FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Newark Division Timothy Gallagher said that “our enemy is ever-evolving” while addressing a room full of first responders at the Hudson County Valor Awards this afternoon.
After awarding several scholarships, Gallagher, a Bayonne native, took the microphone and focused his speech on three things: terrorism, cyber crimes and partnerships.
“Our enemy is ever-evolving. Years ago, post 9/11, we were looking for people, tracking abroad and then coming back to commit terrorist attacks. We’re looking for cells abroad then they come here,” Gallagher, a 21-year veteran of the FBI, recalled.
“Now, we’re looking for kids who like, grew up, went to high school up the street, who are in a basement getting radicalized on the internet. That’s what we’re looking at now. They go from flash to bang in like 72 hours.”
Among the many honored were the Hoboken Police officers who immediately responded to a fatal NJ transit crash back in September.
The disastrous accident left 108 injured and one dead.
“We had 27 officers that were in the train terminal, another couple dozen on the outside … these officers that are here today are six of the first seven that were on the train inside, taking people off while the train was still smoking, had electricity issues, and the ceiling was collapsing on them,” stated Hoboken Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante.
In another group effort, eight officers from the Jersey City Police Department were recognized for deescalating a volatile domestic violence situation where the man was armed and threatened them.
Those honorees were Capt. Michael Kelly, Sgts. Juan Bonet and Joseph French, Det. Michael Camacho, as well as Officers John Boamah, Emilio Ramos, Michael Spolizano and Lou Vega.
In one of the more unique scenarios recounted at the luncheon, NJ Transit Police Officer Victor Ortiz was honored for saving a man from committing suicide on the Secaucus Junction train tracks.
“He tried to grab him, but [Alan]Jackson weighed about 300 pounds and his wrists were all wet, sweaty and slippery. Determined to save him, Ortiz jumped onto the track and the train kept coming,” explained 200 Club of Hudson County Valor Committee Chair Joan Quigley.
“He managed to get one handcuff, then two, onto Jackson, pulled him upright, and body slammed him off the track just as the train passed by.”
Others receiving award were Bayonne Police Officers Christopher Denoble, Joseph Kowalski and Vincent Mattielli, Stevens Institute of Technology Police Capt. Thomas Maggi, Sgt. George Martinez and Officer Timothy Legowski, Jersey City Police Officers Ameer Alateek, Miguel Ramirez, Jr. and Juan Rivera, Jr., and also Jersey City Firefighter Luis Colon III.