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Atlantic County's incoming prosecutor hopes to motivate office, serve community

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Atlantic County's prosecutor-elect will focus on outreach and motivation when he takes on the county's top law enforcement spot next month.

Will Reynolds, 48, was nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy this week to fill the spot 10 months after Damon Tyner resigned amid allegations about his leadership.

Since then, Cary Shill served as acting prosecutor. He will retire June 1, with Reynolds stepping in June 6. His official confirmation is expected by the end of June.

"My ultimate goal is to hit the ground running, focused on the community outreach," Reynolds told BreakingAC. "What can we do to serve the public? What best serves them?

"If you keep that as your goal, everybody's in the right lane," he said.

Reynolds already knows many of the towns his new office serves, spending the past decade as a municipal prosecutor, including Ventnor, Galloway and Egg Harbor townships, and his hometown of Brigantine. He's also done work in Northfield, Linwood, Port Republic, Atlantic City, Pleasantville and Hamilton Township.

"Given his wealth of experience as a municipal prosecutor and relationships he has forged around the county, I expect that he will ... build an office that everyone will recognize as one of the top law enforcement organizations in the state," said state Sen. Vince Polistina, who championed Reynolds for the spot.

Reynolds expects to start by picking a leadership team and finding the best way to reorganize the office, including adding some spots, while deleting others.

"My job's not to know everything, but to figure out who does know everything and putting them in a position to succeed," he said. "The ultimate humility is knowing there are other people who are smarter or better than you at certain things in the office."

While he's not ready to publicly name who will be on that top team, Reynolds indicated he knows the strengths of those in the office he will look to.

"It's going to be a learning process for me," he said. "I'm going to have to rely on those with institutional knowledge."

One of the things Reynolds wants to institute is mentoring, so that the new assistant prosecutors can learn from those seasoned in the position. But he also wants the information to flow both ways, so that the older workers can understand how best to inspire the younger lawyers.

He also knows there are a good number of positions to fill, including about 15 lawyers, a couple of detective spots and possibly some in administration.

"It will probably take about six months to get the full lay of the land and put everybody in position," Reynolds said.

Polistina has no doubts in the incoming prosecutor's abilities. The Republican senator found major support for the independent Reynolds.

"I heard from people from all political affiliations across Atlantic county that Will Reynolds was the right person for the job," he said. "I was pleased to be able to work closely with the governor and his administration on the nomination."

Reynolds will spend the next 2½ weeks wrapping up his practice, which includes arbitrator for the state Department of Banking and Insurance and serving as solicitor in Galloway and Ventnor.

The lifelong Brigantine resident now lives in Absecon, just blocks from his former wife, with whom he happily co-parents twin 12-year-old boys.

He coaches his sons in street hockey and lacrosse in Brigantine and Absecon, respectively. He used to coach them in ice hockey but says "they’ve exceeded my abilities" in that sport.

"They really are my strength," Reynolds said of his boys. "The are a great motivation in my life."

Sunday, May 19, 2024
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