Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson says, "The last link in the chain has been completed," and the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to provide security for the consolidated municipal court system.

A statement released by the county on Wednesday says the court, which is designed to provide cost savings and reduce duplication of services, will be the first of its kind in the state.

Levinson said,

"Sheriff Eric Scheffler is 100% on board. Without his cooperation, this effort would not have been financially feasible. Having the Sheriff’s Office provide security was always our goal, but it took time to iron out the details of an agreement. We now have a deal that is beneficial to all."

The agreement reached with Scheffler's office will cost $507,000/year, plus a one-time cost for uniforms, weapons, equipment, and a prisoner transportation vehicle.

According to the county, nine municipalities have signed agreements to participate in the new court system so far, including Egg Harbor, Galloway, and Hamilton Townships, plus Linwood, Northfield, Ventnor City, and others.

Scheffler commented in a statement,

“I strongly support the consolidated court and have from the beginning. I believe it will be a cost savings for the local municipalities and help the community-at-large by promoting justice reform. I’m pleased to play a role in this historic initiative."

The new countywide court system is expected to begin hearing cases in January.

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