Sussex County Sheriff’s Office

Sussex County Sheriff’s Office
39 High Street, Newton, NJ 07860 • TEL: 973.579.0850 FAX: 973.579.7884
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AboutAdministration

Mission Statement

The Sussex County Sheriff’s Office dedicates itself to protecting the life and property of the citizens of the county, providing primary and support services to all law enforcement agencies, along with maintaining traditional sheriff’s services. The office recognizes that the ability to successfully complete this mission is based on mutual respect and responsibility, shared by all agencies, and most importantly the citizens it serves. As professionals, we are duty bound to enforce the laws in a fair and impartial manner, recognizing both the statutory and judicial limitations of police authority, and at all times, protecting the constitutional rights of all persons.

Sheriff Michael F. Strada

Sheriff Michael F. Strada

Sheriff Mike Strada, who has been involved in public service all his life, is serving his third three-year term as Sussex County Sheriff.

After graduating high school in 1987, Sheriff Strada enlisted in the military and served for four years as a sergeant with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He is a veteran of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm and served in both Iraq and Saudi Arabia. While in the military, he was an explosives expert and assigned to a Parachute Infantry Regiment. During his military career, he was awarded the Southwest Asia Service Medal with two bronze stars, Kuwait Liberation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Parachutist Badge and the Army Achievement Medal.

After being honorably discharged from the military, Sheriff Strada went on to pursue a career in law enforcement and graduated from the Morris County Firefighters and Police Training Academy in 1993. He began his law enforcement career with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office where he was assigned to the Criminal Investigation/Crime Lab Unit. In 1995, Sheriff Strada joined the Mt. Olive Township Police Department and was assigned to the patrol division where he served for ten years. In 2005, he moved up to the investigations division where he served as a detective for the duration of his tenure with Mt. Olive. Over the course of his career with Mt. Olive, Strada was the recipient of numerous departmental awards including the 1998 Knights of Columbus Shield Award, Morris County 200 Club 2001 Valor Award, three lifesaving awards, four honorable service awards, three meritorious service awards, an educational achievement award and a military service award.

Sheriff Strada has an associate’s degree in criminal justice, a bachelor’s degree in administrative science from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a master’s degree, also from Fairleigh Dickinson, in administration. Law enforcement certifications and training include FBI Police Supervision and Management, Northeast Counterdrug Training Center: Leadership and Mastering Performance Management, Supervision Principles, Police Supervision, Organizational Leadership, and Practical Homicide Investigation. In addition to being a graduate of both the FBI National Academy and the Executive Leadership Program at the National Sheriffs’ Institute (NSI), he is also a certified field training officer and police academy instructor.

Sheriff Strada served as president of the Sheriffs’ Association of New Jersey and is a member of the Newton VFW, life member of the National Rifle Association, Branchville American Legion, New Jersey Italian American Police Officers Association, New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police, and Sussex County Chiefs of Police Association. Sheriff Strada also serves on the board of directors for SCARC.

Sheriff Strada resides with his wife and three children in Hampton Township.

Bureau of Law Enforcement

Undersheriff Keith Armstrong

Undersheriff Keith Armstrong

Undersheriff Keith Armstrong, a lifelong resident of Sussex County, graduated from Newton High School and started his public service career by enlisting in the U.S. Army. He served three years as a military policeman, both stateside and overseas, and was the recipient of a Good Conduct Medal.

Undersheriff Armstrong has thirty years of service in municipal police departments, working for Andover Township, Roxbury and then Hardyston, where he served as chief of police. Over the course of his municipal career, Undersheriff Armstrong was a recipient of the following awards: a Military Service Award from the Hardyston Police Department; Chief of Police award from the Sparta chapter of UNICO; Chief of the Year award from D.A.R.E. New Jersey; Exceptional Duty Award from both the Hardyston Police Department and PBA Local 138; a President Service award from the Sussex County Detectives Association; and two awards for ranking first in class from the Morris County Firefighters and Police Training Academy (now known as the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy).

