Sheriff Paul J. Van Blarcum (left) announces the appointment of Captain Michael O. Freer (right) to the position of Undersheriff of the Ulster County Sheriff's Office and the promotion of Francis X. Gillespie (center) to the rank of Detective in the Criminal Division of the Ulster County Sheriff's Office.
Captain Freer succeeds former Undersheriff Frank P. Faluotico, Jr., who announced his plans to retire after 28 years in law enforcement earlier this month.
Captain Freer has been with the Sheriff's Office for 34 years. In 1981 he was appointed Deputy Sheriff from the first civil service list for deputy sheriff in Ulster County. He was promoted to patrol sergeant in 1986, to patrol lieutenant in 2000; and to Captain of Police Services in 2007. Captain Freer is a graduate of New Paltz High School. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Marist College and a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. Captain Freer is married with four grown children and four grandchildren.
Detective Gillespie joined the Ulster County Sheriff's Office as Deputy Sheriff in July 2008, having graduated from Basic Police Academy in 2007. Congratulations to both Undersheriff Freer and Detective Gillespie!
The Annual School for New Sheriffs was attended by two new Sheriffs--Jefferson County Sheriff Colleen O'Neill and Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway--along with Jefferson County Undersheriff Brian McDermott, Montgomery County Undersheriff Jason Cramer and Tompkins County Undersheriff Brian Robison. During the two-day program the new Sheriffs and Undersheriffs heard presentations from: Chairman Thomas Beilein and Commissioner Thomas Loughren of the New York State Commission of Correction, Executive Deputy Commissioner Mike Green and Deputy Commissioner Mike Woods of the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services; Superintendent Joseph D'Amico and Deputy Superintendent and Field Commander Colonel Patricia Groeber of the New York State Police.
Some of the most valuable information came from presentations by current Sheriffs: Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley discussed Incarcerated Education Programs; Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha spoke about Ethics and Pitfalls to Avoid; Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace covered Practical Issues in Running a Sheriff's Office, Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike gave an overview of Training Issues Facing New Sheriffs and discussed the Role of the Municipal Police Training Council; Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero spoke on Budgetary Procedures and the Fight Crime, Invest in Kids Program; Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts covered Social Media and the Office of Sheriff; and Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple spoke on Traversing Politics and the Media.
A full session was devoted to Civil Office issues and we are grateful to Chief Ron Bill of the Broome County Sheriff's Office for presenting. Another session was devoted to jail issues and we are grateful to Broome County Jail Administrator Mark Smolinsky for presenting.
Photo: Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts presents to new Sheriffs and Undersheriffs at NYSSA Offices in Albany (l to r): Tompkins County Undersheriff Brian Robison, Montgomery County Undersheriff Jason Cramer, Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway, Jefferson County Undersheriff Brian McDermott, and Jefferson County Sheriff Colleen O'Neill.
Former Undersheriff Clair Van Haneghem passed away on Sunday, December 21, 2014 at the Wayne County Nursing Home. He was 89 years old.
Undersheriff VanHaneghem started with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office on May 1, 1953, having been appointed by Sheriff Earl G. Keckison as a deputy Sheriff. He later served as Undersheriff for five Sheriffs (Sheriffs Burns, Hurley, Kise, Byork and Pisciotti) during his 34 year career with the Sheriff's Office. Undersheriff Van Haneghem retired on January 4, 1987.
Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts said "Our Sheriff's Office progressed to the professional law enforcement agency it is today from the leadership Undersheriff Van Haneghem instilled in many of the deputies he guided throughout his outstanding career."
Image left: This story reporting the late Undersheriff Van Haneghem's appointment as Undersheriff appeared in the June 18, 1964 edition of The Geneva Times. Click here to see the full page from The Geneva Times for that day.
John F. Copeland, captain of the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office Mounted Unit, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the North American Police Equestrian Council (NAPEC). The board consists of nine members from around the US and Canada. The Wyoming County Sheriff's Office Mounted Unit has participated in the NAPEC events (Championship) since 2004. This election speaks to the professionalism of the unit. "To have an internationally recognized Mounted Unit here in Wyoming County is an asset to this office and Wyoming County." said Sheriff Greg Rudolph.
The Wyoming County Sheriff's Office Mounted Unit is an all volunteer non-for-profit corporation formed in 1973 by Sheriff Allen Capwell to render assistance to the Sheriff's Office or other public officials or entities. It relies on its membership, fundraising and donations to support its operations.
