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The Essex County Division of Police was added to Sheriff Fontoura’s command in 1997. In 2007, the Division of Police was disbanded and the officers from the division became Sheriff’s officers assigned to the Sheriff’s Patrol Division. Augmented by the Deputy Sheriffs, the Patrol Division ensures the safety and security in our nation’s largest and oldest park system – the Essex County Park System. As County Coordinator for the Essex County Office of Emergency Management, Sheriff Fontoura directs the regional response to natural and man-made disasters and acts of terrorism.
Sheriff Fontoura supervises one of the busiest and most active Bomb Detection Squads on the eastern seaboard. The Bomb Squad has responded to crime scenes such as the North Caldwell bomb attack by the notorious Unabomber and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. It also assists federal, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the northern New Jersey region. Bomb Squad activities are often augmented by the work of the Sheriff’s K-9 Unit where 15 highly trained canines and their handlers successfully sniff out bombs, drugs, weapons, arsonists, missing persons and cadavers.
Under Fontoura’s direction, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office has implemented a new state-of-the-art court security system and has instituted a more efficient records management system. Sheriff Fontoura has coordinated the formation of aggressive multi-agency Task Forces with the FBI, the New Jersey State Police, the United States Marshals Service and municipal police departments. In 1996, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms awarded Fontoura’s department with the metropolitan area’s first Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS), making the Essex County Sheriff’s Office the repository for all ballistics evidence in northern New Jersey.
Sheriff Fontoura was appointed to serve on the White House Anti-Crime Strategy Council and the White House National Forum on Drug Control. In 1993, President Clinton designated Sheriff Fontoura to join him on the podium at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick as both men addressed the impact of violent crime on the cost of health care in America. In 2004, Governor Richard Codey appointed Sheriff Fontoura to serve as a charter member on New Jersey’s Gangland Task Force.
Also in 2004, Sheriff Fontoura was appointed Commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA). The NJSEA operates sports facilities and entertainment venues throughout New Jersey, including the Meadowlands Sports Complex, Monmouth Park Racetrack, the Atlantic City Convention Center and the Camden Aquarium, among other venues.