Credit: Arnold for Sheriff Campaign photo

John C. Arnold Jr. could make history if he’s elected. The former Newark deputy police director and ordained pastor is running to be the first Black Sheriff of Essex County.

Last week, Arnold got steps closer to securing the Democratic nomination by getting major endorsements from Black clergy and law enforcement organizations. He received unanimous support from The Superior Officers of Essex County Department of Correctional Police and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 106.

After announcing his plans to run in April, the entire delegation of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) representing all 17 unions within Essex County voted unanimously to endorse Arnold. He’s challenging incumbent Armando Fontoura.

Arnold also received support from clergy members, including Rev. Dr. Steffie Bartley, senior pastor of New Hope Baptist Church and northeast regional director for National Action Network.

“It was through John’s leadership that NAN and the AG’s office started a program in Newark where Essex County Pastors took to the streets to become chaplains and created transparent community dialogues to address concerns in the wake of police misconduct across the country,” Bartley said.

If elected, Arnold is pledging to reform community-based initiatives and working partnerships, mandatory body cameras, enhanced training, diverse and fair hiring practices for law enforcement officers.

“Essex County deserves a progressive, trendsetting, sheriff with radical ideas in fighting crime and bringing progressive policing strategies that ensure the safety of all its residents,” Arnold said. “Real, positive and transformational change is needed in the Essex County Sheriff’s Office right now and I bring that change to the table.”

Arnold served as Newark’s deputy police director from 2014 to 2016. In that role, he initiated a Special Enforcement/Intelligence Unit which investigated major crimes within Newark, spearheaded by the Police Department’s Office of Clergy and Community Affairs.

A native of Newark, Arnold graduated from Science Park High School before joining the United States Marine Corps. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies and theology from the JD Price Theological Bible College. In 2010, Arnold founded The Temple of Refuge Church in Newark. In 2016, he was installed as the pastor of WhoSoEver Will Church in Plainfield and is currently on the executive board and also serves as superintendent of the northern district for the Covenant Kingdom Ministries International.