Armstrong Looking To Make Major Changes If Elected Ocean County Sheriff

Democrat challenging longtime Sheriff William L. Polhemus in race for three-year term.

The Democratic candidate running for Ocean County sheriff this year says issues, not age, will be the focus of his campaign.

George "Bob" Armstrong, 68, is challenging 83-year-old William L. Polhemus for the three-year sheriff's term in November. He unveiled his platform on the steps of the Ocean County Courthouse Monday afternoon.

He doesn't plan to make an issue out of Polhemus' age.

"That's up to the voters to decide," Armstrong said in an interview this morning.

"Even if he was only 60 years old, it's been way too long," he added. "It's just outrageous for one person to be there for 27 years."

Armstrong said his 40-year career in law enforcement will benefit the Sheriff's Department and the residents of Ocean County.

He has served as a Special Agent with U.S. Army Intelligence, the FBI and the U.S. Treasury. He retired as a Lt. Colonel with the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations after 32 years of service. He also served as a state investigator/detective with the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and as a special agent with the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation.

Armstrong proposes putting the Corrections Department back under the supervision of the Ocean County Sheriff, a move he says would cut down on overtime and put more officers on the street.

"If Corrections was combined, you'd have more bodies to move around," he said.

The Ocean County Sheriff supervised the Corrections Department for more than 100 years in the past.

But that changed more than 25 years ago, when Board of Freeholders reversed course. The board passes a resolution that separated both departments and appointed Theodore J. Hutler Jr. as jail warden to oversee the Corrections Department, Armstrong said.

It would take the cooperation of the Board of Freeholders to make the change, he said.

"It's going to be tough," Armstrong said.  "It's a challenge I'd like to take on."

The combined overtime budget for the Sheriff's Office and Corrections Department tallied over $4 million in 2011, compared to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, which spent $400,000 in overtime, he said.

"They (Prosecutor's Office) are the only ones conducting crime investigations and they probably have 70 investigators," Armstrong said.

Almost half of the Ocean County Sheriff's Department officers — who are certified police officers anywhere in the county — make over $100,000, Armstrong said.

That's an untapped source of law enforcement power that could be put to better use than manning metal detector stations at the Ocean County Courthouse and the Justice Complex and serving warrants , he said.

"They guard the doors, they serve papers," Armstrong said. "These guys can enforce the law throughout Ocean County. We have this big source that's not being used."

He agrees that armed law enforcement officers are needed at certain areas in the courthouse. But security personnel could be put in place in some areas, freeing up sheriff's officers for more substantial duties, he said.

Armstrong proposes putting more sheriff's officers back on the street to help local police departments, which are often understaffed and dealing with gang and drug-related crime in their communities.

"The young guys are looking to get involved," he said. "The old-timers, who are making a lot of money, they are happy."

Armstrong said that if elected, he would meet with each police chief in Ocean County to determine if and where sheriff's officers could assist their departments.

"I propose to sit down with the Ocean County chiefs and work together as a team, to put an end to the past 27-year history that discouraged the Ocean County Sheriff's officers from engaging in shared community policing in our local communities"," he said.

Armstrong said he will push for debates with Polhemus during the campaign. He said he never saw Polhemus once at any candidates' nights in the 2009 race, when he ran unsuccessfully against the sheriff.

"I'd be sitting up there by myself," he said. "it was sort of a joke that Polhemus wasn't there. He just takes it for granted."

has served as Ocean County Sheriff since 1985. Prior to that, he was police chief of the Seaside Heights Police Department and served 35 years in the department.

"The sheriff to my knowledge has been running a good operation over there," Ocean County Republican Chairman George R. Gilmore said recently.  "The sheriff has said that he wants to run."

When asked if he thought was up to another term, Gilmore replied, "I see no impediment to his running and winning."