Undersheriff Armstrong is certified by the New Jersey Police Training Commission as a police instructor and has taught at the police academies in Bergen, Morris, Passaic and Sussex counties. He is also a member of the adjunct faculty at Sussex County Community College.

Undersheriff Armstrong is a member of and/or an affiliate of the New Jersey State Association of Shared Services Coordinators; Sussex County Chiefs of Police Association; State of New Jersey Chiefs of Police Association; National Association of Chiefs of Police; International Association of Chiefs of Police; International Counter-Terrorism Association; Law Enforcement Executive Development Association; FBI National Academy Associates; Sussex County P.B.A. Local 138; Hardyston Township P.B.A. Local 374; and the Sussex County Detectives Association.

Undersheriff Armstrong has a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a master’s degree, also from Fairleigh Dickinson, in administrative science with a certificate in global leadership. His professional certifications and training include Certified Chief Law Enforcement Executive, West Point Command and Leadership Program, FBI National Academy and New Jersey Certified Public Manager.

Bureau of Corrections

Undersheriff John Tomasula

Undersheriff John Tomasula

Undersheriff John Tomasula is a lifelong resident of Sussex County, raised in Newton and currently residing in Hampton Township. His interest in public service developed after joining and serving for a number of years with the Newton Volunteer First Aid and Rescue Squad. That role led to an opportunity to serve as a police dispatcher with the Newton Police Department and the eventual appointment as a police officer in 1985.

In his first few years with the department, Undersheriff Tomasula served as a foot patrolman assigned to the Spring Street business area, gaining valuable insight to concepts relating to community policing and promoting the various community initiatives taken on by the department. He carried out patrol related responsibilities until his assignment to the detective bureau in 1988.

His role in the detective bureau brought opportunities for additional specialized training, which included narcotics investigation, advanced interrogation & interview techniques, motor vehicle theft investigation, advanced criminal investigation, crime scene investigation and methods of instruction. While assigned to the bureau, Undersheriff Tomasula instituted the department’s bicycle patrol program in furthering the community policing initiatives. The Undersheriff served in the bureau until his promotion to sergeant and assignment to patrol in 1994. As a patrol sergeant, the undersheriff received additional training in first line supervision and other areas relating to patrol operations.

In August 1995, Undersheriff Tomasula was promoted to the rank of captain in a reorganization to the structure of the department. He was assigned the responsibilities of patrol operations, internal affairs, and the 9-1-1 Communications Center. His duties afforded opportunities for additional training and certifications involving internal affairs, policy development, 9-1-1 communications, emergency medical dispatch and response to school shootings instructor. He is also a graduate from the West Point Command & Leadership Program.

In August 2000, Undersheriff Tomasula was promoted to chief of police for the Town of Newton, serving in that role for 10 years. During that tenure, the department continued to practice and refine its community policing efforts. The department was also restructured to promote the professional development of its police and 9-1-1 communications staff. Undersheriff Tomasula played a critical role in the concept, planning and construction of a new police facility and 9-1-1 communications center. He also attended and graduated from the FBI National Academy. In his tenure, the undersheriff was recognized as police officer of the year by the Knights of Columbus Council 7784, received the Service Award from the Sparta Chapter of Unico, and the Service Award from the PBA Local #138 for his tenure as the executive board secretary. He also served as executive board secretary and vice-president of the Sussex County Police Chief’s Association.

In December 2014, Undersheriff Tomasula was given the opportunity to join the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office as director of communications as the sheriff prepared to launch the new sheriff’s communications center operations, which included the addition of providing 9-1-1 communications and emergency medical dispatch services to local municipalities. In the few years beyond the successful launch of 9-1-1 communications services, the center enjoys an excellent professional reputation in its service to the communities.

In March 2018, then 9-1-1 director Tomasula was promoted to undersheriff, and given the responsibility of the day to day operations of the County Correctional Facility.

