The man who has led the New Jersey State Police since 2003 is retiring.
Colonel Rick Fuentes, who has served as state police superintendent for 14 years, submitted a letter of resignation, announcing his retirement, Wednesday morning. Fuentes will retire effective Nov. 1.
Gov. Chris Christie simultaneously announced that he will appoint Lieutenant Colonel Patrick J. Callahan to become the 15th Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
“I want to thank Colonel Fuentes, who has served our state with honor and integrity, for his strong leadership through the many challenges we have faced, including Superstorm Sandy, and wish him well in the future,” said Christie, in a statement. “We are fortunate to have Lt. Col. Callahan, who has had a distinguished career with the New Jersey State Police and is a proven leader. We are lucky to have such an accomplished law enforcement professional who will continue the tradition of excellence established by Rick Fuentes.”
Fuentes was selected as superintendent by Gov. James McGreevey and first enlisted in the State Police in January 1978. He served the Division of State Police throughout the state, including assignments as a general road duty Trooper in central and southern New Jersey, and an instructor at the Sea Girt training academy. He also was a supervisor with the FBI/NJSP Joint Terrorism Task Force, Narcotics Units, and the Street Gang Unit. Prior to being named Superintendent, he was assigned as the Chief of the Intelligence Bureau, overseeing nine units within the Intelligence Section.
While Superintendent, Fuentes was recognized nationally, serving as a member of the U.S. Attorney General’s Global Advisory Committee, the Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Partners Troup of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Harvard University’s Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety.
Callahan, who has been a state trooper since 1995, earned his Bachelor of Arts from Villanova University and a Master of Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He was most recently the Deputy Superintendent of Operations, supervising and directing the operational activities of the 1,800 enlisted members assigned to Field Operations, as well as the operational duties and responsibilities of the Traffic and Public Safety Office, Victims Services Unit, Fatal Accident Investigation Unit, Highway Traffic Safety Unit, and the Criminal Investigations Offices within Field Operations.
Callahan served as the Recovery Bureau Chief in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and worked with state and federal partners to develop and implement long term recovery effort strategies. He served as the commanding officer of the Emergency Management Section and Assistant State director of the Office of Emergency Management. He was the chairman of the Command and Control subcommittee of the Emergency Management section when New Jersey hosted Super Bowl XLVIII, working to develop and implement all operations undertaken by the Public Safety Compound.
“I am truly humbled and honored that Governor Christie has the trust and confidence in me to afford me this opportunity and I look forward to the continued privilege of serving the citizens of New Jersey,” said Callahan.
Callahan is the son of a retired State Police major, Mick Callahan, who served as chief of staff for Colonel Clinton Pagano, the 9th Superintendent of State Police. Callahan and his wife, Linda, have two sons and two daughters.