Two Stellar Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections Captains Receive Fond Farewell and Walkout Upon Retirements

Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections Captains James Janzen and Robert McCaffrey – both active in planning Correctional Facility programs to curb recidivism – are retiring December 31st with more than 50 years of combined service.

Morris County Sheriff's Office Bureau of Corrections Captains James Janzen and Robert McCaffrey
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections Captains James Janzen and Robert McCaffrey

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, fellow Officers and Staff gave the two Captains a moving send-off on Monday, December 30, that included a breakfast at the Correctional Facility and a traditional walkout ceremony.

With Officers lining a corridor within the facility, a bagpiper and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Joint Honor Guard led the Captains down the line where they embraced and said goodbye to longtime colleagues.

Sheriff Gannon gave the Captains retirement badges, plaques and sketches of the Correctional Facility, and said he will always remember their contributions and regard for the professionalism of the Correctional Facility.

From left, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Captain James Janzen, Correctional Facility Undersheriff Alan Robinson, Captain Robert McCaffrey
From left, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Captain James Janzen, Correctional Facility Undersheriff Alan Robinson, Captain Robert McCaffrey

“They’ve done phenomenal work for this Agency,” the Sheriff said.

“Captains, you’ll always be part of this family here and I appreciate all you have done for a few Sheriffs.  Under good times and bad times, you’ve always stayed steady. I’m personally very appreciative for all you have done,” Sheriff Gannon said.

He added: “These captains were always concerned about the men and women of this Agency, of this Bureau, every day.  You’ll always be welcome here and thank you from the bottom of all of our hearts for all you have done.  Now it’s time to open up chapter two of your lives.”

Captain Janzen was hired by the Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections on July 18, 1994, while Captain McCaffrey was hired less than one month later, on August 8, 1994. Both graduated from separate classes at the Correctional Officers Training Academy in Skillman, N.J.

Captain McCaffrey earned the Academic Award at the Academy while Captain Janzen earned the Top Gun award in his class for firearms proficiency.

Captains Janzen and McCaffrey were two of the Correctional Facility’s most senior Officers and said they will remember the close working bonds they developed with fellow Officers, particularly while working at the former jail in Morristown before the relocation in 2000 to a state-of-the-art facility in Morris Township.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Captain James Janzen, Morris County Correctional Facility Warden Christopher Klein
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Captain James Janzen, Morris County Correctional Facility Warden Christopher Klein

“I love this place and the people I have worked with,” said Captain McCaffrey. “We’re like a family here, and because we’re here 365 days a year we see each other on holidays and birthdays.”

Since Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon took office in January 2017, Captain Janzen, the philosophy toward the inmate population has progressed from one focused on keeping inmates locked down to one committed to reducing recidivism through community re-entry, substance abuse and anger management programs.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the way my career and everything turned out,” Captain Janzen said. “There’s a lot of camaraderie. It’s a different kind of job where you have to rely on each other.”

Captain McCaffrey grew up in Sussex and Morris Counties and then attended high school in Tennessee before returning to New Jersey and graduating from Parsippany High School. He worked as a travel agent and attended County College of Morris before being encouraged to take a Civil Service test that led to his hiring by the Sheriff’s Office.

Morris County Sheriff's Office Bureau of Corrections Captain Robert McCaffrey says goodbye to longtime friends and colleagues at the Morris County Correctional Facility.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections Captain Robert McCaffrey says goodbye to longtime friends and colleagues at the Morris County Correctional Facility.

Captain Janzen grew up in Parsippany and graduated from Parsippany Hills High School before earning an associate’s degree in business at County College of Morris. At CCM, he was a catcher and third baseman for the Titans and participated with his team in 1985 at the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.

He briefly attended Tennessee Wesleyan University on a baseball scholarship before returning to New Jersey for landscaping and archery jobs before he, like Captain McCaffrey, took a Civil Service test and was hired by the Sheriff’s Office.

Both Captains rose steadily through the ranks of Officer, Sergeant, and Lieutenant and worked in nearly all capacities of the Corrections Bureau.

