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Deputy Chief James Sarkos named officer in charge of Atlantic City police

Deputy Chief James Sarkos named officer in charge of Atlantic City police

PACT Program

Atlantic City police Deputy Chief James Sarkos says through the PACT program, his officers have access to 971 cameras throughout the city.

ATLANTIC CITY — Deputy Chief James Sarkos will be in charge of the city’s Police Department until a permanent replacement is selected to step into recently retired Chief Henry White Jr.’s role, the state Department of Community Affairs and city officials said Friday.

Sarkos, of Linwood, now serves as “officer in charge” as of White’s retirement Thursday, according to a news release from the DCA, which has direct oversight of Atlantic City under the 2016 Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act.

The Press of Atlantic City reached out for clarification from the state for the difference between “officer in charge” and “acting chief,” and how long officials believe the process of replacing White will take, which, according to the release, has already begun.

“I am grateful for the confidence placed in me by city and state leadership,” Sarkos said. “Chief White and I have worked closely during his tenure, and I am eager to continue and expand upon his initiatives. I look forward to working with Atlantic City residents, the business community and governmental leaders as we continue to move Atlantic City forward. It is my honor to lead the department’s extraordinary men and women in this remarkable city.”

Mayor Marty Small Sr. said officials wish White nothing but the best but noted that the city is “losing a police chief of incredible expertise and conviction during a year unlike any other in the history of our state and nation.”

White, 60, has been in law enforcement for 35 years with both the city and the county, and became chief of the department in late 2013.

“It truly is a testament to the strength of the Atlantic City Police Department that we have a talented deputy chief who can step up to lead the city’s police officers as officer in charge,” Small said. “We look forward to Deputy Chief Sarkos’ steady leadership during these extraordinary times, and we thank him for stepping into this role as we work to select a new police chief.”

Sarkos was promoted from captain to deputy chief in 2018.

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“Chief White was the consummate police professional and a man committed to making a positive difference in the Atlantic City community. He will be tremendously missed, but we anticipate he will continue to find ways to improve people’s lives in his retirement,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA commissioner. “Deputy Chief Sarkos, a 20-year veteran of the ACPD, is a well-regarded police officer in his own right, and we believe he will run the Police Department with professionalism and integrity during these challenging times until a permanent police chief is chosen.”

Sarkos has been a proponent for adding technology to the department, from using analytical models to figure out possible crime hotspots in the resort to camera-sharing partnerships with community business owners.

Last year, Sarkos spoke on a panel called “The Role of Law Enforcement Managing Risky Environments” at the First International Conference on Crime Risk Analysis: Applying Risk Terrain Modeling Worldwide in Elche, Spain.

The department has been using Risk-Terrain Modeling, a method that analyzes crime data to compute geographical risk factors for crime in a community, and has credited it as one way it has been able to drive down crime.

The crime-analysis tool was developed in 2009 by Joel Caplan, director of Rutgers’ Center on Public Safety, and his colleague Leslie Kennedy.

Sarkos also has been a strong advocate for Project PACT, or Protecting Atlantic City Together, a camera-sharing program between police and resort business owners to help deter crime.

He also was a founding member and currently serves as vice chairman of the Atlantic City Police Foundation, a nonprofit that works to raise money for new equipment and training for the department’s officers.

PHOTOS of James Sarkos of the Atlantic City Police Department

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Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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