Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office promoting Stith to chief of detectives

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The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office is promoting Keith Lamont Stith, who has worked in law enforcement for three decades, to chief of detectives – making him the first African American to hold the position.

Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives Keith Stith. Photo courtesy of the HCPO.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Keith is a consummate professional and I am extremely proud of all that we have accomplished together these past four years,” Prosecutor Esther Suarez said in a statement.

“Having our first African-American Chief of Detectives is a momentous occasion for Hudson County and I look forward to my continued good work with Keith in his new capacity.”

For the past three years, Stith has served as the deputy chief for the HCPO, with responsibilities that included managing the day-to-day investigative operations of the Criminal Investigation Division — including its specialized units — and also directly supervising the Cold Case Unit.

Stith will be sworn in by Hudson County Superior Court Judge John Young, Jr. at a public ceremony to be held at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow, January 9th, in Courtroom 2A in the William J. Brennan Courthouse.

“I am grateful that Prosecutor Suarez is giving me the opportunity to continue to serve the citizens of Hudson County,” Stith added. “Also, I am blessed and honored to become the first African American promoted to Chief of Detectives in the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.”

Stith began his law enforcement career with the Union County Sheriff’s Office in 1990. He joined the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office in 1994 as a Detective in the Narcotics Task Force.

Additionally, early in his career he served as a Financial Crimes Task Force Officer for the United States Custom Services.

While serving as a HCPO sergeant, Stith helped create the municipal task force which he then went on to supervise.

As a lieutenant, he was tasked with creating a unit to address the proliferation of street gangs and gun violence in Hudson County which resulted in the formation of the Gang Task Force.

In 2006, Stith was appointed by the Hudson County Executive as the Acting Director of the Hudson County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

In 2011, he was promoted to the rank of Captain in the Prosecutor’s Office and he was assigned to the Homicide Task Force. Under Stith’s leadership, the HTF achieved and maintained a homicide clearance rate of more than 80 percent.

Just under a year ago, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice decided that Gene Rubino did not have the qualifications to hold the title of chief of detectives.

In the aftermath, HCPO kept Rubino on board as the HCPO executive assistant prosecutor, giving him a new internal title of director of investigations.

Litigation filed over the summer contends that the state has documentation that shows Rubino should not have ever held the title of chief of detectives.