Captain Janzen was promoted to Corporal in 1996 and served in the Intake/Process Unit and the SLAP Processing Unit. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2004 and first worked as Shift Sergeant before he assumed the duties in 2007 of Scheduling Sergeant.

Captain Janzen was promoted to Lieutenant in 2009 and oversaw the Records and SLAP Units, kitchen and scheduling. In 2015, he was elevated to the rank of Captain. He first served as Security Captain and is finishing his career as Administrative Captain in charge of fiscal management, training, health services, scheduling and payroll.

Captain McCaffrey was promoted to Sergeant in 2012, tasked with supervising day-to-day operations of the jail’s housing units. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2014, serving as Shift Commander and Support Services Commander until 2015 when he became Security Lieutenant with oversight over the Intake Unit, inmate discipline, classification and security auditing.

By 2016, he was promoted to Captain. He first started as Security Captain and is ending his career as Support Services Captain, responsible for facility programs, the Records Unit, computers, and purchasing of software programs.

Although he was involved in the creation of the Correctional Facility’s STAR program and Hope Wing, Captain McCaffrey credited Staff members and Sheriff Gannon for the projects that focus on successful re-entry into society and overcoming addiction.

“We have been blessed. There are a lot of good people here who want to do the right thing,” Captain McCaffrey said.

Both Captains have earned accolades during their service, including Captain McCaffrey who received an Honorable Service Medal for preventing an inmate suicide. While Captain Janzen has attained his Public Manager Certification, Captain McCaffrey recently received from CCM his associate’s degree in Criminal Justice.

Captain Janzen said he plans right now just to enjoy life, his family and friends. Captain McCaffrey plans to relocate to Tennessee with his family.

Happier Holidays: Morris County Sheriff’s Officers Raise $4,500 For Family In Need In Madison Borough

Through tremendous generosity, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office has made the holiday season unforgettable for a Madison Borough teenager and his mother, who is in recovery from breast cancer.

Duvi Mendoza and her son Gabriel Suarez hold a symbolic check for $4,500 that represents the amount of money Morris County Sheriff's Officers raised to help them while Duvi recovers from breast cancer surgery.
Duvi Mendoza and her son Gabriel Suarez hold a symbolic check for $4,500 that represents the amount of money Morris County Sheriff’s Officers raised to help them while Duvi recovers from breast cancer surgery.

Duvraska “Duvi” Mendoza and her 17-year-old son, Gabriel Suarez, were brought to the Morris County Correctional Facility on Friday, December 20, by Karen Casolaro, the founder of the Florham Park-based charity Halos For Angels, who kept the mother and son in suspense over the purpose of their visit.

They found Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Bureau of Corrections Undersheriff Alan Robinson, and more than a dozen Officers from the Bureaus of Corrections and Law Enforcement waiting for them with huge smiles and a huge, symbolic check for $4,500 to help them recover financially and emotionally.

“I don’t have enough words to say how grateful we feel,” Ms. Mendoza said. She is employed, but the cancer diagnosis that arose from her annual mammogram led to unexpected and expensive treatment, including surgeries in February and May, and other bills that couldn’t be met.

Gabriel, a high school senior, said he had no idea the Morris County Correctional Facility existed and was puzzled, at first, why he was there.

Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective John Granato, president of P.B.A. 298 which represents Officers in the Bureau of Corrections, presents a symbolic check for $4,500 to Gabriel Suarez and his mother, Duvi Mendoza, who is recovering from breast cancer.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective John Granato, president of P.B.A. 298 which represents Officers in the Bureau of Corrections, presents a symbolic check for $4,500 to Gabriel Suarez and his mother, Duvi Mendoza, who is recovering from breast cancer.

“I was not expecting something like this.  I tried not to cry in front of all the Officers. When I saw the check I was at a loss for words.  I didn’t know so many people would care about our story.  Thank you, thank you, thank you,” he said.

Officers and non-sworn staff in both bureaus of the Sheriff’s Office opened their hearts and wallets to contribute $4,500 to the family – along with dozens of toys, stuffed animals, dolls, trucks, and children’s games that also were donated to Halos For Angels for distribution to other families in need of holiday cheer.