We have to say job well done to Captain Copeland,
who retired as Undersheriff of Wyoming County in 2003 and has maintained his volunteer service to the Mounted Unit since.
Livingston, Wayne and Yates County Offices of Sheriff recently held a Basic Correction Officer School Graduation Ceremony at the Wayne County Sheriff's Office in Lyons, New York.
Graduating Officers from the Livingston County Sheriff's Office were: Brittany L. Denby, Chad D. Eaton, Jason R. Hamilton, Ryan J. Rossborough, Cody T. Thomas, Kurt M. Uhl, and Anastassia M. Vasile.
From the Wayne County County Sheriff's Office: Brandon G. Burnett, Joseph S. Compton, Andrew T. Hems, and Andrew J. Pullin.
From the Yates County County Sheriff's Office: Edda F. Garcia-Martinez.
Congratulations to all of the graduates!
Sheriff Thomas J. Dougherty has informed us of the passing of the horse "Twister," a member of the Livingston County Sheriff's Office Mounted Patrol. Twister was 18 years old and originally from Tennessee. He served the Sheriff's Office faithfully for the last 13 years with his partner/rider, Deputy John Morgan. Together, they were involved in every mounted detail and countless fairs, parades and funerals.
"Thank you Deputy Morgan for sharing Twister with us and our deepest condolences on your loss," said Sheriff Dougherty. "Our thanks to Twister for his service to the Sheriff's Office and his service to the communities we serve. He will certainly be missed." We also extend our condolences to Deputy Morgan for your loss.
“The New York State Sheriffs Association, and all the Sheriffs of New York State, mourn the tragic loss of two New York City Police Officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were assassinated Saturday afternoon for no reason other than the fact that they were police officers. These senseless killings follow closely on the heels of senseless anti-police comments by some politicians and so-called community leaders, and the connection between the two events is inescapable. When our leaders, with their careless words, show disrespect for our police officers it is inevitable that some unsavory segments of society will see that as their cue to take violent action against the dedicated men and women who only seek to serve and protect. The blood of Officer Ramos and Officer Liu should weigh heavily on the consciences of those who, through their demagoguery and irresponsible statements, have recently fueled an anti-police sentiment in our cities, our State and Nation.”
“The Sheriffs of New York call upon Mayor de Blasio, Attorney General Schneiderman, Governor Cuomo, and President Obama to consider very carefully the words they use in discussing the serious criminal justice issues of our day, and to be aware that what they say can have serious consequences. Words can kill.”
The New York Sheriffs' Victim Hotline (VINE) recently launched an enhancement to the notification system that enables crime victims to receive a text message notification in the event of any change in the custody status of an offender. This new option is in addition to the existing notification options of telephone or email. The Victim Notification System is highly successful. In 2014 alone, almost 2.8 million crime victims searched the VINE Database, using either the toll free number, the VINEMobile app, the Sheriffs Mobile Patrol Ap, or the website (VineLink.com). Also in 2014, over 100,000 crime victims received notification of a change in their offender's status either by phone or email.
Chenango County Sheriff Ernest Cutting was honored before the County Board of Supervisors at the November meeting as his Office was awarded re-accreditation of the Civil Division. At the meeting, NYSSA Executive Director Peter Kehoe praised the Sheriff and his staff for their professional accomplishments. He also recognized the extra efforts of the entire staff of the Chenango County Civil Division to achieve this accreditation. Chief Civil Clerk Craig Allison (photo left) and Retired Chief Civil Clerk Patricia Collier (not pictured) were particularly recognized for the time and effort they devoted to the accreditation process. Nice work!
Sheriff Mike Amato appointed Justin D. Cramer as the new Undersheriff of Montgomery County in November. Justin has served as the 911 Network/ System Administrator for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office for two years. "During his short term of employment with the Sheriff's Office, Justin has excelled in all areas of managing the 911 Dispatch Center. His duties have expanded during the past year to creating and managing the 911 Center Budget," said Sheriff Amato. Justin has 10 years of Public Safety experience, including serving as the Montgomery County Emergency Management Deputy Coordinator, a NYS-EMT-B, and a third generation volunteer firefighter. Justin brings 15 years of experience in the private sector to his new role, including 5 years as Director of Technology for a high-tech engineering and services firm. Justin assumed his duties as Undersheriff on November 17, 2014. We wish him well in his new role!