County Prosecutors Association offers scholarships to law students, police officers advancing career

The County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey is offering scholarships to law school students seeking careers as prosecuting attorneys, graduate students with a commitment to child advocacy, and to police officers hoping to attend college or graduate school to advance their careers in law enforcement.

The annual scholarships, each amounting to a one-year grant of $3,500, will be paid directly to the recipients, who will be selected by a committee that administers the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey Scholarship Foundation.

Scholarship applicants must be residents of New Jersey and must demonstrate a financial need. Scholarship recipients from previous years are ineligible.

Each of the scholarships are dedicated to the memory of an attorney who died in office, where they had served with dignity as prosecutors in various counties in New Jersey and exemplified the high standards of law enforcement professionals.

To be eligible for the Oscar W. Rittenhouse Memorial Scholarship, an applicant must be accepted for admission to a law school and must have an interest in pursuing a career as a prosecutor.

Rittenhouse, 48, served as part-time prosecutor in Hunterdon County from 1968-73, and was appointed the county’s first full-time prosecutor in 1975. He was killed in 1979 while returning from a national prosecutor’s convention, where he spoke on preventing juvenile delinquency.

To be eligible for the Andrew K. Ruotolo Jr. Memorial Scholarship, an applicant must be accepted for admission to a law school or a graduate school. Applicants must exhibit an interest, and commitment to, enhancing the rights and well-being of children through child advocacy programs.

Ruotolo, 42, who served as Union County prosecutor from 1991-95, had dedicated his career to helping troubled youth and was the creator of the Union County Child Advocacy Center, which serves as a safe haven for abused children.

To be eligible for the Harris Y. Cotton Memorial Scholarship, an applicant must be accepted for admission to a law school. The applicant must have an interest in pursuing a career as a prosecutor with an emphasis in domestic violence or hate crime prosecutions.

Cotton, 68, known as the “Dean of Prosecutors”, served with distinction in Gloucester County from 1975-80 and from 1991-97, when he died 40 minutes before his term expired. During his tenure, he was a strong advocate for the protection of individual rights and he created specialized units to combat domestic violence and hate crimes.

To be eligible for the John H. Stamler Memorial Scholarship, an applicant must be a sworn law enforcement officer seeking educational advancement on a college or graduate level to improve his or her effectiveness as a law enforcement officer.

Stamler, 52, was the first prosecutor in the state to be appointed to three consecutive terms as prosecutor, serving in Union County from 1977-90. He was dedicated to the welfare of law enforcement officers and was an innovator of programs to help victims of domestic violence and child abuse. He championed a witness/victim assistance program, advocated crime prevention and battled the scourge of illegal drugs.

Applications must be postmarked by Sept. 4. Applications are available online at www.burlpros.org.

Personal interviews of finalists will be conducted. Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision in October.

Applications should be sent to Prosecutor Scott Coffina, Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, 49 Rancocas Road, Mount Holly 08060; or email SCoffina@co.burlington.nj.us