MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ – TAPinto Red Bank has been offering a series of “Back of the House” articles profiling the men and women of who make Red Bank “work.”
We’ve expanded this notion to include the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Our purpose is to have our readers gain a personal sense of the people and the support personnel who perform behind the scenes to keep the county running and safe, 24/7/365. Hence, “Back of the House.”
We spoke with Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, and asked him a few questions.
TAP: Tell us about yourself, where you grew up, your education and military experience, and why you choose law enforcement
Gramiccioni: I grew up everywhere! My father was a career Army officer for 28 years, so I spent my youth moving every 2-3 years. I was born at Fort Monmouth NJ, and lived in Virginia (2x), Florida, Arizona, Germany (2x), Italy, and Maryland.
I joined the Navy in 1997, initially as a surface warfare officer, but spent most of my time as a JAG Corps officer. I currently hold the rank of Commander, and served tours of duty in Newport, RI, San Diego, CA, Seattle, WA, Roosevelt Roads, PR, Washington, DC and Logar Province, Afghanistan (and shipboard a couple of times too).
In the Navy, I specialized in operational law and the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC). In my 2014 deployment to Afghanistan, I served as the operational law advisor to SEAL Team EIGHT.
As for education, I graduated with a BS from Towson University in 1994, and a JD from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1998.
I chose law enforcement because public service is in my blood; it’s part of my DNA and I believe it is important to do something for the greater good. I have been honored to serve the public my entire professional life, and am proud to enforce the rule of law in the State of New Jersey.
TAP: What does the County Prosecutor do?
Gramiccioni: County Prosecutors are unique to New Jersey, unlike a traditional District or State’s Attorney in other states. I serve as the chief law enforcement officer in Monmouth County. In this capacity, I oversee all criminal investigations and prosecutions that occur in Monmouth County.
I also supervise and coordinate the law enforcement efforts of more than 2,000 law enforcement officers operating in 48 police departments that operate in the 53 municipalities across the County. The Prosecutor holds a constitutional office and is nominated by the Governor, and confirmed by the Senate (similar to the federal model).
TAP: In terms of personnel, what is the size of the support staff and the number of assistant prosecutors and detectives?
Gramiccioni: At full staffing, we have about 275 employees including 79 detectives and 58 Assistant Prosecutors. The remaining 138 employees are administrative, paralegal, victim-witness coordinators and clerical.
TAP: Tell us about the relationship between local law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office
Gramiccioni: This is one of the things for which I am most proud. The Monmouth County Police Chiefs Association, the Sheriff’s Office and the MCPO have a fabulous working relationship. One that is defined by a spirit of teamwork and cooperation.
It is not easy to coordinate the collective law enforcement efforts of 48 police departments – we have the second-most in the State! The strong relationships exist not just because of departmental leadership, but because of the dedicated officers in each department that work so well with our detectives across the various units we have.
Together, we work hard to ensure we are all rowing in the same direction.
TAP: Talk about the crime prevention initiatives that your office is involved in
Gramiccioni: There are so many to list! Here are some:
- CrimeStoppers of Monmouth County – by soliciting lion-hearted volunteers across the County community, we were able to help launch a CrimeStoppers chapter here locally. They are an independent 501(c)(3) charity where 100% of donations go to fighting crime in our communities.
- 1st County-wide Body Worn Camera (BWC) Pilot Program in State – established for municipal police departments, coordinated and overseen by the MCPO. Since the pilot concluded, 40% of county municipal police departments utilize BWCs on patrol officers; 71% utilize dashboard cameras in their police vehicles.
- 1st Hurricane Sandy Fraud Task Force in State – following the devastation of Sandy, we launched a county-wide task force designed to help homeowners with constructed-related issues arising from post-storm rebuilding efforts.
- 1st County-wide Special Needs Registry in State – we established a county-wide voluntary registry service to ensure special needs citizens can obtain necessary help and support in times of emergency, or during interactions with police, fire or EMS first responders. The program has since grown into a Statewide program with mandating legislation.
- Opioids & Anti-Addiction Efforts – 1st to arm all first-responding police officers with lifesaving drug naloxone kits; we also negotiated the Narcan Replenishment Initiative with all area hospital networks to provide new Narcan kits free of charge to police officers in exchange for used kits; launched 1st Opioids Overdose Initiative titled “Heroin and Opioids Kill” in partnership with 50 school districts in County, helping raise awareness to the epidemic plaguing the region with at-risk youth; and created an opioids diversion program to help break the cycle of addiction for defendants repeatedly arrested for low-level crime.
TAP: What community programs does the prosecutor’s office provide?
Gramiccioni: We have a fully staffed Victim-Witness Unit to assist citizens in navigating the complex and often frustrating criminal justice process; a Professional Responsibility Unit to help further establish integrity in our police ranks; a robust and active Community Law Enforcement Unit that routinely engages the public on crime prevention, citizen-police interactions, internal affairs, use of force matters, and several other topics as requested by our citizens. These are just a few but please see our Office website for further information.
TAP: What’s the most difficult part of your job?
Gramiccioni: To see victims of criminal violence suffer from the loss of or injury to their loved ones. For many victims, a successful criminal investigation and prosecution is part of their therapeutic healing process. It puts the pressure on to deliver a good result, but we are up to the task.
TAP: What’s the most satisfying?
Gramiccioni: To lead the men and women of this fine organization, as well as to serve as the chief law enforcement officer for the outstanding law enforcement officers and agencies across the County.
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