Section Chief: Assistant Prosecutor Lesley Sokol
Unit Commander: Sergeant Michael Rhoads
Phone: (856) 225-7104
The Special Prosecutions Unit handles allegations of misconduct by government officials acting in their official capacities, complex frauds that generally exceed one hundred thousand dollars, election law violations, internal employee misconduct and a variety of other assignments requested by the Prosecutor. The official misconduct complaints typically involve allegations against police officers, though the unit often receives complaints about tax clerks, firefighters, teachers, court personnel and elected public servants.
The official misconduct cases require special care because they involve violations of public trust and frequently have political ramifications. Such matters demand a balance of investigative persistence and diplomacy. Due to the sensitive nature of corruption cases, the unit works with a high level of confidentiality. The financial cases, which usually involve theft perpetrated by fraud, normally require long-term investigations, often lasting a year or more.
Special Prosecutions is also responsible for conducting the background investigations of all new Camden County Prosecutor’s employees. A background investigation includes obtaining the applicant’s criminal history, motor vehicle history, visiting the applicant’s neighbors, contacting the applicant’s references, and verifying the applicant’s educational degrees. In addition to testing all new employees for drug use, unannounced random drug monitoring is conducted by Special Prosecutions personnel for all sworn staff members. In addition, investigations against members of the Prosecutor’s Staff are completed by this unit.
The unit members work closely with all of the Internal Affairs Units of the police departments located in Camden County. A unit assistant prosecutor is always on call to provide legal advice and an investigative unit member is always on call to assist the local police departments.
Unlike most other investigative units in the office, the unit functions as a vertical prosecutions unit.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Assistant Prosecutors provide legal assistance for all unit Investigators and prosecute cases when sufficient evidence is developed. One Assistant Prosecutor, who serves as Section Chief, has overall responsibility for the effective operation of the unit.
A Sergeant acts as Unit Commander and reports directly to the Chief. He assigns cases, directs Investigators in their work, and also is called on to investigate cases.
It is the duty of the support staff to type, store and retrieve documents generated by the Investigators and Assistant Prosecutors in a timely and efficient manner.