MORRIS COUNTY — 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.
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 31 as a Task Force Officer and serves on a financial crimes task force.
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.
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.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.
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.
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.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 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.