Every union associated with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office contributed to Ms. Mendoza and her son, but most of the $4,500 came from No Shave November and No Shave December fundraisers spearheaded by Corrections Bureau Corporal Peter Lenahan. During those months, Officers donated $50 apiece to sport beards on the job.

The unions that contributed to Halos For Angels, which received the $4,500 check on behalf of Ms. Mendoza and Gabriel, are: Morris County Sheriff’s P.B.A. 298 Superior Officers Association; Morris County Sheriff’s P.B.A. 298; Sheriff’s Office P.B.A. 151; and Sheriff’s Office F.O.P Lodge 137.

Sheriff’s Office Detective John Granato, who serves as the P.B.A. 298 President, presented Ms. Mendoza and Gabriel with the oversized check.

om left, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Gabriel Suarez, Halos For Angels member Ginny Akhoury, Duvi Mendoza, Bureau of Corrections Lieutenant Andrew Bileci, Halos For Angels Founder Karen Casolaro, Bureau of Corrections Sergeant Ray Dykstra.
From left, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Gabriel Suarez, Halos For Angels member Ginny Akhoury, Duvi Mendoza, Bureau of Corrections Lieutenant Andrew Bileci, Halos For Angels Founder Karen Casolaro, Bureau of Corrections Sergeant Ray Dykstra.

Sheriff Gannon told Ms. Mendoza and Gabriel that the Agency cares about their well-being and will always be supportive.

“This makes us feel so good. We hope it can help you out a little bit in your day.  There’s always dark times in our lives, as we’ve all experienced. When you look around, you see these people who genuinely care about who you are and who your family is,” Sheriff Gannon said.

“We’re here for you. We’ll keep you in our prayers and ask that you keep all of us in your prayers,” the Sheriff said.

Karen Casolaro formed Halos For Angels more than a decade ago after her Florham Park community rallied around her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The non-profit assists families who have suffered a tragedy or are struggling with an unexpected crisis.

Ms. Casolaro was joined at Friday’s event at the Correctional Facility by her parents, Betty Gizzo and Frank Gizzo, the charity’s treasurer; Halos For Angels Vice President Cecilia Bocchino, and Volunteer Ginny Akhoury.

Several years ago, Ms. Casolaro forged a partnership with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office through which the Bureau of Corrections has been particularly involved in collecting monetary donations and gifts for the charity and in volunteering as ghoulish characters for the Halos For Angels annual Haunted House spectacle called “Fright Factor.”

Bureau of Corrections Lieutenant Andrew Bileci was honored as a special Angel by the charity in 2019.

“The Morris County Sheriff’s Office has really made such a difference and an impact that we are so thankful for.  It’s such a blessing.  They not only help out at holiday times but throughout the year and that’s very unique,” Ms. Casolaro said.

 

Morris County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Detectives Promoted to Sergeant Positions

Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Michael Abate and Christina Kovacs – both skilled members of the Agency’s Crime Scene Investigation Section – were promoted Monday, December 16, to the positions of Detective Sergeant.

From left, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Detective Sergeant Michael Abate, Detective Sergeant Christina Kovacs, Morris County Undersheriff Mark Spitzer.
From left, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Detective Sergeant Michael Abate, Detective Sergeant Christina Kovacs, Morris County Undersheriff Mark Spitzer.

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office Joint Honor Guard added solemnity to the occasion in which Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon administered the oath of office to the new Detective Sergeants in front of their families and fellow Officers in the Historic Courtroom of the Morris County Courthouse.

“The two new Detective Sergeants have distinguished themselves as Officers who perform with absolute integrity some of the most difficult and demanding duties in the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Section of this Agency,” Sheriff Gannon said.

“The Detectives in CSI are subjected to a lot of what goes on in this world, the violence, and they do a phenomenal job.  It’s difficult work. But you can’t do it by yourself.  This Agency does tremendous work as a result of the cooperation of all the other agencies,” Sheriff Gannon said.

