On February 15, 1850, with approximately 10,000 residents, Ocean County was officially recognized as a County. Prior to its formation, the municipalities south of the Manasquan River – Brick, Toms River, Jackson, Plumsted, Stafford, and Union (now known as Barnegat) – were all part of Monmouth County. Today, 33 independent municipalities make up what we know to be Ocean County.


Covering 638-square miles, including 45-miles of pristine white-sand beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, Ocean County is the second largest county in the State, with approximately 586,000 residents. As a popular tourist destination, Ocean County sees an influx of residents and visitors during the summer months.


In New Jersey, the County Prosecutor is appointed to a five year term by the Governor with the consent of the New Jersey State Senate. The County Prosecutor’s Office is unique in that in addition to prosecuting cases referred by the various local police departments within the County, the Prosecutor’s Office has its own investigative staff. The investigative staff is charged with the detection, investigation and arrests of alleged violators of the criminal laws, while the legal staff is responsible for representing the interests of the State of New Jersey in the prosecution of the accused in the criminal courts.


When Ocean County was formed in 1850, there were no attorneys who resided locally. As such, Governor Daniel Haines appointed Jehu Patterson of Middletown (Monmouth County) to be the first Ocean County Prosecutor. From 1850 to 1976, the position of Ocean County Prosecutor was a part-time job. In 1976, Governor Brendan Byrne appointed Edward J. Turnbach as the first full time Prosecutor of Ocean County.

Prosecutors Through the Years