TRAILBLAZER: Union County Has Its First-Ever Female Chief Of Detectives

For the first time since its founding more than 160 years ago, a woman has been named Chief of Detectives for the Union County Prosecutor's Office. 

Patricia Cusmano
Patricia Cusmano Photo Credit: Union County Prosecutor's Office

Patricia Gusmano, who has worked in law enforcement for nearly three decades, was recently sworn in by Acting Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo, who praised the woman who now holds the number-three job in the prosecutor's office. 

“Chief Gusmano has spent a career serving the people of Union County. She has been a tireless advocate for our most vulnerable victims—abused children, survivors of sexual assault, and the families of homicide victims. She has fought to bring those who would hurt our people to justice. And she has served her fellow officers as a trusted partner, as a no-nonsense supervisor, and as a guardian of the integrity of their profession. She has earned her reputation as one of the hardest-working people in this Office, and in her new role, she will continue to lead by example," Ruotolo said. 

Gusmano started in law enforcement with the Kean University Police Department, where she created the detective bureau and served as its first commander. Since 2000, she has worked at the prosecutor's office, where she has held ranking posts with the Special Victims Unit, Homicide Task Force and Special Prosecutions Unit. She was most recently in charge of the Professional Standards Unit. 

In 2017, she was named Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the New Jersey Sex Crimes Officers' Association, in recognition of her work on a human trafficking operation. 

With Gusmano's appointment, Union County becomes the first county prosecutor's office with women in the three top posts: Ruotolo, her deputy  Doreen A. Yanik, who serves as First Assistant Prosecutor, and Gusmano. 

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