Polhemus has continued to strongly support the Criminal Investigation
was started in 1970 by Sheriff Rutter with John Sadowski
as its first commander. At that time its mission was as an extension
of the Identification Unit. The Detectives were trained in Crime Scene
Photography and the processing of latent fingerprints with black powder.
In the early 1980's, the department leaped ahead of most others in
the field. The Criminalistics Investigation Unit (CIU) had two Forensic
Chemists, a Forensic Photo Technician, and between six and fourteen
sworn detectives trained to do crime scene investigations. In 1981,
Ocean County was one of the very first to use "crazy glue"
for the development of latent prints. Presently, we are utilizing
it every day with great success. In 1981, CIU was the first department
in the State of New Jersey to have and utilize a laser for forensic
work. At the time, CIU was one of only a dozen departments in North
America utilizing this technology.
The renowned Forensic expert
, Dr. Henry Lee, of the Connecticut
State Crime Lab brought several cases to Ocean County for processing
with our laser before getting one in Connecticut. The FBI referred
cases to Ocean County because of the reputation developed and the
availability of the most modern equipment and techniques. Ocean County
assisted the US Secret Service in developing its Laser Program.
In 1985, a renewed enthusiasm and commitment to the law
community came with Sheriff William L. Polhemus. In 1986, Sheriff
Polhemus dedicated a new Criminalistics building.
Not satisfied with the status quo, CIU in 1991 was the first in New
Jersey to begin in-house DNA testing. In 1992, under Lt. William G.
Haggas Commanding Officer and Lab Director, CIU supported the State
Automated Fingerprint Identification System and was number one in
hits. Today we are still number one with over 300 A.F.I.S. identifications.
In 1995, Lt. James Dishon took over as commanding officer of CIU and
Sergeant Jeff Thompson as Laboratory Director. The staff consisted of
two clericals, three forensic photographers, four forensic chemistry
members, nine sworn detectives, with one A.F.I.S. coordinator and
two evidence officers.
In 2001, Captain James Dishon was transferred to the Criminal Identification
Division and Lt. Jeff Thompson was appointed Chief of the Sheriff's
Department. Lt. Thomas Ryan took over as Commanding Officer and Laboratory
Director. Under Lt. Ryan's direction, Sergeant Matthew Armstrong heads
a staff, of two clericals, two forensic photographers, four Forensic
Chemists, 9 sworn detectives and an arson K-9 officer.
The present capabilities
complete laboratory analysis
firearm/tool mark identification
basic serology-blood typing
blood alcohol and urine analysis
sexual assault evidence exams
footwear/tire impression identification
complete crime scene investigations
laser/alternate light processing
fatal motor vehicle accident investigation
homicide/major crime investigations
The above list is always expanding as our capabilities are always
changing to meet the needs of the 33 municipalities serviced by the
Ocean County Sheriff's Department.
Due to the sensitive nature of criminal investigations, little is
known locally of what has been accomplished by CIU. We are one of
the first to arrive and the last to leave most major crime scenes.
CIU has assisted many state and federal agencies over the years and
has even been asked to assist with training
and for several foreign countries.