One of the Essex County Sheriff’s most unique community outreach programs is our Deputy Division which consists entirely of volunteers. Deputy candidates must first participate in a careful screening process which includes in-depth psychological testing, a physical examination and a criminal records background check. Upon completion of these preliminary requirements, deputy sheriff candidates are then nominated and pay their own way through the Essex County College Police Academy. The academy trains our volunteer deputies three nights per week and on Saturdays.
During this rigorous and challenging five-month classroom and field training semester at the academy, volunteer deputy candidates participate in the exact same law enforcement and public safety courses as their regular police recruit counterparts. While at the academy, both volunteer deputies and regular police recruit candidates must adhere to all the rules, regulations and requirements on the New Jersey Police Training Commission.
With successful completion of classroom and field training courses and graduation from the academy, volunteer deputies make a commitment to provide our community with a minimum of 20 hours of service per month for police patrol and other law enforcement duties. Many volunteer deputies exceed the 20 hour per month minimum. On average, Deputy Division volunteers contribute more than 20,000 hours of service to their Essex County neighbors as they assist regular Sheriff’s officers and municipal police departments in many public safety initiatives and law enforcement operations.
Upon graduation from the Essex County College Police Academy and taking the Oath of Office as volunteer members of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, our deputies have full police powers to make arrests and issue summonses. Deputies assist our communities in the prevention of crime and they respond to all natural and man-made disasters and other emergencies.
Within the past few years, Sheriff’s deputies have responded to aircraft accidents, HAZMAT spills, power outages and floods. The deputies are critically important to our homeland security efforts as they work with us to protect Essex County’s extensive and vulnerable infrastructure.
In addition to being deployed on patrol in high crime areas at many Essex County locations, our deputies augment the efforts of our Patrol Division officers throughout our vast county park system. Our deputies are a tremendous public safety resource and they are an essential element in providing safety and crowd control at large scale public events.
Deputies are also regularly assigned to assist the Newark Police Department with traffic, crowd control and security at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and at the new Prudential Center. Sheriff’s deputies similarly assist our other municipal police departments at community events and provide security at Essex County cemeteries every Sunday and on holy days of the Jewish calendar.
The services of the Essex County Sheriff’s Deputy Division are provided at no expense to local taxpayers. Deputies underwrite the entire cost of their training, uniforms and weapons. Sheriff Fontoura and the residents of Essex County are proud that the dedicated men and women of our Deputy Division have chosen to sacrifice their time, energy and talent as they unselfishly contribute to our community’s safety and security.