22nd Annual New Jersey Emergency Preparedness Association Conference


The New Jersey Emergency Preparedness Association is proud to introduce our speakers for the 2020 Awards and Networking Reception!


Colonel Patrick CallahanColonel Patrick Callahan, New Jersey State Police



Colonel Patrick J. Callahan was sworn in on October 31, 2017 as the 14th Colonel of the New Jersey State Police. He has served more than 24 years with the New Jersey State Police. He previously served as the Deputy Superintendent of Operations overseeing nearly 1,800 road troopers assigned to State Police stations throughout the State. Prior to this assignment, Colonel Callahan served as the Deputy Superintendent of Administration. Previous assignments also included him serving as the Commanding Officer of the Emergency Management Section as well as the Recovery Bureau Chief in the wake of Super Storm Sandy. In this role, he was responsible for working with FEMA, all State Departments, county and local government entities, as well as the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding to administer and oversee the $1.5 billion in FEMA Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation funding awarded to the State.

Colonel Callahan has also served as the Chief Financial Officer for the New Jersey State Police and has held various assignments in the Administration Section overseeing budget and fiscal responsibilities associated with the Division. He was also assigned to the Homeland Security Branch and assisted in the planning and distribution of the federal homeland security funding awarded to the State and its 21 counties in the wake of 9/11. Prior to this assignment, Colonel Callahan served as a station detective and general road duty Trooper.

Colonel Callahan earned a Master’s Degree in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University and earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Villanova University. He is a graduate of the 243rd FBI National Academy Session where he was elected Session President. Colonel Callahan also served as the Chairman of the State Police Retirement System Pension Board of Trustees until his recent appointment to Colonel on November 1, 2017.

He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Linda, for 29 years and they have four children, Steven, Cassidy, Ryan, and Carrie Ann.

The  Executive Staff of the Coral Springs, Florida Police and Fire Departments will be presenting an overview of their presentation "The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Tragedy as told by Police and Fire: the Preparation, Event and Aftermath" during the Awards and Networking Reception. The full presentation will be Friday, May 8th. Please remember to register for both of these events.

Deputy Chief Shawn Backer, Coral Springs Police Department


Deputy Chief Shawn Backer began his career with the Coral Springs Police Department in 1995. Deputy Chief Backer served as a Patrol Officer until 2002, at which time he was assigned to Criminal Investigations. Deputy Chief Backer served as a Burglary Detective and Crimes Against Persons Detective. In 2005, Deputy Chief Backer was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. As a Sergeant, he was assigned to Patrol and later to General Investigations.

In 2010 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, working in the Patrol Division. In 2012, he was promoted to Captain and was in charge of the Community Services Component. In January 2014, he was promoted to Deputy Chief of Administration, where he has oversight of Community Services, Training, Fiscal, Fleet, Communications, Human Resources and Records. He has also served the department as a Field Training Officer, and as a member of the Special Weapon And Tactics Team.

Deputy Chief Backer graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Deputy Chief Backer obtained his Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Florida Atlantic University in 2017. In December 2016, Deputy Chief Backer graduated from the 266th session of the FBI’s National Academy. He also graduated from the Broward Sheriff’s Office/Nova Southeastern University’s Executive Leadership Program. Deputy Chief Backer is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Florida Police Chiefs Association, and Broward County Chiefs of Police Association.



Captain Ryan Gallagher, Coral Springs Police Department




Captain Ryan Gallagher graduated from Kean University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Criminology from Florida State University. He began his career with the Coral Springs Police Department in 2002 as a Law Enforcement Officer. He was transferred to the Substation Unit and then was promoted to Investigator in the Crimes Against Persons Unit.

In 2009, he was promoted to Sergeant and supervised the Patrol, General Investigations and Crimes Against Persons units as well as the Office of Professional Standards. He was then promoted to Lieutenant in 2014. As a Patrol Lieutenant, Ryan served as Patrol Night Shift Commander and backup investigator for the Office of Professional Standards.

In August of 2017, he was promoted to the rank of Captain. Captain Gallagher currently supervises the Criminal Investigations Component of the Coral Springs Police Department.  As the Captain of Criminal Investigations, he oversees the Crimes Against Persons Unit, Special Victims Unit, General Investigations Unit, Economic Crimes Unit, Victim Advocates and the Dive Team. He also has served as a Field Training Officer, Citizen’s Police Academy Instructor and a Response to Resistance Board member.

Fire Chief Frank Babinec, Coral Springs Fire Department

Frank Babinec became Chief of the Coral Springs–Parkland Fire Department in 2014, and has served with the department for over 25 years. He possesses a Chief Fire Officer designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence and an Executive Fire Officer designation from the National Fire Academy, as well as Florida Fire Officer IV, the highest certification attainable from the State Fire Marshal’s Bureau.


In 2017, his Department was selected Florida’s “EMS Provider of the Year”, and the Florida Fire Chiefs Association named Chief Babinec “Fire Chief of the Year.” Chief Babinec was also named Fire Chief of the Year for 2018 by the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs. He is President of the Fire Chiefs Association of Broward County, Chair of the state section on Safety and Health, and has been a leader for cancer prevention initiatives in the fire service. He is deeply committed to the goal of a healthy career and a healthy retirement for everyone.


In December of 2019, Chief Babinec was selected as the new City Manager for the City of Coral Springs.

Assistant Fire Chief John Whalen, Coral Springs Fire Department

Chief Whalen has been in the fire service since 1993 and in that time has held nearly every position including EMS director and Special Operations division head. Chief Whalen holds multiple degrees related to the Fire and Emergency Medical Services programs. Chief Whalen has been an instructor at the Coral Springs Regional Institute of Public Safety since 2000 and helped develop their Emergency Medical Technician Program. Chief Whalen is currently the Lead Instructor for the EMT-B day class and assigned to the Bravo Shift as the shift commander and holds certifications in multiple disciplines including Hazardous Materials Technician, Dive Rescue Specialist and is assigned as a SWAT Medic for the Coral Springs Police Department.

Chief Whalen also serves as the Health and Safety Officer.



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