Government

Grace Park Stepping Down as Union County Prosecutor; Thomas Isenhour to Take Over Role

Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park is leaving next week to become deputy general counsel and chief litigation counsel for PSEG. Credits: Union County Prosecutor's Office
Thomas K. Isenhour will become Union County Prosecutor when Grace Park leaves next week. Credits: Union County Prosecutor's Office

ELIZABETH, NJ — Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park is going to work for PSEG after more than four years of public service, she announced Friday. Thomas K. Isenhour, a 33-year veteran of the office who formerly served as first assistant prosecutor under Park, has been appointed to take her place.

“With over three decades of experience prosecuting defendants and supervising high-profile cases and projects for the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Tim Isenhour is extremely qualified to lead the office,” Governor Chris Christie said in a press release. “As we thank Grace Park for her years of dedicated service to the office and wish her well in her new pursuit, the people of Union County should feel confident the office of the prosecutor will remain under strong leadership with Tim Isenhour at the helm.”

Park’s last day as prosecutor will be Sept.13, after which she will become deputy general counsel and chief litigation counsel for the energy company Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc. (PSEG).

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“Serving the citizens of Union County in this position has been a tremendous honor. The two parts of this job I will miss the most are the mission of the work and the amazing people who execute that mission,” Park said in a press release. “It has been extremely humbling to work alongside of them, day in and day out, with the goal of simply doing the right thing, every day.”

“Having worked closely with a number of extraordinary county prosecutors, especially Prosecutor Park, I am keenly aware of the vital responsibilities of the position. I am particularly grateful to Governor Christie and Attorney General Porrino for selecting me to serve in this capacity,” Isenhour said in a press release. “I have strived to serve the citizens of Union County fairly and justly for more than 30 years, and relish the opportunity to continue those efforts in an expanded role.”

Isenhour is a career prosecutor, having joined the office in 1984. He became first assistant under Park in 2013. In that role, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the prosecutor’s office, including managing its budget of about $22 million and supervising a staff of approximately 250, including around 70 detectives and 75 assistant prosecutors. He also advised the county prosecutor on high-profile cases, initiatives and staffing.  

Isenhour is a graduate of George Washington University’s National Law Center, and earned his Juris Doctor and bachelor’s degree in history and psychology from the University of Denver.

Park has served as Union County Prosecutor since June of  2013. She was the first Asian-American county prosecutor in New Jersey history and the first female and minority lead prosecutor in Union County’s 160-year history.

Park’s final day in office will coincide with the grand opening of the Union County Family Justice Center (FJC), marking the successful culmination of a vision through which she brought together more than a dozen partner organizations to establish a permanent location at which government and non-government services and resources will be made available to meet the diverse needs of victims of domestic violence, the prosecutor’s office said.

Among Park’s other accomplishments in office was the rollout of what remains New Jersey’s most comprehensive county-funded, multi-department deployment of body-worn cameras to date, through which approximately $750,000 in Prosecutor’s Office forfeiture funding helped ensure that patrol officers in 16 of Union County’s 21 municipalities were outfitted with a total of approximately 800 devices as part of their uniforms by August 2016, the prosecutor’s office said.

Under Park’s leadership, the prosecutor’s office’s Guns, Gangs, Drugs and Violent Crimes Task Force also made unprecedented strides in its efforts to target high-level drug traffickers and organizations operating in Union County during recent years, according to the prosecutor’s office.

In addition, the Prosecutor’s Office during the last four years participated in more than 100 community events, with Park directly addressing citizens on matters ranging from the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic to transparency in law enforcement. The office also forged cooperative relationships with the YWCA Union County and the Office of the Union County Executive Schools Superintendent and its affiliated public school districts; in both cases these agreements resulted in the joint hosting of two annual events: the Union County C.A.R.E.S. (Community, Awareness, Response, Education, Safety) Domestic Violence Symposium and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Forum for School Administrators, the prosecutor's office said.

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