New Essex chief of detectives is first black woman to lead county police operations

A veteran officer at the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office is set to become the next Chief of Detectives at the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, authorities confirmed.

Deputy Chief Quovella M. Spruill, 45, will be sworn in Wednesday, becoming the first African-American woman to serve as the highest ranking officer in the department’s police unit.

Spruill, a Newark native, received her bachelor’s degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and her master’s from Seton Hall University.

She joined the county prosecutor’s office in 1998 as an investigator and has steadily risen through the ranks, serving in a number of units, including homicide, special victims and the professional standards bureau.

Spruill replaces longtime chief of detectives Anthony Ambrose, who was installed as Public Safety Director for the City of Newark in December amid an overhaul of the city’s police, fire and emergency management departments.