Sheriff Eric Scheffler
Eric Scheffler was elected Sheriff of Atlantic County November, 2017 and took office in January, 2018. He has begun redirecting the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office's mission to focus on professional development programs that empower staff to create leaders and will result in a higher level of both efficiency and professionalism within the department.
Eric has also begun forming partnerships with leadership groups to address our most pressing issues such as the heroin epidemic, homelessness, the mentally ill, and violence plaguing our country. Eric believes that people are more similar than they are different, and that by sharing our strengths and passions we can become unstoppable.
One of the issues that Eric is compassionate about is post-traumatic stress disorder “PTSD." Our first responders go home every day with the sights, the sounds, the cries, the smell, the photographs embedded in their mind. It never goes away, it will remain there forever. We will develop a support system program for the Sheriff's Department which will be shared among the first responder community here in Atlantic County.
Eric retired as a Lieutenant with the Atlantic City Police Department with 23 years of service. During his tenure there, he served in both the Patrol and Training Divisions. His hard work and dedication led to his promotion to Shift Commander in the Patrol Division and to Commander of the Training Unit. Eric is an instructor in twenty-two different law enforcement top areas, and has personally created eleven different law enforcement instructor courses. Nineteen police departments in New Jersey are currently using Eric’s programs, including the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. Eric also worked as a paraprofessional at Mainland Regional High School where he worked with at-risk youth as well as intellectually and developmentally disabled students. He has also volunteered his time as a founding member of Mainland’s “One Life Committee”, tackling heroin and opioid addiction issues in our schools. In addition to his tireless commitment to this diverse population, Eric created an option-based protocol empowering teachers and students to make decisions in the event of an active shooter/violent intruder event.
Eric is an Atlantic County native. He was raised in Margate, NJ. Eric and his wife Maria currently reside in Northfield NJ with their family.
Eric Scheffler has dedicated his life to protecting our families and our community.
Through major partnerships and private/public collaborations, we have formed the Hope One Project and Mobile One Outreach Initiative. This has proven to be one of the most highly successful community outreach initiatives in Atlantic County history. The program immediately influenced the level of service to community members who were suffering from the disease of addiction and/or mental health issues. We have strived to remove barriers to treatment and reduce the stigma historically associated with seeking help by those who may be in crisis.
One of the most significant funding and community engagement projects we have participated in is our grant partnership with the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. This collaboration resulted in the Sherriff’s Office receiving a four-year, two-million dollar federal grant to provide overdose prevention training for first responders. The program will train police, firefighters, casino and hospital security and emergency medical technicians throughout Atlantic County. It also will enable us to distribute the opioid overdose reversal drug, Naloxone and train overdose survivors and their families on its use.
Another topic that holds significant meaning to me is the support we offer to veteran’s issues. We have become intimately involved in collaborations with Veterans Smile Day, South Jersey Veteran’s Community Outreach Team, K-9 Warriors and South Jersey Veteran’s Center.
Additionally, I have mandated a wellness program which includes a foundational curriculum based on human resilience strategies. These are science/evidence based principles that address healthy coping skills for individuals that transcends the law enforcement profession into everyday life. My philosophy is simple: “A physically and mentally fit officer is a confident officer; A confident officer will have the skill set to make sound decisions and ultimately better serve the community”.
On the training front, we have implemented various new programs to address critical events and enhance the skill set of our employees. Programs include tactical first aid, active shooter and enhanced emergency response protocols for our courts through the creation of the “Special Response Team." Over the past three years in office, I have conducted over 100 lecturers teaching civilians on how to become their own first responder. This lecture series trains individuals on how to raise personal situational awareness and maximize survival rate from moment to moment during a critical incident.
School community safety is a grave concern for society in general and a high priority for the Sheriff’s Office as well. As an example, we have increased the number of School Resource Officers from one to six in schools in our county. The enhanced presence not only serves as an added security measure, a physical deterrent and an increased feeling of safety for students and employees, it also allows the staff to conduct advanced training for these officers. It also creates opportunities to engage the student body. These efforts will further produce trusting relationships between officers and the school community as a whole and facilitate long-lasting school community relations for future generations.