Sheriff Gilbert “Whip” Wilson born March 17, 1947, is the first African American from Camden City to serve in the General Assembly representing the Fifth Legislative District. Sheriff Wilson was originally appointed and sworn-in January 25, 2010, elected to his seat November 2, 2010. He was re-elected 2011 and 2013. He served on the following three committees:
- Vice Chair, Agriculture and Natural Resources
- Vice Chair, Law, and Public Safety
- Member: Military and Veterans’ Affairs.
While serving in the General Assembly, Sheriff Wilson sponsored many bills on topics such as Senior Citizen Property Tax Reform, Education Reform and Civil Service/Military Personnel Reform, Weapons Free Zones, and Taxi-Cab Regulations. One of his cornerstone pieces of legislation is the Fresh Mobiles bill. To combat Camden’s classification as an “urban food desert,” Assemblyman Wilson introduced the initiative in which city residents can access Jersey fresh produce from a mobile unit. He also sponsored legislation that allows students to eat produce grown in community gardens.
A committed advocate and supporter of the community, Sheriff Wilson was an assistant basketball coach at Camden High School under the leadership of Coach Clarence Turner as well as an assistant football coach for the Centerville Simbas. He has assisted the Camden Creative Arts High School with their fundraising efforts and has attended various competitions throughout the country to support them including Monterrey, California and New Orleans, Louisiana.
Sheriff Wilson served in the U.S. Air Force (1965-1969) on tours to Thailand and Vietnam where he served in the 821st Combat Security Police Squadron (Air Force Rangers). He was a member of the Camden Police Department for over 26 years, served as Commander of the Vice Unit and Supervisor of the First Community Policing Unit retiring as Lieutenant. He received an Associate Degree from Camden County Community College in Law/Criminal Justice, a B.A. Degree from Glassboro State (now Rowan) in Law/Criminal Justice, attended classes in Method of Instructions Course at Fort Monmouth, Incident Command Systems (ICS) for Executives and attended the Municipal Elected Officials Certificate Program at Rutgers University Bloustein School of Public Policy.
He is a member of the Camden City Democratic Committee, the Camden County Democratic Committee and had the honor to serve as a Delegate for the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
From his work with the Camden Police Department to his efforts as an elected official, Camden City Council (1997-2001, 2005-2010), the New Jersey State Legislature General Assembly (2010-2015) and now the first African American Sheriff from Camden City, he has dedicated over 50 years of his life to public service.
Sheriff Wilson is a member of: National Organization of Black Law Enforcement (NOBLE), Camden County Police Chief’s Association, Constitutional Officers Association of New Jersey (COANJ), National Sheriff Association (National Institute Graduate), New Jersey Sheriff Association (President), NAACP, Hudson-Adam-Carpenter American Legion Post 473, Vietnams Veteran of America, and the NJ Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation, Inc. of Holmdel, NJ, Camden Health & Athletic Association, Whip Wilson Turkey Bowl Trophy and a Trustee for Battleship, New Jersey.
Currently, Sheriff Wilson is serving his 3rd term as Sheriff of Camden County and holds the seat of President of the New Jersey Sheriff’s Association (SANJ). Sheriff Wilson has started the Camden County Sheriff Association Foundation where the mission is to run a one- week boot camp for students interested in the field of Law and Public Safety.
Sheriff Wilson has been honored by: Camden High School Hall of Fame (1997), Camden High School Castle Award (1997), Camden County East NAACP Visionary Leader Award (2011), Anointed News Journal Circle of Winners Honoree (2011), Camden Schools Foundation Hall of Fame (2013), NAACP New Jersey State Conference Legislator Award (2015), Having a Gymnasium name in his brother and his honor (2016), NAACP Gloucester County Power Couple of the Year (2019) and Camden Ministers MLK Award (2020).
Sheriff Wilson was married to Martha F. Wilson for 42 years; they had been together for 46 years. She was President of the Camden City Board of Education. They have a blended family of six children, ten grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Mrs. Wilson passed away April 17, 2020.