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.
The Erie County Sheriff's Office recently honored Senior Detective Jim Hatch, who retired after 32 years of distinguished and decorated service, citing his exemplary investigative skills, professionalism, leadership and tireless work ethic, which served to inspire his colleagues while enhancing public safety throughout Erie County. Senior Detective Hatch began his career in law enforcement after 11 years of dedicated service in the United States Marine Corps.
Detective Hatch made 938 arrests during a career that emphasized justice on behalf of domestic violence, elder abuse/neglect and juvenile victims, earning him far-reaching admiration and countless accolades including awards from the Hamburg American Legion, the National Federation for Just Communities, the Lee Gross Anthone Child Advocacy Center, the Erie County Sheriff's Foundation and the Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation. Congratulations to Detective Hatch on a distinguished career.
Chief Investigator Gregory T. Gaetano will retire this week after 27 years in law enforcement. Greg began his career as a New Windsor Police Dispatcher on April 22, 1978. He advanced to Police Officer, detective, Patrol Sergeant and Commanding Officer of the department's Community Policing Unit before retiring after 25 years of service.
Greg's stated his career with the Orange County Sheriff's Office in January of 2003. He was responsible for the administrative oversight of the Narcotics Unit, oversight of training programs, and oversight of the law enforcement accreditation program.
He coordinated efforts to have the Office receive Law Enforcement Accreditation from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. In 2012 he became an Accreditation Assessor for the NYS Law Enforcement Accreditation Program.
National Sheriffs' Association Executive Director Jonathan Thompson
Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike, Chairman of NYSSAI and of the Municipal Police Training Council
Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy
Acting Commissioner John Melville of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
Sheriffs from across the state, law enforcement leaders, and over 50 vendors gathered at the Desmond in Albany in February for the 81st Annual Winter Training Conference. Sessions included: Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike, NYSSAI Chairman, who is also Chairman of the Municipal Police Training Council, presenting an update on Training issues from the MPTC as well as NYSAC Public Safety Committee Priorities;" Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy speaking on "Advancing the Sheriff's Office Using Social Media;" Niagara County Sheriff Jim Voutour speaking on "Body Cameras: Deployment and Issues;" Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard who introduced Town of Clarence Emergency Manager David Bissonette to speak on "Responding to a Mass Casualty Event;" Clinton County Sheriff's Lieutenant Kevin Laurin speaking on "The Paperless Jail;" Dan Stewart, Senior Justice Advisor with Cisco Connected Justice, speaking on the "NYSSA Portal Project"; and Deb Emerson of Appriss, presenting an "Analytic Tools Overview on GetCrashReports.com."
In addition, the sheriffs received reports from the heads of most the state's major law enforcement entities, including: Terence O'Leary, the recently appointed Deputy Secretary to the Governor for Public Safety; Acting Commissioner John Melville of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services; Executive Deputy Commissioner Mike Green of the Division of Criminal Justice Services; Chairman Thomas Beilein and Commissioner Thomas Loughren of the New York State Commission of Correction, State Director Robert Maccarone of the Division of Probation & Correctional Alternatives; and Superintendent Joseph D'Amico of the New York State Police.
All photos by Thomas Rocco, who expressed his appreciation to the Sheriffs who are always a pleasure to work with, he said.