Sheriff prefers to cite his record, rather than engage challenger

UCL-froelich-CUNION COUNTY — Although Sheriff Ralph Froehlich’s challenger thinks 12 elected terms is enough for any elected official, the incumbent believes he has retained this position for one very good reason.

“I have easily returned to my elected seat because I have done my job,” said Froehlich in an interview Monday, adding that this included “developing an outstanding agency with highly motivated, intelligent staff.”

Froehlich, a Union resident, is the longest-serving county sheriff in New Jersey history. A career law enforcement officer and former Marine, the sheriff attributed his long service to being dedicated, professional and serving the people of the county to the best of his ability.

Union County Police Lt. Richard Puschel is the Democrats for Change candidate challenging the long serving Froehlich in the primary election next month. Last month the challenger strongly suggested that because the sheriff did not fire Democrat Assemblyman Joe Cryan from his $11,000 taxpayer-funded position as undersheriff, it was a “failure of leadership.”
Puschel also had harsh words for Cryan, who he said “disgraced the Union County Sheriff’s Office by behaving like a sex-crazed teenager.” He also said Cryan betrayed Froehlich’s trust by “abusing government equipment and robbed the taxpayers by doing it all at public expense.”

In April Puschel told LocalSource that enough time had gone by since the New York Post reported Cryan’s racy relationship with lobbyist Karen Golding partly took place while he was at one of his government jobs. The challenger felt that because Froehlich did not fire the powerful Democrat it was “a crisis of integrity that must be corrected.”
But Froehlich did not fire back, or even attempt to level the political playing field.

“Puschel certainly showed his lack of experience and immaturity in this article. He is running for a political office and has conveniently forgotten county policy. Whether it helps me or hurts me, I cannot discuss personnel matters. I have always taken my job and responsibilities very seriously,” said the sheriff.

Always a gentleman, Froehlich said he was not surprised at the attack Puschel leveled, but preferred his 12 terms of service speak for themselves.

“We have received six national awards for innovative administration and the highest award possible from B’nai B’rith, the Chi Award, for our efforts to protect children. Our original booklet ‘You are not alone,’ for victims of domestic violence, is being updated for its second edition. Another publication ‘Play it safe,’ in English and Spanish has been distributed locally to our school children and internationally,” said Froehlich.

“We are the agency that began the fingerprint program for children years ago. One of our national awards was for our effort to bring young minorities into law enforcement. Our seniors suffering from Alzheimer diseases or autistic children can now be protected with our ‘Project Life Saver,’” the sheriff added.

Froehlich also pointed out that in 2011 his department passed all the stringent requirements for full CALEA accreditation, which was accomplished, he said, “using full in-house personnel at no cost to the county.

CALEA, or the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, was established in 1979 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, National Sheriffs’ Association and Police Executive Research forum as an independent accrediting authority. According to Froehlich, accreditation by this agency is a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.