Abbes

Detective Sergeant James Abbes

Photo of Detective I Stephen Christinzio

Detective I Stephen Christinzio

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