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Armando B. Fontoura
Essex County Sheriff
Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura is responsible for operating the largest and most active Sheriff’s Department in New Jersey. The agency serves the people of Essex County and the State’s largest Superior Court vicinage.
A career law enforcement officer, Armando Fontoura was appointed Sheriff in 1990, elected in 1991 and re-elected in 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009. He is the longest tenured Sheriff in Essex County history.
Sheriff Fontoura is a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy and National Executive Institute. He is the past president of the Police Management Association and is an active member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriff’s Association.
Prior to his election as Sheriff, Armando Fontoura rose through the ranks of the Newark Police Department. In a police career that began in 1967, Fontoura earned the rank of Captain and served as Chief Assistant to the Police Director. As Chief Assistant, he helped formulate policy, issued daily directives and was responsible for the Office of Public Information.
During his career, Sheriff Fontoura held supervisory positions in the Patrol Division and the Detective Division. Working with the FBI to thwart a series of bank robberies that had plagued the area, he coordinated the critically acclaimed and highly successful Bandit Squad. He was later appointed as Project Director for the Newark Police Department’s Victim Service Center and the Sexual Assault Rape Analysis Unit (SARA).
In 1986, Fontoura was appointed Essex County Undersheriff. He played a critical role in implementing a full-time Bomb Detection Unit, a multi-discipline K-9 Squad and an expanded Public Education Unit.
As Sheriff, Fontoura directs New Jersey’s oldest and most active county-wide Bureau of Narcotics. Working in response to citizen complaints and in tandem with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and municipal police agencies, the Sheriff’s Bureau of Narcotics arrests 1000 drug dealers annually and has dramatically improved Essex County’s quality of life.