New chief of detectives makes history

Keith Lamont Stith becomes first African American chief of detectives in Hudson County

This month, Keith Stith became the first African American Chief of Detectives in Hudson County.
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This month, Keith Stith became the first African American Chief of Detectives in Hudson County.

Keith Lamont Stith made Hudson County History yesterday becoming the first African American chief of detectives in the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.

Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez promoted Stith to the position of Chief of Detectives of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office on Jan. 9 at a public ceremony at the William J. Brennan Courthouse.

“Keith is a consummate professional, and I am extremely proud of all that we have accomplished together these past four years,” said Prosecutor Suarez. “Having our first African-American Chief of Detectives is a momentous occasion for Hudson County, and I look forward to my continued good work with Keith in his new capacity.”

A career in law enforcement

Stith is a graduate of Wagner College and earned a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from New Jersey City University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy as well as a graduate of the Mentoring Potential Chief Executive Officers Program sponsored by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and Cedarville University.

According to a press release from the HCPO, Stith brings more than two decades of accomplishments and experience in law enforcement to the position and has served the past three years as the Deputy Chief for the Prosecutor’s Office.

As Deputy Chief his responsibilities included managing the day-to-day investigative operations of the Criminal Investigation Division — including its specialized units — and directly supervising the Cold Case Unit.

Stith began his law enforcement career with the Union County Sheriff’s Office in 1990.

He joined the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office in 1994 as a detective in the Narcotics Task Force. Early in his career, he served as a Financial Crimes Task Force Officer for the United States Customs Service.

While serving as an HCPO Sergeant, Stith helped create the Municipal Task Force which he later supervised.

As a lieutenant, he created a unit to address the proliferation of street gangs and gun violence in Hudson County which resulted in the formation of the Gang Task Force.

In 2006, Stith was appointed by the Hudson County Executive as the Acting Director of the Hudson County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

In 2011, he was promoted to the rank of captain in the prosecutor’s office, and he was assigned to the Homicide Task Force which under his leadership had a homicide clearance rate of more than 80 percent.

“I am grateful that Prosecutor Suarez is giving me the opportunity to continue to serve the citizens of Hudson County,” Stith said.  “Also, I am blessed and honored to become the first African-American promoted to Chief of Detectives in the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.”

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.