Ken Bank April 04, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Polhemus knows which closets Gilmore's skeletons are hanging in. That's why Gilmore gives him the GOP line for as long as Polhemus can sit in his Hoveround..
Eric Thomas April 04, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Clearly, Colonel Armstrong is the person for this job. And he will have my vote come Election Day.
Lakeland63 April 04, 2012 at 11:56 PM
"I propose to sit down with the Ocean County chiefs and work together as a team, to put an end to the past 27-year history that discouraged the Ocean County Sheriff's officers from engaging in shared community policing in our local communities"," he said. Great idea, why not have a Reverse 911, under the OC Sheriffs department to provide emergency notification.information to our local communities.
Jim April 04, 2012 at 11:58 PM
I dont trust anyone with a background in the FBI. Guess its Polhemus for me again.
Walter J Hobb's April 05, 2012 at 12:17 AM
You folks don't get it. This guy could be 84, 54 or 24 the R's are going to sweep in this county big time in Nov. The will go down that party line in November like lighting, I would estimate 90% of the voters don't even know or pay any attention to the Sheriff spot. Geeze a few years ago when I think it was the County Surrogate? Franklin Fisher had passed away he won the election cause his name was still on the ballot. Armstrong is also like 70 so whats the difference? For the record Pelhumus will win along with Barlett, Little and the rest of the party line.
Hearme April 05, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Armstrong seems to have a strong background that appears to make him a good candidate. I am excited to find out more about him and his ideas. It's nice to see someone making an effort to do something to change the stupidity that has gone on in this area for so long. The current sheriff is getting paid to be in a position that he has been in for as long as I have lived here at least (25 years) yet I never see him doing anything except show up for a parade or photo op. He and Vacari must be related. I have never seen more people get paid to do jobs that they just don't do anywhere else but in Ocean County NJ. It is so frustrating as a tax payer.I don't like paying taxes anymore than the next person, however we have to do it. I Just want to make sure that the person getting my tax dollars as a salary is doing the job they were hired to do.The current sheriff has never done the job as long as I have lived here. I don't understand why anyone votes for him. His age is not the issue he sucked at his job 25 years ago and he still sucks at it.If he was doing a great job and was capable of continuing I wouldn't care if he were 100. The fact is he is incapable or unwilling or maybe both to do this job. His party affiliation should have nothing to do with his position either. I would love it if the Sheriff was a non partisanship position and you just got elected based on your qualifications and stand on how the office should be run.
TP April 05, 2012 at 12:47 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILJDudUpct0 Illegal Aliens Caught Voting and Stealing Elections In Florida In Vast Numbers
JOHNNY Done it April 09, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Sounds good vote the sheriff back in who doesnt know what day it is or what his job is,, want to waste your tax dollars at least give to a local non profit..
Mark Wendell April 10, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Mr Armstrong, I wish you luck and you have my vote Sir!
Pastor Hill April 29, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Stay with what you have. Armstrong is not the person for this job, he would sell his soul, switch his party and he has never walked a beat in his life. BIG EGO!!!!!!!!!!!!
JOHNNY Done it April 29, 2012 at 05:53 AM
@pastor hill. so lets put an 80+ old guy.. that cannot remmenber what he said 5 minutes earlier....that makes real sense dont it. lets put a 10 year old in there.Least he knows whats going on & stay on the same subject in conversation...I will take the big ego
1stcav April 29, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Pastor Hill...please, when and how LONG ago did the Sheriff walk that beat ??? He needs a siren on his Hoveround in the SR parking lot as HE"S always double parked ! Probably would forget where he parked , so double park and your cars right outside the cleaners door ...Roosevelt was president when he walked that beat, and it was Teddy not Franklin...looong time ago .. Cigarettes were 5 packs for a dollar..
Lenny Pruit May 02, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Sheriff's officers to assist local police departments? I don't think so. The local police departments who are overloaded with officers have salaries bigger than the sheriff's officers. This guy is dreaming. Leave the sheriff officers and the correction officers where they belong.
Robert Wiggins May 29, 2012 at 02:29 AM