Undersheriff Tomasula is a member of and/or affiliate of the Sussex County Police Chief’s Association, Sussex County Detectives Association, Sussex County PBA Local #138, New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the FBI National Academy Associates.

Special Services Unit

Undersheriff John Schanstra

Undersheriff John Schanstra

Undersheriff John Schanstra, a lifelong resident of Sussex County, graduated from Sparta High School and from County College of Morris with an associate’s degree in criminal justice, also from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a master’s of administrative sciences degree. In 1988, he graduated from the New Jersey State Police Municipal Police Academy as part of the 188th class.

During his 25-year career as a police officer with the Borough of Ogdensburg and the Township of Sparta, he started his career as a patrolman, Undersheriff Schanstra, after being promoted to detective served in the Investigative Unit of the Sparta Police handling criminal and administrative investigations. Undersheriff Schanstra was assigned as the liaison with the Middle Atlantic - Great Lakes Organized Crime Law Enforcement Network for the purpose of analysis and dissemination of criminal intelligence. Undersheriff Schanstra was promoted to detective sergeant and took command of the investigative unit of the Sparta Police Department overseeing all investigations and the oversight of schools security of the district along with Sparta Pope John and Vo-Tech High School. Undersheriff Schanstra was sworn in as a deputy United States marshal and assisted the United States Marshal Service Joint Fugitive Task Force in the apprehension of violent criminals in the tri-state area.

During his career as a police officer, Undersheriff Schanstra served for six years as the president of the Sussex County Detectives Association. His awards include the Sussex County Detective of the Year, police officer of the year award which was present by the Sparta Kiwanis along with numerous meritorious services awards.

Undersheriff Schanstra was hired by the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office as the director of internal affairs prior to being promoted to undersheriff of Special Services Unit. This unit includes Internal Affairs, K-9, Detective and Cops Unit of the Sussex County Sheriffs Office.

Besides his master’s degree in administrative science, Undersheriff Schanstra holds the position of adjunct professor at Sussex County Community College where he teaches criminal investigation at night.

Undersheriff Schanstra is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #26 and the Interstate Law Enforcement Officers Association.

Civil Process Unit

Undersheriff Lee Liddy

Undersheriff Lee Liddy

Undersheriff Lee P. Liddy, a lifelong resident of Sussex County, graduated from Newton High School and from Purdue University with a bachelor of arts degree. In 1986, he graduated from the New Jersey State Police Academy as part of the 103rd class, Badge #4196.

During his 25-year career as a New Jersey State Trooper, Undersheriff Liddy served as road trooper at Hope, Hainesville and Sussex stations. After being promoted to detective, he served in the Waterfront Unit of the Investigations Section and the Analytical Unit of the Intelligence Section. After returning to the Operations Section, Undersheriff Liddy served as a station detective at Sussex Station, where he was promoted to detective sergeant. After serving as the detective sergeant at Sussex, he served as the first Troop B intelligence officer. He was then promoted to detective sergeant first class and served as a Troop B criminal investigation region supervisor.

During his career as a trooper, Undersheriff Liddy served as the president of the Sussex County Detectives’ Association. His awards include the Sussex County Detective of the Year, a Unit Citation Award for Outstanding Criminal Investigation Performance and a Certificate of Award for the Fransen Homicide Investigation from Stroud Regional Police Department. He worked as a lead investigator for NJ during the Frank Black murder investigation that was featured on the Discovery Channel. He was also certified as drug recognition expert after having completed the first DRE training held in New Jersey, and certified as a New Jersey State Police Instructor.

Undersheriff Liddy was hired by the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office as an internal investigator prior to being promoted to undersheriff of administration.

Besides his bachelor of arts degree in journalism, he has also taken classes in accounting, internals affair policy and procedure, county administration, and budgeting for law enforcement. He has also received a certificate of achievement from the FEMA Emergency Management Institute for completing the classes prescribed in the professional development series.

Undersheriff Liddy is a member of the Sussex County 200 Club and the Interstate Law Enforcement Officers Association.


Sheriff Michael Strada