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Mercer County Sheriff

The sheriff provides law enforcement for the county, serves warrants on behalf of courts, apprehends fugitives, and works with Federal and State agencies. Office includes Court Security, Emergency Response Team, Detective Bureaus, community Education Programs and others. The sheriff's office has over 140 sworn personnel and 60 civilian employees.The sheriff serves a three-year term and in 2018 earned a salary of $170,000.

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  • Bryan "Bucky" Boccanfuso
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    John "Jack" Kemler
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

In your view, what are the biggest issues facing the sheriff's department at this time?

What are your qualifications for this office? Why are you the best candidate to handle the responsibilities of the position?

What can the sheriff do to improve public trust in law enforcement?

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Campaign Email jack0393@aol.com
Funding is one of the greatest challenges for any government agency, especially those related to law enforcement. As your Mercer County Sheriff, I work hard to hold the line on expenses that are ultimately borne by taxpayers. It is a delicate balance when our constitutional duties include the protection of the courts and the criminal justice system with public monies. Add to that our backup and support to local police departments in their time of need, airport protection, maintaining specialty units such as K-9 squads, a SWAT team, and safe prisoner transportation. These matters, in addition to general operating costs and equipment needs all fall under the Sheriff’s organization budget – with each item vying for funding.

Also, we are all living in unprecedented times with COVID-19. Everyone in our community has been affected by loss or disruption during this pandemic. Add to it unsettling racial tension, and civil unrest. Frankly, these events can put our officers, our civilian employees, and the general public under great pressure, and create anxiety and uncertainty for what the future holds. These are major issues that merit great attention and high-quality leadership in Mercer County.

I have a proud law enforcement background that spans over three decades. I began my police career in 1983 as a patrol officer working for the Trenton Police Department. My assignments included stints as a K-9 handler, narcotics officer, and a detective in the Criminal Investigation Bureau. In 1998, I was promoted to Sergeant and was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Bureau, where I supervised the Violent Crimes Squad. Throughout my career, I received numerous awards and accommodations, but I am most proud of being selected as the Trenton Kiwanis' Officer of the Year in 1990.

Today, I continue the Sheriff’s Office’s long-standing history of working closely with Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies to keep our communities safe. Under my leadership, the Sheriff’s Office maintains its charge to serve warrants, on behalf of the courts and to apprehend fugitives with swiftness and efficiency. Our Fugitive Unit maintains a strong working relationship with the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office. Our highly skilled Fugitive Unit officers are also assigned to the Special Investigations Unit as well as the Homicide Task Force, both under the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office. Sheriff's Officers are also assigned to assist the Trenton Police Department's Warrant Taskforce. Additionally, Command Officers under my purview participate in briefings that coordinate Federal, State, and local responses to criminal activity in the greater Trenton area. Under my direction, the Mercer County Sheriff's Office has experienced overwhelming support from the media and the public for the revival of "Mercer's Most Wanted" - to apprehend fugitives who roam our streets.

The position of Mercer County Sheriff requires a great deal of responsibility. I have served in the position since November of 2010 and I am grateful for the trust of our county residents.
Great question. Again, I am grateful for the trust of our county residents.

The Mercer County Sheriff's Office stands very proud of its long-held beliefs in equality, social justice, and particularly in our training and hiring. I am proud to state the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, has a very high level of diversity in both its sworn and civilian employee ranks. While nearly all hiring comes under the strict jurisdiction of the NJ Civil Service Commission and their testing procedures, our agency has an amazingly diverse group of leaders, officers, and civilians employees. To that, I am most proud.

I take very seriously the mandates of the State Attorney General, the directives he has set for resiliency, diversity, and bias training. We strictly follow well thought out directives to the fullest and best of our abilities. Also, we conduct diversity, anti-discrimination, and anti-sexual harassment training among our employees, as mandated by State law. Further, we have open and frank conversations in our ranks about resiliency, stress, and diversity. No law enforcement agency on earth can claim to be perfect. However, I can state with confidence Mercer County Sheriff’s Office is well ahead of the curve when it comes to inclusion, equity, equality, and we work hard to maintain the public’s trust.