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 Mike Strada, who has been involved in public service all his life, is serving his fourth 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 Corrections
Undersheriff Matthew A. McCurry
Undersheriff Matt McCurry graduated from Saint Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, NJ. He went on to attend Wesleyan University in Connecticut where he played football and received a bachelor of arts degree in government. In 1995, he graduated from the New Jersey State Police Academy as part of the 115th class, badge #5298. After his graduation, he moved to Sussex County and has resided there ever since.
During his 25 year career as a New Jersey state trooper, Undersheriff McCurry served as a road trooper at Hope, Somerville, Sussex and Newark stations. After being promoted to detective he served at Sussex and Washington stations. He was promoted to detective sergeant and assigned to a street crime task force at Metro North Station in Irvington.
After a brief assignment to the Totowa Station, Undersheriff McCurry was transferred back to Irvington and assigned to the Strategic Investigations Unit. He became the assistant unit head there and was promoted to detective sergeant first class. He then returned to Criminal Investigations and served as a zone supervisor for the Meadowlands, Sussex, Perryville, Washington and Somerville stations. He was later designated the assistant unit head of the Criminal Investigation Office. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2018 and awarded the station commander position at Washington Station. He eventually joined the command staff at Totowa headquarters where he finished out his career leading the Strategic Investigations Unit.
During his career as a trooper, Undersheriff McCurry served as crisis negotiator, armorer and the president of the Sussex County Detectives Association. His awards include a unit citation for his work at Metro North Station and a union valor award for his work with the Crisis Negotiation Team.
In addition to his bachelor of art degree in government, he is a certified state police instructor and FBI certified crisis negotiator, an NRA certified firearms instructor and a certified armorer for several major manufacturers.
Undersheriff McCurry is a member of the Former Troopers Association, the Sussex County 200 Club and the Interstate Law Enforcement Officers Association.
Special Services Unit
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 Matthew Avenatti
Undersheriff Matthew Avenatti moved to Sussex County at a very young age and graduated from Port Jervis High School. He attended Sussex County Community College and then Montclair University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree. In 1995, he graduated from the New Jersey State Police Academy in the 115th academy class and assigned badge #5237. He continued his studies at Seton Hall University graduating with a master of arts in human resources.
During his nearly 26-year career with the New Jersey State Police, Undersheriff Avenatti began as a road trooper serving at Totowa-Sub, Washington, Sussex, Netcong and Hope stations. He served in the Special Operations Section as a commercial vehicle inspector eventually becoming part of a criminal interdiction team. He also was a member of the ceremonial Pipes and Drums of the Blue and Gold for several years.
In 2016, Avenatti was promoted to sgt. first class and assigned to the Garden State Parkway, Bloomfield Station, Troop D, Field Operations Section as the assistant station commander for two years. He transferred to Troop B headquarters and served on the Troop B command staff until he was transferred to Sussex station. There he was promoted to lieutenant/station commander in 2018 where he finished his New Jersey State Police career.
During his career with the state police, Avenatti served as an instructor in riot control for the Urban Area Security Initiative, assigned to Washington, DC for two presidential inaugurations, was an armorer for several weapons platforms utilized by the state police as well as a firearms instructor. He received the Franklin E. Sigler Award for Heroism from the Newton VFW Post along with other members of his squad and a Certificate of Unit Commendation for assisting with a large seizure of contraband.
Undersheriff Avenatti is an associate member of the New Jersey State Police Superior Officers Association, a member of Newark FOP Lodge #12 and the Former Troopers Association.