Governor Cuomo has joined New York's Sheriffs in declaring the Week of September 14, 2015 to be Sheriff's Week in New York State. Sheriff’s Week celebrates the significant contributions made by the office of sheriff in county government and in the statewide criminal justice system.In addition to traditional public safety services, such as road patrol, criminal investigation and traffic control, our County Sheriff's offices patrol our lakes and waterways, provide security in our courts and in our airports, maintain our county jails and coordinate the dispatch of all emergency services in the county. The sheriff also takes an active role in community crime prevention efforts, victims' assistance programs, and drug awareness education in our schools.
Rensselaer County Sheriff Jack Mahar received recognition for the Accreditation of his Corrections Division recently. WRGB Channel 6 covered the event. Click here to view their story. NYS Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Peter Kehoe presented accreditation credentials to Sheriff Mahar in a ceremony at the Rensselaer County Public Safety Building, prasising Sheriff Mahar, Undersheriff Patrick Russo, Chief of Corrections Edward Bly, and the entire staff of the Corrections Division for the achievement. The following individuals who spearheaded the effort to earn the accreditation were recognized at the ceremony: Chief of Corrections Edward Bly, Accreditation Manager Greg Buell, Lieutenant Stacey Sauer, and Nurse Administrator Heather Holliday. PHOTO: Undersheriff Pat Russo, Chief of Corrections Edward Bly, Accreditation Manager Greg Buell, Lieutenant Stacey Sauer, Sheriff Jack Mahar, NYS Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Peter Kehoe.
Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy presenting about Social Media and Body Cameras at our Civil Supervisor Training Conference at the Gideon Putnam in Saratoga Springs, NY earlier this week.
The Sheriffs' Association Institute held a week-long Basic School for deputy sheriffs and civilian staff of Sheriffs' civil divisions last week. Deputies and other staff from Sheriffs' Offices around the State attended the program, which was taught by deputies with expertise in civil enforcement law. We are grateful to the following instructors for dedicating their time: Kim Ward of Tioga County, Ed Vlack of Genesee County, Pat Flynn, retired, of Erie County, Ron Bill of Broome County and Mike Grossi of Westchester County, and a thank you to their Sheriffs for allowing them to participate.
The second week of this two-week school will take place from May 18th to the 22nd and will focus on more advanced topics. The school is required training for Sheriffs' Offices seeking civil office accreditation. During its more-than-30-year history, the program has trained over 2,000 Deputy Sheriffs and other Sheriffs' employees. The Sheriffs' Association Institute provides the only statewide training program for civil deputies, and the training is provided without charge to any civil personnel nominated for the school by a Sheriff.
Photo: Mike Grossi of the Westchester County Sheriff's Office teaches a session at last week's Basic Civil School at the NYSSAI offices in Albany, NY.
It's been more than three years since Tropical Storm Irene flooded the Schoharie County public safety building, destroying the county jail as well as Sheriff's offices. Local officials are still waiting for the federal government to release rebuilding funds.
Recently, U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, State Senator Jim Seward and Assemblyman Pete Lopez joined Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond, local firefighters, and other Schoharie County officials in a press conference held in the gutted first floor of the 23-year-old public safety building, to focus attention on the need to resolve conflicts between the rules of the federal and state emergency management officials that are holding up the project.
Rebuilding the public safety building on its current site would cost an estimated $40 million, but local officials worry the site is too close to the Schoharie Creek drainage area. The county is eyeing a new site, on higher ground about a mile away, that would cost $37 million. But FEMA is balking at funding because it may be less expensive for the agency to fix the building, in terms of FEMA's share.
The Sheriff's Office is caught in this state-federal conflict. Probation officers are working out of a temporary FEMA trailer, and Schoharie County's inmates are transported to and housed at the Albany County jail 38 miles away, where the jail boarding fees alone are running $3.6 million annually, with FEMA paying 70 percent and the county picking up the rest.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recently honored Ontario County as the leading Western New York county for the collection of expired prescription drugs over the last five years. Nearly five tons of expired, unused or unwanted medication was collected during 24 drive-through events held in communities throughout the County. More than 3,700 people dropped off more than 8,880 pounds of unwanted prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicine. In addition, about 400 pounds of medicines were collected at a permanent MedReturn unit at the Geneva PD's public safety building, which opened last year. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency destroyed the collected drugs, keeping them out of the hands of those who might misuse them and keeping them out of the environment.
The effort started with a collaboration between the Sheriff's Office and The Partnership for Ontario County, along with The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, Thompson Health, Wegmans and county agencies such as Public Health and the Office for the Aging. "We have collected over 9,000 pounds in five years, if youadd in the amount from the permanent collection unit at the Geneva Police Department," Sheriff Povero said. "That is an impressive number...We are honored to have received this recognition from the DEA and look forward to continuing this critical service," he said.
Photo: Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero, DEA Resident Agent in Charge Timothy Kernan, and Brianna Wright, former Drug-Free Communities Project Director for The Partnership of Ontario County.
After retiring from the New York State Police, Russell was appointed Clinton County Sheriff by Governor Hugh Carey in 1977. Russell ran five terms overseeing the building of the new Clinton County jail. In 1990, he served as President of the New York State Sheriff Association. Russell retired in 1999 at the age of 76. "He will be missed, but his legend will always live on!" said Clinton County Sheriff David Favro.
Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts is always prepared, but he has stepped up his game to be ready for any emergency requiring black shoes. Pictured above (bottom) are just some of his favorites. Barry wore his shiniest shoes recently when he presided over a retirement ceremony for long-time jail administrator Lester Carr, pictured above (top). Les' three brothers also work for Barry, and he told a few stories at their expense. Sheriff Phil Povero presentation about Les' work with the Finger Lakes Law Enforcement Academy, and jail administrators from Cayuga, Madison, Steuben, Ontario, Monroe, and Chemung counties were on hand to congratulate Les on his retirement. Tom Mitchell and Ed Wutzer presented a plaque to Les for his many contributions to the Association and his assistance to jail administrators throughout the state.