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August 19, 2017 - 7:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, batavia, news, alexander.

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Two of the Sheriff's Office longest-serving members retired yesterday, John Dehm and Barb Eddy (pictured with Undersheriff Greg Walker and Sheriff Bill Sheron).

Dehm started with the Sheriff's Office in June 1980. By then, he'd earned a degree from Buffalo State in Criminal Justice and scored second on the deputy's exam. After a short stint at Genesee Community College as a security guard, then-Sheriff Roy Wullich called him for a job, assigning him, as was the case with all new deputies who hadn't yet been through the academy, to guard duty in the jail.

He worked road patrol until 1993 when he became the agency's youth officer, a job he described as both richly rewarding and stressful.

"I might still be part of interacting with the Child Advocacy Center to see that that's carried out and that the cases of child sexual abuse are handled in the correct way," Dehm said. "I really believe it takes special training in order to investigate those types of offenses. A lot of compassion and we have a team, not only just one person, we have a whole team of experts who collaborate together to make sure the best outcome prevails."

In 1989, Dehm was trained in forensic interviews, a skill that was a major part of his job as a youth officer.

"One of my passions is getting sex offenders," Dehm said.

When Dehm started as a youth officer, the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program was still active and that was a big part of his job in the beginning, but becoming certified as a DARE officer wasn't easy. He had to travel to Albany, be interviewed by multiple people to ensure he was the right caliber for the job and pass a test.

"I actually see many of my students who are probably now  36 or 37 years old and they still say 'Hi' to me," Dehm said, "to this day. It was a wonderful experience working directly with the kids."

In retirement, he's still going to be working with kids. This fall, he starts a job as a security aide at John Kennedy School.

"I think with all the skills I have as a youth officer, I think I'm going to be able to use those skills and my talents as a youth officer to the advantage of the kids in that school," Dehm said.

While Dehm, a father of three adult children and stepfather to an 18-year-old daughter, anticipates having more time to do things around the house and spend more time with his wife, he isn't giving up on his other passion -- scuba diving.

For years, he and his partners (other men in law enforcement) have run a scuba business. It's something he still enjoys and thinks he's good at, he said.

"I've been scuba diving for 40 years," Dehm said. "I've been doing a dive business fo over 20. We do underwater video photography. I think my skills are pretty sharp underwater. We can tell how different things work for different municipalities and assisting in whatever underwater things that they need. And any infrastructure that needs to be inspected."

Dehm, a 1975 graduate of Notre Dame High School, said he also looks forward to spending more time outdoors -- hiking, biking, camping, and he would really like to delve more into photography. (He's been documenting various Sheriff's Office events for a few years.)

Barb Eddy's law enforcement career actually started with the FBI in its Buffalo office; but having been raised in Bethany and attending Alexander schools, she missed Genesee County.

"Obviously, the FBI was a great job but my my heart wasn't in the City of Buffalo," Eddy said. "My brother (a deputy sheriff) said a typist job was open at the Sheriff's Office and he said, 'You should apply.' "

So she did. She was actually the first person interviewed for a job by the new sheriff, Doug Call.

"He kind of laughed because he said 'you've got an FBI background already so we don't have to do a background check,' " she recalled.

Eddy was hired as a typist in 1981 and soon promoted to clerk typist. 

Through the '80s, Eddy was very involved in her community, including the Alexander Volunteer Fire Department; so in 1990, making the move to dispatch seemed like a good fit for her.

"I've always enjoyed the fire service and what they do and that's where my heart was and I decided that's where I needed to be," Eddy said.

It's been a very rewarding job, she said.

"The main thing that I like about dispatch is that every day I come here into the office, I know I'm going to help someone," Eddy said. "You know it's not always the tragedies, the horrible things of having a baby not breathing on the other end, or a person screaming that their child isn't breathing, or their loved one isn't breathing.

"Those are the things I'm going to choose to kind of block out of my memory. It's the simple things, just knowing that I'm helping someone, even if it's finding a phone number or an address or whatever. It's just knowing that every day I walk in here I'm helping someone in the community that needs help."

Eddy also thinks she's leaving the 9-1-1 Center in capable hands.

"There's a younger group coming up through the ranks and they're doing a great job," Eddy sadi. "They're trained very well. The Sheriff makes sure that they are trained. They're doing a very good job."

She's retiring after 36 years and her husband retired two years ago as a State Police dispatcher. They're looking forward to time for family and travel and returning to some of the community involvement she's had to set aside for a few years. 

"Since I took my promotion as a senior dispatcher, I've been working the three-to-seven shift so I've lost track of some things that I really enjoy with my community," Eddy said. "I've been involved in the Alexander Fire Department and I'm also with the Boy Scouts. I got involved with the Boy Scouts because my son is an Eagle and I am lucky enough to be able to continue with that and be the liaison with the Fire Department, which sponsors the scouts."

And then there is the chance to get back involved with music.

"I did play an instrument when I was in high school and I haven't touched it since," Eddy said. "I thought about that maybe some singing or some music, some things that I haven't done in quite a long time and I might actually have time for now."

She is going to miss working at the Sheriff's Office though. It's like family, she said.

"After all, sometimes you spend more time here than with your own family," Eddy said. "I just love the people I work with and I'm going to miss them. But I might become the coffee guy now, you know. I can be the girl who calls up and says, 'You've been here 12 hours -- you need a cup of coffee?' "

July 26, 2017 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, news, notify.

