SOMERVILLE, NJ -- The Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police has endorsed North Plainfield Police Chief William G. Parenti for Somerset County Sheriff.

Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano will remove his badge at the end of this year, retiring after a 50-year law enforcement career that began in Bridgewater as a rookie cop in 1968.

He has served six terms as sheriff.

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Provenzano has also endorsed Parenti to be his successor.

"Frank has been a great sheriff for many years," Parenti said. "I have been proud to support him during his tenure and I look forward to building upon the many programs designed to assist the people of Somerset County that Sheriff Provenzano championed.

 Parenti  has been re-elected to serve as the President of the Somerset County Associations of Chiefs of Police 13 times, and has also previously been selected by his peers to serve as the president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.

 Parenti, a third-generation law enforcement officer, has served as police chief in North Plainfield since 2004 and oversees one of the largest law enforcement agencies in Somerset County.

During his tenure as chief, Parenti has been recognized by the New Jersey Attorney General for his outstanding achievements and innovation in community policing.

 “The Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police’s decision to endorse Chief William “Bill” Parenti was an easy one. Under the chief’s leadership for the past 13 years, our organization has made numerous advances in community relations, and has always been governed with fiscal prudence, integrity and diligence. He is uniquely qualified to bring all stakeholders to the table and has the innate ability to listen to a problem and develop an effective solution,” said former Hillsborough Township Chief of Police and current Association Treasurer Paul Kaminsky.

“Following Sheriff Provenzano’s footsteps will not be easy,” Parenti said, but with the backing of my fellow chiefs across the County, I am confident that we can take the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office to new heights.

“ I am honored, and humbled, to have my peer’s endorsement and look forward to continuing our organization’s great work here in Somerset,” he added.

Parenti is the only candidate in the race for sheriff that is a police chief.

There are two other candidates with a law enforcement background who want to take over from Provenzano--Tim Pino, a former Dunellen police officer who joined the Sheriff's Department in 1997 and worked for Provenzano as commander of the Sheriff's Office K9 squad, and Art Atkins, a Democrat and former Bridgewater police officer whose father was a police officer in Somerville.

Pino, a Republican, had made his announcement to run several weeks ago, before Provenzano made known his intentions to retire; Pino has been endorsed by former Republican Somerset County Freeholder Patrick Scaglione