Fontoura Runs for Re-Election
Sheriff Armando Fontoura is currently the longest-serving sheriff in Essex County history.
When voters go to the polls Tuesday, one of the candidates they will select is the Democratic nominee for Essex County Sheriff.
And unless there is a tremendous upset, the heavily-favored victor is Armando Fontoura, the current sheriff, who has served for eight terms.
Fontoura, of Fairfield, has received the endorsement of the Essex County Police Chiefs Association and Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., the highest-ranking Democrat in the county.
Squaring off against Fontoura are Roger Terry, former deputy mayor of Montclair and a retired deputy police chief; John Arnold Jr., a retired captain at the Essex County Prosecutor's Office; and Herman J. Rivera, a retired sheriff's detective. The Republicans have nominated Orlando Mendez, who ran against Fontoura previously and lost.
"I'm just as passionate today as when I started," said Fontoura on Monday. "I have the same energy level and I want to keep going until the voters decide I shouldn't anymore."
Fontoura said in the current economic and law enforcement climate, it is important to pool resources to run an effective agency. He said he works closely with other county agencies and has "good relationships" with the FBI and works to "bring resources from the federal and state level" to the county.
Sheriff Fontoura started off as a Newark cop in 1967, rose through the ranks to become a captain and eventually chief assistant to the police director. He graduated from the FBI's National Academy and the FBI's 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.
In 1986, he became an Essex County Undersheriff and was appointed sheriff in 1990. As the sheriff, he oversees several divisions, including the Bureau of Narcotics, Patrol Division and Bomb Detection Squad. Fontoura is also county coordinator for the Essex County Office of Emergency Management.
At the age of 69, he's also active in many civic organizations, among them is: The United Way, The Salvation Army, the 200 Club of Essex County, and the Ironbound Boys and Girls Club. He has a bachelor's degree in education and is married with three daughters and five grandchildren.