John C. Arnold announces that he has secured key endorsements in his race to become the first Black sheriff in the 339-year-history of Essex County, New Jersey. The former Deputy Police Director and ordained pastor is competing for the Democratic nomination and to date he has received key endorsements from police groups across the county along with leading Black pastors who are integral in the national fight for criminal justice reform.

“Communities across the nation are demanding reform and transparency in law Enforcement he said. “As the chief law enforcement officer in the county, Sheriff Fontoura has for 30 years been unwilling or incapable of bringing that change. I have the physical and mental capacity, experience, and skill sets to move the Essex County Sheriff’s Office forward to meet the demands and challenges facing law enforcement in this present day, by transforming the office into a proactive and progressive community-centric law enforcement organization. I will bring true reform and change to policing.”

The Superior Officers of Essex County Department of Correctional Police, FOP Lodge 106 endorsed Arnold, stating that his track record as a former Deputy Police Director for the city of Newark and his commitment to police reform is what the county needs to move policing forward in the wake of a clarion call across the country for better community police relations. In addition, the Essex County Police Benevolent Association endorsed Arnold on April 22 in a unanimous vote and wished Arnold “continued success in the election.”

Arnold also received support from key clergy members, including Rev. Dr. Steffie Bartley, Senior Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church and Northeast Regional Director for National Action Network, one of the leading civil rights organizations in the country. According to Pastor Bartley: “It was through John’s leadership that NAN and the AG’s office started a program in Newark where Essex County Pastors took to the streets to become chaplains and created transparent community dialogues to address concerns in the wake of police misconduct across the country.”

“My goal is to make Essex County neighborhoods safer, restore the public’s trust in law enforcement, and to partner with private, public, social, and community entities to foster and maintain strong relationships in an effort to make the Essex County Sheriff’s Office more effective in serving the citizens of Essex County and a model law enforcement agency nationwide,” Arnold added. “Essex County deserves a progressive, trendsetting, Sheriff with radical ideas in fighting crime and bringing progressive policing strategies that ensure the safety of all its residents. Real, positive and transformational change is needed in the Essex County Sheriff’s Office right now and I bring that change to the table.”

Pastor Jerry Smith, Senior Pastor at Transcend Worship Center and Vice President of National Action Network’s Irvington, New Jersey Chapter, works closely with Essex County leadership on outreach and ministry in the community. He is supporting Arnold because he is the viable force that is needed right now to reform policing for the betterment of Essex County. “As a pastor, the community comes to us for answers and I am often called to deliver eulogies for residents that are victims of crime, gun violence, and even victims of police misconduct and excessive force, and community members need a leader like John Arnold that will be an accountable advocate for us.”

Among the areas of reform that Arnold has pledged to address include community-based initiatives & working partnerships, mandatory body cameras, enhanced training, diverse and fair hiring practices.

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