Patricia Gusmano was sworn in last Friday as Chief of Detectives for the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, making her the first female chief in the 162-year history of the Prosecutor’s Office.
Gusmano, a nearly 30-year law enforcement veteran, was appointed to the position by Acting Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo, who administered the oath of office. According to Ruotolo, “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.”
Gusmano began her law enforcement career with the Kean University Police Department, where she formed and served as commander of the agency’s first official Detective Bureau. In 2000, she joined the Prosecutor’s Office, where she has held a number of sensitive positions as both an investigator and a senior officer, including with the Office’s Special Victims Unit, Homicide Task Force, and Special Prosecutions Unit. Most recently she directed the Professional Standards Unit, which handles a broad variety of internal affairs matters.
She has been active in the education of the law enforcement community, instructing both new recruits and active officers in the intricacies of investigating sexual assault and human trafficking offenses. In 2017, she was recognized as the Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the New Jersey Sex Crimes Officers’ Association, an honor commending her successful investigation of a human trafficking operation with multiple victims.
Gusmano’s swearing in also marks the first time in state history that women have held the top three leadership positions in any prosecutor’s office. The Union County Prosecutor’s Office is now led by Ruotolo, who was appointed to the position by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, and who is herself one of only five female county prosecutors in New Jersey. On assuming that position, Ruotolo elevated office veteran Doreen A. Yanik to serve as First Assistant, a position second-in-command to the Acting Prosecutor. Now, with her selection of Gusmano as Chief, the Office’s executive staff features women in all three top positions.