New Jersey has had sheriffs since the 1600’s when the King of England appointed them as their representative of royal authority in the colonies.
Since then, the office of county sheriff has been held largely by white men.
Burlington has not had a white male sheriff since Henry Metzger was defeated in the 1992 Republican primary.
Cummings, a captain with the state Department of Corrections, became New Jersey’s first black sheriff when the Burlington GOP organization dropped Metzger from their organization line. Metzger ran in the primary and lost by about 750 votes (52%-48%).
Burlington elected New Jersey’s second black sheriff in 1995 when Republican Gary Daniels succeeded Cummings.
Daniels was the 38-year-old chief of the Burlington County Bridge Police. He had served as a Burlington City police officer and assistant Burlington County prosecutor.
When Daniels decided not to seek re-election to a third term in 2001, Burlington Republicans nominated Undersheriff Jean Stanfield.
Stanfield became the second woman to serve as sheriff in New Jersey. The first was Ruth Carpenter, who began her career as a legal secretary for State Sen Wesley Lance before winning a race for Hunterdon County Sheriff in 1977. She was re-elected in 1980 and retired in 1983.
Mildred Scott became the first black woman to serve as sheriff when Middlesex County voters elected her in 2010. She is now one of three black sheriffs, along with Whip Wilson (Camden) and Anthony Cureton (Bergen).
Stanfield and Scott are the only women sheriffs in New Jersey now.
Kim Guadagno was the Monmouth County sheriff before her election as Lt. Governor, and Deborah Trout served as sheriff in Hunterdon County.