Park resigns, replaced by Isenhour as acting Union County prosecutor

Tom Isenhour
Grace Park

UNION COUNTY, NJ — Tom Isenhour has been installed as acting Union County prosecutor, ascending from his position as first assistant prosecutor to replace Grace Park, who announced her resignation Friday, Sept. 8.

Isenhour, who was often seen appearing before the Board of Chosen Freeholders at its weekly meetings to update the legislators on the various activities of his department, joined the Union County Prosecutor’s Office in 1984, and was appointed to first assistant in 2013.

His appointment as acting prosecutor came from the office of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino.
“With over three decades of experience prosecuting defendants and supervising high-profile cases and projects for the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Tim Isenhour is extremely qualified to lead the office,” Christie said in a recent press release. “As we thank Grace Park for her years of dedicated service to the office and wish her well in her new pursuit, the people of Union County should feel confident the office of the prosecutor will remain under strong leadership with Tim Isenhour at the helm.”

Isenhour was sworn in Wednesday, Sept. 13, when Park officially stepped down.
A release from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office said Park will become deputy general counsel and chief litigation counsel for the energy company Public Service Enterprise Group, PSE&G.

“Serving the citizens of Union County in this position has been a tremendous honor,” she said in the release. “The two parts of this job I will miss the most are the mission of the work and the amazing people who execute that mission,” Park said. “It has been extremely humbling to work alongside of them, day in and day out, with the goal of simply doing the right thing, every day.”

The first Asian-American county prosecutor in New Jersey history and the first female and minority lead prosecutor in Union County’s 160-year history, Park took office in June 2013. She oversaw an office of approximately 250 employees and a $22 million annual budget, coordinating more than 1,500 police officers in 21 municipal police departments, the Union County Sheriff’s Office and the Union County Police Department.
She replaced Theodore Romankow, representing a shift in the office’s operations.

“She did a good job. I didn’t have a lot of interaction with office,” state Sen. Nick Scutari, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee told LocalSource by phone Friday, Sept. 8. “She was responsive. The freeholder board had good relations with her.

“There were some changes, changes in way in which cases handled, more of a vertical way, from Romankow to Park, different styles in management for sure.”

Park’s final day in office coincided with the opening of the Union County Family Justice Center. The office will serve as a headquarters for government and non-governmental services and resources to be made available to meet the needs of victims of domestic violence.
With on-site prosecutor’s office staff joining others in the newly constructed Union County Courthouse Cherry Street Annex, such services range from assistance in attaining housing to the provision of health and social services to preparation for court proceedings. The FJC is the third to open in New Jersey, following another in Essex County that opened in 2010 and the Morris County FJC, which opened last year.

Prior to her appointment as acting prosecutor, Park had spent seven years as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, handling cases involving terrorism, narcotics, violent crime, healthcare and government fraud, and economic crimes.

Her prior prosecutions include investigations of public and private companies as well as of individual defendants. More recently, Park managed civil litigation for the pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer Inc. as senior corporate counsel. In addition, Park was a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City. She also clerked for the U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark.

Isenhour’s responsibilities as first assistant further included drafting office policies, protocols, and directives; recruiting and hiring staff; overseeing internal affairs and personnel matters; supervising the John H. Stamler Police Academy in Scotch Plains and the forensics laboratory in Westfield; and helping establish key initiatives such as the implementation of bail reform, the launch of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Body-Worn Camera Initiative, and the founding of the FJC.

Prior to serving as first assistant prosecutor, Isenhour supervised many of the office’s most high-profile investigative teams, including the Child Abuse Unit, Special Prosecutions Unit, and the Guns, Gangs, Drugs, and Violent Crimes Task Force.