NJSBA Sidebar: The Prosecutor Valdes Edition

By NJSBA Staff posted 08-14-2019 09:35

Camelia M. Valdes has served as the chief law enforcer in Passaic County for a decade.

She began her tenure in 2009, when she became the first Latina county prosecutor in the state. Valdes manages a staff of nearly 200 lawyers, detectives and support staff, and her office has an annual budget of roughly $20 million. As the Passaic County prosecutor she oversees 16 municipal police departments and the police departments of William Paterson and Montclair State universities.

She began working as a municipal prosecutor in Newark after law school, and has also been a state deputy attorney general and an assistant U.S. attorney in Newark. She was a featured speaker at the New Jersey State Bar Association’s annual Diversity Summit earlier this summer.

Valdes sat down recently in a conference room at her Totowa office to talk about the role of community involvement in addressing bias incidents, gang activity and opioid abuse. She emphasized the value of being proactive and making connections with different community stakeholders to explain the goals of the office, before a crime or incident happens. She also spoke about her path to the profession, why she’s ‘fabulous’ and what she has learned during her work as a prosecutor.

Tune in today.