Atlantic City Deputy Police James Sarkos - Official ACPD Photo

A HARRY HURLEY OPINION - EDITORIAL 

An Open Letter to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small and all key decision makers.

One of the absolute, most important components for a police department, or, any paramilitary organization is to have a structure which promotes good order.

Here, we will make the case that James Sarkos should be promoted to the position Chief of Police for the Atlantic City Police Department without delay.

MISSION STATEMENT - ATLANTIC CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT:

To promote public safety; to prevent, suppress and investigate crimes; to provide emergency and non-emergency services; to create and maintain strong community partnerships; to adapt a multi-disciplinary approach to solving community problems; and to develop and promote a diverse, professional workforce.

VALUE STATEMENT:

The Atlantic City Police Department will commit its resources in partnership with the community to promote a safe and secure environment, free from crime and the fear of crime, to maintain order and provide for the safe and expeditious flow of traffic while practicing our core values of integrity, respect, service and fairness.

BACKGROUND:

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and City of Atlantic City announced that Deputy Police Chief James Sarkos will serve as Officer in Charge of the Atlantic City Police Department effective October 1, 2020 until a permanent police chief is named. The announcement comes after Police Chief Henry White’s retirement after 35 years in law enforcement.

THE PRESENT:

It’s now, Friday, November 5, 2021. For more than 13 months, Sarkos has done a great job without the proper title. He currently serves under the title of “Interim Officer in Charge.”

THE CASE FOR SARKOS:

Sarkos has demonstrated that he’s up for the task. He has managed complex , multiple areas of responsibility during some of the most challenging times in Atlantic City Police Department history.

  • Global COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Significant civil unrest.
  • Brazen increase in violence.
  • Draconian staffing cuts, which has created a very challenging manpower issue.

Sarkos is a skillful leader. He possesses book smarts, an Associates Degree, a Batchelor of Arts degree and a Masters Degree with a 3.95 GPA.

Just as important as his intellect, Sarkos possesses relatable, good old fashion common sense, too.

Sarkos is well respected by all those who he comes in contact with: State of New Jersey, the civilian leadership authority, the public and the rank and file Atlantic City Police Department personnel.

SARKOS EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE & EDUCATION CREDENTIALS:

Here’s a definitive snapshot of Sarkos’ career and education background:

Sarkos started his law enforcement career in 1995 as a Class One Special Law Enforcement Officer (S.L.E.O.) for the Ventnor Police Department.  He worked as a Class Two S.L.E.O. for the Wildwood Police Department during the summers of 1996-1999.  He was hired as a full-time police officer for the Linwood Police Department in October 1999.  In October 2000 he started his career with the Atlantic City Police Department.  Promoted to sergeant in 2006, lieutenant in 2011, captain in 2016 and deputy chief in 2018 he has supervised in the Patrol Division, Criminal Investigations Section and Special Investigations Section.  He has also served on the S.W.A.T. Team as an operator, team leader and commander and served as a patrol officer and vice detective earlier in his career.

Sarkos has received 15 departmental commendations throughout his career, twelve awards from the PBA including three life savings medals and supervisor of the year, a valor award from the American Legion, two valor awards and a certificate of commendation from the 200 Club, State of N.J. General Assembly Citation, recognized by the Bangladeshi Association of Atlantic County for dedication and services to the Atlantic City Community, certificate of appreciation from Stockton University, certificate of appreciation from the United States Secret Service and was the recipient of the Atlantic Cape Community College President's Distinguished Alumni Award.

Deputy Chief Sarkos was the project manager for several Atlantic City Police Department initiatives including the Boardwalk Camera Project, the ACPD Surveillance Center/Emergency Operations Center also known as “A.C.H.I.L.E.S.” (Atlantic City Headquarters for Intelligence Logistics and Electronic Surveillance), Project P.A.C.T. (Protecting Atlantic City Together) camera sharing initiative, R.T.M. (Risk Terrain Modeling), Project Medicine Drop and RAPID electronic pawn system.

Deputy Chief Sarkos holds an Associates of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Atlantic Cape Community College, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Stockton University, and a Master of Arts degree from Seton Hall University Police Graduates Studies Program in Human Resources Training and Development (3.95 GPA). He is also a graduate of the New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Police West Point Command and Leadership Program and Rutgers University / NJ Civil Service Commission Certified Public Manager Program.

Deputy Chief Sarkos is a founding member of the Atlantic City Police Foundation and currently serves as Vice Chair.  He is also a member of the Jewish Family Services Community Advisory Committee, Coalition for a Safe Community, FBI Newark Division Joint Terrorism Task Force and Atlantic Cape Community College Criminal Justice Advisory Board.

Deputy Chief Sarkos has been the guest speaker at numerous events around the country and internationally including the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual convention in Chicago, Illinois, evidence based policing conference at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA,, the First international Conference on Crime Risk Analysis in Elche, Spain and presented on the future of first responder technology to members of congress in Washington, D.C..  Deputy Chief Sarkos recently co-author a published report in the Journal of Place Management and Development.  Deputy Chief Sarkos also appeared on the National Geographic's series Break Through (S2 E5), featuring the ACPD and Rutgers University's work on Risk Terrain Modeling.

CLOSING SUMMATION:

It has long been our understanding that it is the desire of Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small to properly promote Sarkos to Chief of Police.

I am hereby respectfully requesting that New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy direct the Department of Community Affairs to approve this well earned promotion without delay.

Sarkos has earned it and the public deserves to have a newly minted Atlantic City Chief of Police installed.

South Jersey Police Who Tragically Died in the Line of Duty

This is a tribute to South Jersey police officers who tragically have died in the line of duty.

Atlantic City's Firsts Throughout History