N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 394


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Wednesday, July 9, 1947 (Afternoon session)

the time there was a feeling that the sheriff should have one term. But under the present set-up I believe that in order to induce the proper type of citizen into public office, the sheriff should be allowed to succeed himself in office, if it be the wish of the voters of the county that he receive the nomination and the election. The voters should have the power from their observation to determine whether or not the man or woman who may be sheriff, or any other office holder of the county, should continue. I believe that we will maintain our democratic form of government by the power to vote men or women into public office or to remove them from public office for failure to carry out the wish or the mandate of the people.

And that is my belief why, in drawing the new Constitution, this Convention should see fit and should give serious consideration to providing succession in the office of sheriff, so that the right type of men and women may seek this high and important office.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Any questions?

MR. WINNE: I'm not in disagreement with anything you said, Sheriff. I don't know that there is any particular disagreement in the Convention about the constitutional office of sheriff and change in succeeding himself.

I don't know where the term "high peace officer" is derived from. I understand it very well. My personal experience is that the sheriff serves writs, has charge of the jail, has charge of the courts, and once in a great while he has the misfortune to be enbroiled in some strike situation and he wishes he could go up to Maine or New Hampshire to be away from it. I don't think, as a matter of fact, today, the sheriff is the high peace officer of the county except as the word appears somewhere in the books. I am a prosecutor; I have occasion to think about these things.

I wonder if the sheriffs care very much about that phase of the office? If it were - I don't know if it is going to come up in the Convention; I'm just addressing myself to you because the opportunity permits itself. The sheriff retains his position and continues to do the things that a sheriff does, namely, serve the writs and processes and subpoenas, have charge of the jail, man the courts, and so forth - the every-day work of the sheriff. Is this myth of being a peace officer important to the sheriffs, do you think, sir?

MR. CAMPBELL: I think it is, sir. I think, as I have stated before, that it is just as important as the Army and Navy is to ...

MR. WINNE: You know a sheriff doesn't do any policing. Actually, as a fact, you never arrested anyone in your life did you?

MR. CAMPBELL: Not personally.

MR. WINNE: Of course. I submit he's elected because he's popular, but he's not really a police officer at all, except in some kind of a theory. Am I right?

MR. CAMPBELL: Having the pleasure or displeasure - what-


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