N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 393

Wednesday, July 9, 1947 (Afternoon session)

Trenton. Like Judge Otto, I feel that the clerks of the county should be clerks of all the trial courts in the county, no matter what courts you create or courts you continue as they now are. The clerk of the county, and all pleadings in trials - and I think that properly should be in the Constitution, not because I recommend it as a county clerk, but for the convenience of the citizens of that county, just as all property records are kept within the county.

We feel that the courts should be at all times close to the people, so that the people that the courts govern, or where they may litigate their matters of difference should be so set up that Mr. Citizen can easily get to that court - if necessary, similar to our Common Pleas judges today. Any citizen of the county may talk or speak with his county judge. We feel that has a great benefit for the citizens. We feel that the court system, whatever court system is adopted, should bear in mind the wants of the people over whom it will operate, and be so constituted that it will be operated for the convenience of the citizens of the county.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Any questions? Thank you very much.

Mr. Campbell, representing the Sheriffs' Association.

MR. ALEX CAMPBELL: Mr. Jacobs, members of the Committee:

As president of the Sheriffs' Association of New Jersey I have the privilege to appear here today and urge upon this Committee the necessity of maintaining the sheriffs of our State as a constitutional officer. The office of sheriff is just as important as the Army and Navy is to our government in order that we may maintain law and order, criminally and otherwise. It is true we have police departments in most of our municipalities. Unfortunately, many of them are small. In times of trouble, riots, strikes, or disorders, the sheriff is the only one that can be called upon to render immediate aid and command the citizenry of the county to subdue such riots, strikes, or other acts of violence. It is also true that he is responsible for carrying out all the orders directed to him by the courts of the State and our county - duties too numerous to take the time and which I am sure many of you are familiar with. Therefore, it is my opinion, as one who has had the privilege of serving the County of Union as sheriff for the second time, that it should be continued a constitutional office.

Also, it is, in my opinion from past experience, an office that has become highly administrative in this day and age - one that has elevated itself with the growth of our counties. In former years the sheriff was an officer who was paid by the fee system. Fortunately, the legislative body saw fit to take steps that he become a salaried employee. The fees for the services rendered by the sheriff no longer are a part of his earnings, but are turned over to the county treasurer. Under the old fee system, I can readily see how possibly at

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