You are the owner of this article.

Nolan says experience counts in run for sheriff

Bob Nolan

Bob Nolan

CAPE MAY COUNTY — Bob Nolan is counting on 33 years of experience in the Cape May County Sheriff’s Office as one of the main reasons voters should consider him for office in this year’s sheriff’s election.

“I’ve served in every area of the department during my time with Sheriff’s Office,” Nolan said in an interview with The Gazette last week. “I’ve been a sheriff’s officer since 1987.”

Nolan joined the office in 1984 as a corrections officer at the county jail. Three years later, he joined the ranks of sheriff’s officers after graduating from the police academy, he said. He is currently the undersheriff, appointed to the position by Sheriff Gary Schaffer in November 2010. Schaffer announced that he will retire at the end of the year.

Nolan has the support of the Cape May County GOP, said Chairman Marc Karavan.

“He went through the convention and he won the convention,” Karavan said.

Nolan also served a four-year stint as mayor in Lower Township, from 2005 to 2008, and is the president of Fire District 2 in Lower Township, a position Nolan would have to give up if he wins the election.

Though he could no longer hold the presidency, Nolan said he would remain active with the fire district.

“I love Cape May County,” Nolan said. “I raised children here, and I’m raising grandchildren here. I want to keep protecting Cape May County and keep it safe.”

Nolan said that on the campaign trail, the most common question he gets is, “What does the sheriff’s office do?” Nolan wants to change that, and said that community outreach and education should be an important part of the  office.

“Our primary function is court security,” Nolan said. “And we’re one of only seven counties in New Jersey that runs their own jail.”

Also falling under the purview of the Cape May County Sheriff’s Office is the civil division, which enforces orders passed down from municipal and county courts, and the county animal shelter.

Nolan said that if elected, he doesn’t plan any major changes in the office, either in personnel or in duties.

“Other than the undersheriff,” he said. “If I’m elected, I’ll promote a new undersheriff from within the department.”

That’s important, Nolan said, especially with the expected completion of the new jail in the spring 2018.

“We need to be consistent with people, since we’re going into that new jail.”

Yet the office is currently understaffed, with seven officers out on either medical leave, or military duty, he said. That has stretched the department, and Nolan said he would have to be creative with the staff on hand to meet any new commitments.

One of those commitments would be working closer with local police and the prosecutor’s office.

“I’d like to put one of the officers in the prosecutor’s office to work with the Guns, Gangs and Narcotics Task Force,” Nolan said. “I also want our guys on the street to work with municipal police officers. We want to be more accommodating to local police, and work with them to see how we can help them to do their job better.”

Working with other law enforcement would have multiple benefits, Nolan said. It would bring the officers together in a common goal of keeping the county safe, and it would also extend the reach of the municipal police forces.

“The sheriff’s office is not limited by township boundaries,” he said. That means that if an investigation crosses municipal borders, sheriff’s officers working with police could cross those boundaries to pursue leads or suspects.

“I want to tweak some of the procedures at the jail,” Nolan added.

The current practice of closing the in-take section of the jail at lunch and dinner means that police can’t drop off prisoners 24 hours a day, he said.

“Currently, police now have to wait to drop off prisoners. I would like to move some shifts around and keep the in-take open.”

That would get municipal police back on the streets quicker, he said.

Nolan, 59, married his high school sweetheart, Michelle (Ciampi) Nolan, in 1978 at St. Ann’s in Wilwood. 

“I want people to know that if I’m elected, I can hit the ground running from day one,” Nolan said. “There’s no on the job training with me. I’m fully experienced, fully qualified and educated, and ready to take over as sheriff.”

Load comments



Submit all material to


  • Include the complete name of the group, school or other organization; where it’s located and what area it serves; the name and title, if applicable, of the person submitting the information; a person to contact with questions and whether the contact is only for us or for the public as well.
  • Information should be formatted as little as possible, without tabs or tables.
  • Photos should be high-resolution and emailed as an attachment. Include the names of the people in the photos and, if applicable, any relevant titles or relationships. Indicate how to determine who is who, such as “front row, from left.”


  • Take a picture when you travel of you or your group with one of our weeklies. Send us the picture with names, hometowns and the name of the place you visited.


  • Letters must be fewer than 400 words and received by 9 a.m. Monday for publication the same week.


  • Information to be included in event or trip listings must be submitted online at Scroll down to where it says “Submit an event.” Click on “Go to Form.”
  • You are required to sign in using a username and password. If you have previously made an account, log in using the username and password you created. If you have NOT previously made an account with us, click on “Register Here” (under the Sign In button).
  • Once you have created a username and password, you will be taken to the calendar form. Fill out the form with the relevant information. Please remember that less is best for calendar listings. Note: If you include a website, it must be the full address. For example,, not

Most Popular