The Fugitive Unit was established in January 1978. The mandated responsibility of the unit is to conduct and assist in investigations involving prison escapes and other wanted felons. Throughout its history, the Fugitive Unit has been the sole agency in New Jersey to coordinate the pursuit of fugitives between the various levels of law enforcement charged with the apprehension of wanted persons.
In 2010 the unit began the Mobile Deployment Initiative (MDI), an anti-crime program in cooperation with the Marshals Service, New York /New Jersey Regional Task Force. The mission of MDI is to deploy rapid, specific and concentrated fugitive roundups in support of additional crime suppression techniques throughout New Jersey. Specifically, the MDI Assists local law enforcement in identifying high crime areas and known wanted persons in an effort to reduce crime and gain intelligence related to ongoing criminal activities. The MDI will also assist law enforcement agencies with active fugitive investigations where there is an immediate threat to law enforcement.
The unit continues to publish the New Jersey's Twelve Most Wanted bulletin, which highlights the State's most violent and dangerous fugitives. 25,000 copies of the bulletin are sent to over 1,200 police agencies throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.