Six Morris County Sheriff’s Office recruits joined 58 fellow Officers on a stage Wednesday at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany for their graduation from the 20-week 93rd Basic Police Training Class.
The Officers working for the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Law Enforcement will formally start on Monday, December 2, after being sworn in by Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon.
The Sheriff was on the stage with other dignitaries – Morris County Freeholders Stephen Shaw and Deborah Smith and Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp – and officials from the county’s Public Safety Training Academy, where the basic police training class was conducted.
Butler Police Chief Ciro Chimento, president of the Morris County Chiefs of Police Association, presented most of the 64 recruits with their commencement certificates unless their relatives who are in law enforcement elected to. The class started out with 74 recruits, 10 of whom left the training before graduation.
“We are thrilled that six bright and motivated recruits with absolute integrity will be Officers of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office. We welcome them and their diverse backgrounds and life experiences, knowing they will enhance the Bureau of Law Enforcement,” Sheriff Gannon said.
The new Officers are: Haider Asif, Travis Dean, Stephen Nowatkowski, Jennifer Powers, Anthony Walsh and Chelsea Whiting.
They all will begin their duties in the Bureau of Law Enforcement’s Protective Services Division, whose Officers are entrusted with protecting Superior Court judges and providing security at the Morris County Courthouse and Morris County Administration and Records building.
The other graduates are joining law enforcement agencies around New Jersey, including the Sussex County, Hudson and Bergen county Sheriff’s Offices, New Jersey Transit Police Department, and Randolph, Harding, East Hanover, Rockaway Township, Montville, Lincoln Park, Denville, Jefferson and Morristown Police Departments.
Before an audience of hundreds of family members, friends and law enforcement Officers, the graduates were led into the Birchwood Manor’s ballroom by the Morris County Honor Guard and the Morris County Police Pipes and Drum Corps.
East Hanover Police Captain Jack Ambrose, a beloved, demanding drill sergeant at the Public Safety Training Academy for 25 years, kept the recruits in sharp formation. The 93rd Basic Police Training Class was his last and he retired Wednesday after 33 years with the East Hanover Township Police Department. He was drill instructor for 2,383 basic police training recruits while at the Academy for 25 years.
Graduation Guest Speaker John Cunningham, administrator of the New Jersey Police Training Commission, told the recruits that integrity is the greatest asset of a law enforcement Officer and can’t be retrieved once it is lost.
“There’s only one person that can compromise your integrity and that’s you,” he said.
Administrator Cunningham reminded the recruits to keep their families close because they will need the support in a challenging career that requires sacrifices. And, he said, perform the job so that the community puts its trust in the police.
“The bond of trust you build with members of the community is oh so important,” he said. “You don’t serve yourself.”
The ceremony included remarks by Morris County 200 Club President Bill Lockwood, Academy Rangemaster Mark Meehan, Assistant Academy Rangemaster Paul Carifi Jr., and Class President Savino A. Balducci, who is joining the Livingston Police Department.
The new Morris County Sheriff’s Officers are:
- HAIDER ASIF. He was born in Lahore, Pakistan and emigrated to the United States with his family in 1991. He graduated Morris Hills High School in 2008 and attended County College of Morris before joining the U.S. Army as a Calvary Scout in 2010. From 2010 to 2011, he served in Baghdad, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 5th Squadron, 4th Calvary Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division. After his honorable discharge, he earned a bachelor’s degree in justice studies from Montclair State University, and attained his master’s degree in protection management in 2018 from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
- TRAVIS DEAN. He graduated Morris Knolls High School and attended Lincoln Technical Institute for Automotive Technologies. He then worked in the heavy construction industry and joined the Denville Volunteer Fire Department. He was hired by the Morris County Bridge Department, where he worked as a bridge repairer and also joined the Morris County Haz-Mat team. He now is a certified EMT, Haz-Mat Technician, and a Pro-Board Certified firefighter. He was hired by the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections and in July of 2019 transferred to the Bureau of Law Enforcement.
- STEPHEN NOWATKOWSKI. He was born in North Carolina and relocated back to New Jersey with his family when his father completed service with the U.S. Marine Corps. He graduated Jefferson Township High School and initially pursued a career in the automotive industry. He held multiple managerial positions for companies that include Harley Davidson, Toyota, and Hyundai. He began pursuing a degree in computer science, concentrating on cybersecurity, and recognized a strong desire to work in law enforcement that led to his hiring in July 2019 by the Morris County Sheriff’s Office.
- JENNIFER POWERS. She was raised in Cedar Grove, graduated from Cedar Grove High School in 2008 and afterwards studied criminal justice at County College of Morris. She enlisted in the New Jersey National Guard as a wheeled vehicle mechanic in 2014, and was a full-time technician for the National Guard at Picatinny Arsenal.
- ANTHONY WALSH. He graduated Parsippany Hills High School, and also attended a summer camp run by the Morris County Park Police for three years. He served as a counselor for two of those years. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in justice studies and a minor in justice and families from Montclair State University. While in college, he interned with the Parsippany Police Department and with a private investigation firm.
- CHELSEA WHITING. She graduated from Randolph High School in 2011 and attained an associate’s degree in criminal justice from County College of Morris. She attained a bachelor’s degree in justice studies, with dual concentrations in justice systems and paralegal studies from Montclair State University. She was hired by the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections, where she stayed for more than a year before transferring to the Bureau of Law Enforcement.