def # 225 12/07/11
BILL SOMMELING APPOINTED UNDERSHERIFF
TOMS RIVER - Long-time Ocean County law enforcement official William T. Sommeling will return to the position of Ocean
County Undersheriff following the sudden and tragic death of Wayne R. Rupert.
"Bill has more than 35 years of experience in law enforcement," said Ocean County Sheriff William L. Polhemus in
announcing the appointment. "I am very pleased he is accepting this appointment. He brings a wealth of experience to the
Ocean County Sheriff’s Department and his familiarity with the office will eliminate a lengthy transitional period.
"When he starts work on Dec. 8 he will already know the workings of the department and that will be beneficial to the staff
and the citizens of this County," Polhemus said.
Prior to his leaving the office in 2000 to join the Casino Control Commission, Sommeling served as Ocean County
Undersheriff for 11 years, working closely with Sheriff Polhemus on the day-to-day management and operation of the office.
Sommeling will serve in the position of Undersheriff most recently held by Wayne R. Rupert who died suddenly Oct.
22 at the age of 68. Rupert worked for Ocean County for 44 years beginning his career working in the Ocean County Jail and
moving up the ranks to be named Undersheriff in 2001.
"The death of Wayne Rupert will forever be a great loss to Ocean County and in particular to the law enforcement
community," said Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. "Sheriff Polhemus sought out an individual
who could immediately step in to assume the post on short notice."
Sommeling started his career in public service in 1955 working for the Borough of Seaside Heights. He served in the Police
Department there as patrolman, investigator, undercover agent and sergeant until 1967 when he moved to the larger Dover
Township, now Toms River Township Police Department. He also rose to the rank of sergeant there after serving as a
patrolman, detective, and investigator. He also was the department's planning officer and project director for several
programs that were funded through state and federal grants. In both municipalities, he did extensive undercover work on
narcotics cases. He was also assigned to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and served as the Deputy Director of the
Ocean County Narcotics Bureau where he was in charge of all of its field operations.
After leaving the police department in 1981, Sommeling held several positions in casino surveillance departments in
Atlantic City until 1989 when he was appointed Undersheriff in Ocean County.
A former Dover Township (Toms River Township) committeeman, Sommeling graduated from Trenton State College with a degree in
criminal justice and received a Masters in Administration from Rider University. He also received an Associate’s Degree from
Ocean County College, a certificate in Police Science and Administration from Temple University and completed postgraduate
courses at Cornell University and the University of Virginia. He also received professional training at the New Jersey State
Police Academy, the FBI National Academy and the National Sheriff's Institute and attended numerous other courses offered
by state and national law enforcement agencies.
He also served in both the New Jersey National Guard and the United States Marine Corps Reserves.
Sommeling is or has been active in a number of professional and civic organizations, including: International Association
of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriff's Association, United States Marine Corps League, New Jersey State PBA, Police
Superior Officer's Association, American Society of Industrial Security, FBI National Academy Association, Lamda Alpha
Epsilon, Toms River Yacht Club, Emerald Society of New Jersey and Ducks Unlimited.