Anthony Cureton, MAS’01 (Metro)

Casting a Wide Net

An illustrated portrait of a man.

Anthony Cureton (Illustration: Joel Kimmel)

Bergen County [N.J.] Sheriff Anthony Cureton, MAS’01 (Metro), oversees various law-enforcement functions beyond a local police department.

“We cover the courts, the highways, the Criminal Investigation Bureau and the corrections division [including the probation office],” he says. His is a largely administrative role, but he leads by example. Prior to his election in 2018, Cureton spent a year and a half working at Bergen County Jail, so when he has discussions within the command staff, he understands where those working in corrections are coming from.

He also relies heavily on his experience in Englewood, N.J., both growing up and as a 25-year member of its police department. “I was about 20- or 21-years old, and I was directed to law enforcement by some of the officers who also had a history in Englewood.”

That started it. “I loved it, got involved in dealing with kids and investigations, and my career really blossomed.” He worked administrative roles in the department for 18 years, seeing just about every aspect within the department.

“FDU played a considerable role for me,” says Cureton. “With a bachelor’s in criminal justice, you learn theory. But my MAS gave me exposure to other governmental functions. It was great to be able to apply that to my work environment.”

He particularly remembers the late Ronald Calissi, BA’70 (Metro), MBA’89 (Ruth), executive associate dean, and his impact. He was known to Cureton as the director of the Bergen County Police Academy. “Ron Calissi was about organizational leadership and management, and from my first time meeting him up to the point of me graduating, there was something formidable that stays with me until this very day,” says Cureton.

Adjunct professor Joseph Rutch, he says “taught me about the business administration, the accounting, all of the things associated with serving in a governmental position. All of that culminates in developing myself.” Rutch has remained instrumental in Cureton’s growth in running government at an executive level.

As sheriff, Cureton enjoys goal-setting and strives to achieve collective buy-in from the division leadership. “I love sitting at the roundtable with the staff and figuring out how we’re going to deal with things, incorporate new things and make the organization better.”

A large part of his previous experience included community relations, which is foundational now in his administration. “If I could speak in general terms, law enforcement is about relationship building. There has been a lot building on a national level in the past eight years, and we have to get to that happy medium where we can still have enforcement of laws, but also keep the community relations aspect in place. I am the proudest of maintaining a relationship with the community where I can be approached by individuals and just have discussions on how we can make things better,” Cureton says.

“We all want public safety and security. But we also have to have respect as well.”