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Walter Hopson

Every day that Walter Hopson walks through the halls of the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center he is reminded of his goals by a simple banner hanging over an entry way. “With malice toward none, with charity for all,” the banner reads, words from President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address. “Truly words to live by,” said Hopson, who was recently named the new superintendent of the center. “I believe that by working toward that goal every day you really can make a difference.”

Superintendent Hopson, who has worked at the juvenile detention center for 22 years, rising through the ranks from a juvenile detention center officer to now superintendent, has experienced firsthand the changes in juvenile detention programs. Hopson began his vocation of working with kids 35 years ago as a sports coach. He then found himself drawn to at-risk youth about 20 years ago. “Walt brings a wealth of experience to this position,” said Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. “He knows the importance of working with the juveniles, their parents and guardians, the courts, law enforcement and the community so that programs work and ultimately provide help for the youths who are here.”

Hopson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Richard Stockton College and has recently completed all course work for his Master’s in Criminal Justice from Stockton as well. He is a certified instructor with the New Jersey Police Training Commission and the American Red Cross. He has taught aspiring Juvenile Officers at the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Training Academy in Sea Girt and the Essex County Police Academy. Walt is President of the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Association and serves on several local and state committees, coalitions, and work groups involved with Juvenile Justice planning, process, and reform. Hopson has presided over the New Jersey Juvenile Trainers Advisory Council. He was chosen as the National Juvenile Detention Association Officer of the Year in 1995 and was also awarded the Thomas M. Cooper Professional Award while completing his basic Juvenile Detention Officer course in the same year.

Mr. Hopson is a family man. He is married to his wife of 18 years, Kathryn Hopson, a dedicated and innovative social worker with the Department of Juvenile Services for 22 years before her retirement. Walt and Kathy enjoy spending time with their four children and eight grandchildren as they support each of them in school and in their extracurricular activities. On any weekend, they may be found playing family board games, enjoying a movie, or gardening in their back yard. Walt is also an avid golfer and can testify to the old adage that “it never rains on the golf course.” We are fortunate indeed to have a man of such outstanding character, experience, and vision for the new Superintendent of the Ocean County Department of Juvenile Services.