Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., MBA, JD, Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Hawkins is CEO and founder of Black Belt Security & Investigations, LLC (B.B.S.I.). He brings to the company considerable insight and experience in the areas of blockchain and cryptocurrency, public safety, management, and public/private partnerships between government and community stakeholders.
For over a decade, Mr. Hawkins has served in a variety of governmental public safety positions including time as Acting Police and Fire Director, Municipal Emergency Management Coordinator under Homeland Security and Police Officer for multiple jurisdictions. Accordingly, he possesses a myriad of certifications and has received specialized training in weapons, tactics, counterterrorism, neutralizing active shooters inside of schools, and more. He is also the former Mayor of Orange, NJ, a city of 33,000 people and an operating budget of $56 million.
Prior to his retirement from the West Orange Police Department and induction into the NJ Police Honor Legion, Mr. Hawkins spent considerable time in the private sector. He was responsible for locating bail jumpers/fugitives and other special investigations as Chief Detective for a Private Detective Agency formerly based out of Roselle, NJ. He also obtained hands-on experience as an Armored Car Guard for Coin Depot Corp. (CDC) transporting millions of dollars in cash and receipts for banks, retailers, and governmental entities such as NJ Transit and The Port Authority of NY & NJ.
In addition to having been duly qualified by the New Jersey State Police as a Licensed Private Detective and authorized by multiple State authorities to conduct security business, Hawkins has been recognized as a security expert by a variety of media outlets.
Academically, Mr. Hawkins has completed the Master Detective Course in Private Investigation from the Detective Training Institute in San Juan, California, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Rider University, and has obtained a second undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Thomas Edison State College. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) from Seton Hall University with a concentration in Management, a Juris Doctor from Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
Hawkins is also a martial arts hall of famer and founder of the Ken-Fu Nunchaku Jutsu system. He holds Black Belts in multiple styles, including but not limited to Chinese Kenpo & United States Ju-Jitsu. With over 30 years in martial arts, he has been recognized as a national leader by the United States Ju-Jitsu Federation (USJJF). Hawkins' martial arts history can be found on the USJJF website by clicking here.
In his spare time Mr. Hawkins also operates an online martial arts/nunchaku platform: www.VirtualNuncahku.com
John Rappaport, Executive Consultant
With over 30 years of law enforcement experience, he was a highly decorated officer and NJ Police Honor Legion inductee, who achieved the rank of Detective Captain prior to being appointed Director, the top law enforcement official for an urban municipality. During his tenure in the City of Orange Police Department, he directly oversaw the Fraud, Homicide, and Warrant squads as well as all other Criminal Investigations. Per the State of New Jersey Uniform Crime Report, crime decreased over 22% under his leadership as Police Director.
Mr. Rappaport has received training from a myriad of different agencies including the FBI, State of New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, Essex County Police Academy, Essex County Prosecutors Office, John Jay College, Delehanty Police Institute in NY and more. Widely accepted as a law enforcement expert, he has spent considerable time lecturing on the topics of Police Science and Constitutional Law. Now retired from government, John Rappaport continues to lend his expertise daily to further B.B.S.I. operational objectives.
Derrick Piercy, Director of Law Enforcement Affairs
Beginning his security and law enforcement career back in 1981, Mr. Piercy is a former Captain of the Armored Car Division for IBI Security services, a former Police Sergeant for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and currently serves as a Lieutenant with the Essex County Sheriff's Office. He possesses various law enforcement and security certifications including but not limited to S.O.R.A., Defensive Driving, and Dignitary Protection.
Over the years, Mr. Piercy has provided executive protection and driving services for a variety of executives and celebrities. Most recently, he has provided protection for the actress and singer Melba Moore. Due to his training and experience, Mr. Piercy plays an intricate roll in the recruitment of both active and retired police personnel as well as the coordination of B.B.S.I. activities with law enforcement agencies throughout the North Jersey Regional area.
Kriste M. Howard, Esq., Director of Legal Affairs (NJ)
Ms. Howard graduated with a B.S. from Howard University, was awarded a J.D. from Howard University, School of Law and received an M.A. in Supervisor/ Educational Administration from Seton Hall University. She is licensed to practice law in the State of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. An adjunct Law Professor at Kean University and sole practitioner with a law firm in Montclair, NJ, she has specialized in General Business and Family Law. Prior to starting her own practice she served as an Assistant City Attorney for Orange Township.
A steward for adequate school security and the safety of children under her charge, Ms. Howard served on the East Orange Board of Education from 2009-2012, holding the positions of Vice President and Acting President. An educator by passion, she currently serves as the Vice Principal of Bloomfield Tech HS in Bloomfield NJ. Ms. Howard is also a Founding Member of the Essex County Jaycees and a former Board Member of the Rent Control Board for the City of East Orange, NJ. Attorney Howard will provide primary legal guidance on B.B.S.I. school security and other matters including but not limited to family/marital related B.B.S.I investigations in the State of NJ. In addition, she will provide general day-to-day in-house legal guidance, support, and response in conjunction with Corporation Counsel and outside attorneys as needed.
Professor Harry Baker, Director of K-9 Operations & Defensive Tactics
Iron Dragon Karate & K-9 University (Proprietor). He has trained with the legendary Grand Master Kalaii Griffin, Grand Master Ed Parker and studied under Martial Arts Professor Ibrahim Sharif. With 45 years of experience, he served as the Director of Canine Training for the Police Division of the New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad Corporation and was a trial decoy for the Garden State Schutzhund Club (1990‑1994). He has spent several years training dogs for both law enforcement and the private sector.
In his spare time, Professor Baker has established programs and trained hundreds of children within the City of Orange and Plainfield School Districts as part of a larger educational anti-gang initiative. Mr. Baker has a B.S. Degree in physical science and biology from Upsala College. Professionally, he was a pharmaceutical representative for Pharmacia and Pfizer for 27 years. Presently he provides specialized training to B.B.S.I. security personnel and K-9 staff.
Kyle Hollar-Gregory, Esq., Assistant Corporation Counsel
Starting in 2009, Mr. Hollar-Gregory began teaching college‑level students. More specifically, he began his educational career as a college lecturer of business, legal and criminal justice courses at LaGuardia Community College. In 2015 he began teaching legal courses and criminal justice courses at Essex County College. It was at these institutions of higher learning that he, as a subject matter expert, taught Legal Research and Writing, Civil Litigation, Contract Law, Tort Law, Business Finance, Business Law, Technology in the Law Office, Criminal Law, Criminal Justice, and Criminology.
Prior to teaching, Mr. Hollar-Gregory served as a law clerk for the Honorable Siobhan A. Teare in the criminal division of the Superior Courts of New Jersey in Essex County. Mr. Hollar-Gregory worked as a paralegal for the Brandon J. Broderick, LLC law firm in New Jersey. As an attorney for the Freeman Law Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, he practiced family law, personal injury law, municipal cases, and misdemeanor criminal cases. He was also previously employed as a Senior Investment Operations Associate at Prudential Financial.
Presently Mr. Hollar-Gregory provides day-to-day assistance for B.B.S.I. with general legal matters, focusing primarily on business contracts and security guard firearms carry permit approvals with the courts.