Both Detective Sergeants are highly educated, with Detective Sergeant Abate currently on loan from the Sheriff’s Office to the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office. He was sworn in on October 31th as a Task Force Officer and serves on a financial crimes task force.

Newly-promoted Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Sergeants Michael Abate and Christina Kovacs with their fellow Officers from the Crime Scene Investigation Section.
Newly-promoted Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sergeants Michael Abate and Christina Kovacs with their fellow Officers from the Crime Scene Investigation Section.

Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Captain Denise Thornton, who commands the CSI Section, gave ceremony well-wishers overviews of the credentials of the Detective Sergeants.

Detective Sergeant Abate graduated from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

A Distinguished Military Graduate, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Military Police Corps. He served on active duty for 10 years, during which he commanded two companies, including the Fort George G. Meade Military Police Company, which was responsible for providing law enforcement to the installation and protecting critical federal assets.

Sergeant Abate also collaborated with federal, state and local agencies that supported the National Capitol Region and the Military District of Washington.

Sergeant Abate served in a variety of assignments throughout the world and directly supported Operation Joint Guardian II and Operation Enduring Freedom. He has held positions as a Platoon Leader, Company Commander, Coalition Joint-Task Force Provost Marshal and Force Protection Officer in support of the Global War on Terror.

Newly-promoted Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Sergeants Michael Abate and Christina Kovacs.
Newly-promoted Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sergeants Michael Abate and Christina Kovacs.

He completed his Army service as the Headquarters Commander of the First Recruiting Brigade, which was responsible for U.S. Army recruiting for the northeast United States.

After his separation from the Army, Sergeant Abate worked in the financial industry as a financial advisor and compliance examiner for UBS Financial Services and then as a securities regulator for the New York City District of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Interested in continuing a career in law enforcement, Sergeant Abate was hired by the Morris County Sheriff’s Office in July of 2012. Upon graduating from the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy, he was assigned to the Protective Services Division and then assigned in 2013 as a Detective to the Crime Scene Investigation section where he is qualified as an expert in fingerprints with the New Jersey Superior Court.

Sergeant Abate has received training in shooting reconstruction, bloodstain analysis, and crime scene photography.

Sergeant Abate earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration in 2015 from Fairleigh Dickinson University.  He has completed the U.S. Army’s MPs Captain’s Career Course, the Combined Arms Services Staff School, Physical Security Course, and Anti-Terrorism Course. Sergeant Abate has earned the Exceptional Duty Medal and the Veteran Service Medal.

Detective Sergeant Kovacs knew she wanted a career in law enforcement after participating in a Junior Police Academy while in the 6th grade.

Newly-promoted Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Sergeant Christina Kovacs at her swearing-in on December 16.
Newly-promoted Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sergeant Christina Kovacs at her swearing-in on December 16.

She began volunteering with a Volunteer Fire Department in 2004 and in 2006 was certified as an EMT. She has received a multitude of life-saving awards related to her EMT skills.

Detective Sergeant Kovacs received a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from Caldwell College in 2009.  She then attended graduate school at Rutgers University, from which she received a master of arts degree in criminal justice in 2011.

Detective Sergeant Kovacs was hired by the Morris County Sheriff’s Office in July 2012. Upon graduation from the Morris County Public Safety Academy in 2012, she was first assigned to the Protective Services Division Holding Cell.  She was transferred in June 2014 to the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Section, a position that earned her the rank of Detective.

Detective Sergeant Kovacs’ CSI specialties include Motor Vehicle Crash Investigation and Reconstruction, Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, and DNA Laboratory Evidence.

Because of her background as an EMT, Detective Sergeant Kovacs has been a member of the Special Operations Group, a partnership between the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and the Morris County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), since its creation. SOG serves as the medical response team to the Morris County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT).

This past November 2019, Detective Sergeant Kovacs was the co-recipient of Sheriff Gannon’s Lifesaving Award.  As a member of SOG, she responded on July 14, 2019, to a reported shooting at a home in Jefferson Township.

Disregarding a risk to her own safety, she was part of the team that entered the home to give life-saving aid to a wounded man in the house.