Bureau of Law Enforcement
Undersheriff: Keith Armstrong
The Bureau of Law Enforcement represents the enforcement arm of the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office and its personnel are tasked with carrying out the statutory responsibilities of the sheriff as mandated by the state constitution. The units which comprise the bureau are described in more detail below.
Bureau of Law Enforcement Units
The Sussex County Sheriff’s Office currently has three working K-9 teams. Each team consists of an officer and a canine which has been specially trained and certified in accordance with guidelines established by the New Jersey Attorney General. K-9 teams are deployed to perform duties such as search and rescue, narcotic and explosive detection, criminal apprehension, evidence recovery, building searches and tracking. The teams are also utilized to prevent the introduction of contraband into the judicial center and the jail.
Civil Process Unit
The Civil Process Unit carries out the sheriff’s statutory responsibility for the service of process. These legal documents originate from the courts, government agencies and private attorneys and include summons, subpoenas and various writs. The unit is also responsible for the enforcement of court orders such as wage garnishments, evictions, levies and sheriff’s sales.
The Communications Center provides 24-hour radio communication for the Bureau of Law Enforcement, Bureau of Corrections, Division of Emergency Management and Fire Marshal. It also handles calls after-hours for a number of Sussex County agencies including the road department, health department, prosecutor’s office, HAZ-MAT and medical examiner’s office.
Additionally, personnel monitor security cameras and building access points throughout the Sussex County Judicial Center, dispatch personnel, answer phone inquiries from the public and conduct records searches utilizing databases from the NJ Division of Motor Vehicles (NJDMV), NJ Wanted Persons System (NJWPS) and the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
Courts and Transportation Unit
The Courts and Transportation Unit is responsible for providing security and maintaining a safe environment for all visitors and employees within the Sussex County Judicial Center. Personnel in this unit also handle the transportation and monitoring of inmates to court and other institutions/jurisdictions statewide.
Internal Affairs Unit
The function of the Internal Affairs Unit is to ensure that all members of the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office act in accordance with office policies, rules and regulations. All complaints are thoroughly investigated in a fair and impartial manner by a specially trained investigator. Upon completion of an investigation, a confidential report is turned over to the sheriff for his review and disposition. If the investigation shows that a crime may have been committed, the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office will be notified. If the investigation finds that a complaint is unfounded, the matter will be closed.
Search and Rescue Unit
With eight state and federal parks and 15,000 acres of wildlife management areas, Sussex County’s 536 square miles offer an abundance of opportunities for outdoor activities. As a consequence, the potential for outdoor emergencies and the need for a rapid response is equally abundant. The Search and Rescue Unit has the skilled personnel and the necessary equipment to launch an effective, rapid and safe search and rescue mission at any time of the day or night, in any type of weather.
Tactical Response Unit
The Tactical Response Unit (TRU) is staffed by specially trained personnel who train and respond as one unit when needed for incidents requiring more expertise or specialized skills. The TRU is utilized for situations such as the execution of high risk warrants, cell extractions at the jail, barricaded subjects, hostage situations, security and crowd control for large incidents as well as other special operations and tactics. The team is highly motivated and equipped to diffuse volatile situations and reduce the risk of injury to all those involved.
The Traffic Unit assists in the enforcement of motor vehicle laws, primarily in Sussex County towns that do not have their own municipal police agencies.
The Warrant Unit, staffed by five detectives, is responsible for carrying out criminal investigations and overseeing the execution of warrants. In 2010, forty-five criminal investigations were launched as a result of incidents that occurred at the county jail and courthouse complex, with charges ultimately being filed in thirty of the cases. On average, the division receives one thousand warrants each year from the Superior Court and other law enforcement agencies, resulting in approximately seven hundred arrests.