Al Ponenti is a 25year veteran with the New Jersey State Police and is the Deputy Superintendent of the Homeland Security Branch, commanding the Special Operations and Emergency Management Sections. He currently sits as the State Deputy Director for the NJ Office of Emergency Management and is the co-chairperson of the State Emergency Response Commission. His command is comprised of approximately 800 enlisted and civilian members overseeing capabilities in the realm of Aviation, Marine, Transportation Safety, SWAT, K9, and Explosive Detection. Within the Emergency Management Section Al’s command is responsible for the State Emergency Operations Center, Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery operations, Communications, as well as the NJ State Urban Search and Rescue Team (NJ-TF1). He also sits as a member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Executive Board.
Prior to being appointed the Deputy Superintendent of Homeland Security he served as the NJ Task Force Commander and Director for the Office of the New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center (NJ ROIC). The Office of the NJ ROIC contains an all hazards, all crimes, all threats fusion center with a joint inter-agency intelligence enterprise comprised of 150 personnel from multiple federal, state, county, and municipal law enforcement and public safety agencies, charged with gathering, processing, analyzing, and disseminating information. In this capacity he also served as the co-chairperson for the Northeast Regional Intelligence Group responsible for coordinating information sharing among the 15 northeastern fusion centers.
Al served as the Bureau Chief maintaining the rank of Captain for the Executive Protection Bureau, responsible for the protective operations for Governor Chris Christie, the First Family, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and several other cabinet level appointees and visiting national and international dignitaries. The majority of Al’s career was spent with the Technical Emergency and Mission Specialist Unit (TEAMS) rising to the rank of Lieutenant, where he was responsible for statewide tactical missions, underwater search and recovery, counter assault elements for dignitary protection, high angle and aerial rescue, critical infrastructure protection, and counter terrorism operations.
Al earned a Master of Arts degree in Security Studies (Homeland Defense and Security) from the Naval Postgraduate School in 2008, a Master of Arts degree in Education from Seton Hall University in 1998 and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy Class 248 in 2012. He is also an adjunct professor at Monmouth University where he teaches in the graduate studies for homeland security education program.
Al joined the Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) team as a Character Does Matter (CDM) Ambassador in 2013 and continues to grow the CDM program among the ranks of the NJSP. Al is also a strong supporter of the annual 911 Heroes Run and assists with TMF Survivor Services program.