The Sheriffs Department has many officers who are doing a great job but are not reaching their potential. Guarding doors, serving attorney papers, running xray machines and getting almost 100,000 a year. Of course they like the money but feel they are under used. Some officers have ticket books but heaven help them if they use them. Let's give the officers a chance to show Ocean County what they can do and one that will stand up to the FreeLoaders. Maybe a Sheriff who will spend the money given to him to upgrade the department and not return hundreds of thousands of dollars back to the county so he can say he doesn't need it. Their devisions need new cars because most of them show over 150000 miles. Time for change. Everything is not as usual for over 27 years!
So Much to Say May 29, 2012 at 03:12 AM
I'm a Republican and I'm voting for Armstrong. Why??? Because Polhemus can't go into public without a keeper, can't drive....I'm guessing Altzheimer's or Dementia. The rumor mill in OC Gov is. Gilmore and company is planning on retiring Polhemus and appointing Mastronardi. Too many of my friends work for the OC Gov and I'm not happy with this plan.
So Much to Say May 29, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Better then the senile old man who needs a keeper to leave his home. Altzheimer/Dementia.
So Much to Say May 29, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Gues what......We're in NEW JERSEY. Who cares what their doing in FLORIDA.
grace May 29, 2012 at 01:34 PM
also has any one checked out mr gilmores involvement with mr ritacco? runor has it ,that there is an investigation going on , we need new blood
The unknown SO July 03, 2012 at 01:09 PM
The Sheriff should do all the policing in the county's small towns such as Bayhead, Mantaloking, Lavalette, Island Heights, Eagleswood, Pine Beach, Ocean Gate, Beachwood, South Toms River, Lakehurst, Tuckerton, All of Long Beach Island, Ocean Township and Plumsted, just to name a few. Bob Armstrong with get rid of the dead wood police departments and become the real sheriff in town.
wtf_u_say October 14, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Bob Armstrong seems to have embellished his Bio. He says he was Commander at Pope AFB, yet he is a LT Col with no overseas Campaign Medals (that is why he is not a VFW member). I have never known a Lt Col to be appointed as a Base Commander. He may have been a Squadron or Group Commander, but if so, then his Bio is a little bit misleading. Here is the quote from his website: During the Gulf War, “Bob” was mobilized and served as Commander at Pope AFB, North Carolina. If he was the Base Commander as a Lt Col, then he has my vote! If not, then please change the Bio so it is accurate.
gene smith October 14, 2012 at 07:07 PM
time for a change i think.
Lori Morrison October 15, 2012 at 01:12 AM
No disrespect to Polhemus, but for years Wayne Rupert was running the department until he passed away. It's time for the Sheriff to retire.
grace October 15, 2012 at 04:18 PM
where are the new young people? come on !!yes its so time for a change...maybe a retired police officer who wants to step up..or a young republican
poppajon October 22, 2012 at 10:47 PM
I love Sherrif Polhemus Ive met him and He is a great guy, BUT !!! its time for a change man!, Mr Armstrong looks good to me and Im A GOP!, on the other hand If you really want a young BUCK in there, Mitch Remig should be on the ticket!!!!!!! Young and smart as a whip!!!
"Bob" Armstrong October 23, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Lt Col "Bob" Armstrong's Biography, never said he was the "Base Commander" at Pope AFB, NC. "Bob" Armstrong was the Air Force Office Special Investigations Commander (Special Agent in Charge) during the Gulf War, supervising special agent's deployed worldwide.
"Bob" Armstrong October 23, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Lt Col "Bob" Armstrong's biography never said he was the "Base Commander at Pope AFB, NC. Colonel Armstrong was the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) Commander (Special Agent in Charge) at Pope AFB, NC, supervising special agents at home and deployed worldwide.
charlotte August 17, 2013 at 08:43 AM
Vote for Bob Armstrong for Ocean County Sheriff!
grace August 17, 2013 at 09:29 AM
you know what charlotte if people have a brain they will vote for anyone but mastro..but i have a terrible feeling the sheep still follow...so sad....please dont overdo the vote for bob thing it could hurt his chances..i say keep pushing the cover ups and his friends..like chief from seaside who is being investigated by fbi and the out of control crime since mastro said he was retiring and becoming sherriff!!!
charlotte August 17, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Thank you for your comments grace. I think we need to "get out the vote" and I am confident that they will choose the right person. Glad to hear that you will be one of them - don't give up!


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