With the retirement of current Chief Detective Oscar Vance coming in the next week, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman has picked a familiar name in Ed Justice as his replacement.
"His work ethic is incomparable," said Ferman. "He understands the need to do whatever needs to be done to complete a job. He demonstrated-both as a detective and as a leader--the highest level of skill and the most dedicated work ethic."
Between 1986 and 2006, Justice served 14 years with the Montgomery County Detective Bureau as a homicide detective, and another six years as deputy chief.
Prior to his time with the county detectives, the veteran of the United States Navy had served as a patrol officer with Horsham Township Police Department and a police officer with the Hatfield Township Police Department.
In addition to his work experience, Justice continued his education throughout his career, acquiring a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Trenton State College in 1978 and a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from West Chester University in 1995.
Both his academic knowledge and extensive experience prove to be vital assets to a detective bureau that is undergoing somewhat of a youth movement.
"We have a tremendous office, but we also have many newer detectives," said Ferman. "With the recent retirements in the county, the detective bureau will have about one third of the bureau changing over in a short period of time."
"I think it's critically important that our top level of leadership is operating at the highest possible level," Ferman continued. "We have to train the next generation of detectives, develop the skill we already have here, and I think the tandem of Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Sam Gallen will be a perfect pair to lead the bureau."
Ferman, who began her career with the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office in 1993, said she worked closely with Justice after she was promoted to chief of the trials division in 1999.
"When I became the chief of the trials division, he was the deputy chief county detective and he ran the homicide division," said Ferman. "He wasn't just a very wise and trusted colleague, but he was a great mentor, teacher and a friend. When he left the office in 2006, we were all sad to see him go. We really lost a great asset, but we're glad to have him back."
When asked if a career in law enforcement was Justice's birthright, Ferman laughed and said "no", but added the name is quite fitting.
"Having a chief county detective named Chief Justice is about the coolest thing that I can think of," said Ferman. "Now I've got Chief Justice and The Man of Steele [First Assistant ADA Kevin Steele] here, so I think we're in very good shape."