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There is no separating the Christian faith of Deputy Brian Thompson and his work over the past 25 years with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

From his positive spirit, ready encouraging words for everybody he comes across and his gentle reminders that "life is temporary but eternity is forever," Thompson makes it clear he doesn't do one thing on Sunday and live his life differently.

"Sometimes we think we can compartmentalize things and say, 'Well I can have faith on Sunday but the rest of the time I'm just going to be like the world and be harsh,' and we can't be that. I tried not to compartmentalize who I am in God. And I think that's made me who I am as a police officer on the scene."

Thompson retired today and he said he can look back on a career where he thinks he's made a difference in people's lives, even people he's arrested.

"A lot of those citizens on that side of the law have become my friends over the years," Thompson said. "That's very rewarding to see people that are hating law enforcement, hating authority more or less -- and then to become great citizens in the community, and loving God or loving the Lord, or just maybe even having a wake-up call and change your life, and then reaching back and saying that they love me and care about me is very humbling."

Thompson said people have reminded him over the years that it wasn't his job to be a preacher or pastor while on the job, but that didn't mean he couldn't keep seeing each person he met someone special.

"Each individual person I run into is special and unique and made in God's image," Thompson said. "When we do that and we put them first in God's eyes, it makes you have more of a compassion for them. I haven't always perfectly done that, but I would say for the most part God has given me the courage and the patience and the endurance to be that for most of those persons over the years."

Thompson grew up in Genesee County. He attended Pavilion High School and then transferred to Oakfield-Alabama, where he graduated in 1986.

Thompson accepted Christ when he was 18.

At the time, from the outside people might have thought he had things together. He was an athlete and among the top 10 academically in his class, but inside, he said there was more anger than love.

"Alcohol was taking over my life," Thompson said.

Jesus, he said, "changed my life for eternity."

After graduation, Thompson joined the Army, which is where he got involved with K-9s.

He returned home in 1990, already a married man.

He met his wife, Amy, while in high school and through the first two years of his Army hitch, they stayed in touch through letters and phone calls and were married in 1988.

Brian and Amy have four children, Ethan, 23, Olivia, 20, Sophia, 16, and Gideon, 9.

In 1991, Thompson went to went to work for the Sheriff's Office as a corrections officer. After 18 months in the jail, he was transferred to road patrol. After road patrol and a sent on the Local Drug Task Force, he was offered a chance to become a K-9 handler again. He worked with three dogs over the course of his 14-year K-9 career: Yentl, Jay, and Pharoah.

One of the most dramatic events of Thompson's career occurred in Corfu in January 2014. The incident began when Thompson was dispatched to check on a car off the road. When he arrived, he recognized the subject in the car as Scott A. Kopper, who was wanted on a parole warrant. When Thompson attempted to get Kopper out of his vehicle, Kopper tried to drive off, dragging Thompson, whose arm was caught in the car door. A nearby truck driver intervened, possibly saving Thompson's life.

Kopper is currently serving a seven-year prison term for the assault.

"I love Scott," Thompson said. "I haven't had an opportunity to touch his life in jail yet but I'm hoping to, as I retire, to be able to reach out to Scott and continue that love. This started at the sentencing time to say 'I forgive you and I love you and you mean something.' But we all have to be held accountable for our actions. And he did something that almost cost me my life and almost cost other people's lives.

"But his life was spared. And I think it was spared for a reason. So I do pray that Scott comes to know the Lord and turns his life over to him. I have no control over that. All I can do is extend my hand to him and say 'I love you and I care about you and I hope your life is more fulfilled than it was before.' "

Top Photo: Thompson, middle, with Undersheriff Greg Walker and Sheriff Bill Sheron.

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July 14, 2017 - 1:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jail, Sheriff's Office, news, notify.

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The path to a Sheriff's road patrol often passes through the Genesee County Jail for career-minded folks interested in law enforcement, and Darrell Klein thought that would be the path he would take when he signed on as a corrections officer 24-and-a-half years ago.

It didn't take him long, though, to figure out the jail was where he could do the most good.

"I liked the people," Klein said. "I liked the challenge, the feeling that I was doing something that mattered. People misunderstand what inmates are all about. They think they are bad people. They're not. There are a lot of good people here who made bad choices. It's nice to be able to help them when I can."

He said he will be look back at several memories where he feels he made a difference in people's lives. 

"Those are good feelings," he said.

Today was Klein's last day on the job.

"It's time to pass the torch to somebody else," he said.

July 12, 2017 - 12:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, news.

Press release:

Seventeen (17) children from Genesee County attended the New York State Sheriffs' Institute 2017 Summer Camp at Camp Iroquois, which is located on Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes Region of Yates County, for one week of wholesome summer fun.  

Now in its 41st year of operation, the camp accommodates more than 900 boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 12 from across New York State, and they attend at no charge. Made possible by the generous financial support of the Honorary Members of the Sheriffs’ Institute, the Sheriffs' Summer Camp provides a solid recreational program while stressing basic values and good citizenship. 

“The campers get an insider’s look at the world of law enforcement,” said Sheriff William Sheron. “By working with and learning from the Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs at the camp, the kids develop a deeper respect for and understanding of the men and women who enforce our laws.” 

Campers participate in typical camp activities like archery, sailing, boating, hiking, and talent shows. They also experience technical and safety demonstrations by Deputy Sheriffs such as scuba diving, K-9 handling, bicycle safety and boating safety.

The Sheriffs’ Summer Camp is a program of the New York State Sheriffs’ Institute Inc.  The Sheriffs’ Institute was established in 1979 with the mission to assist the office of the sheriff in advancing education in the criminal justice community, preventing juvenile delinquency, and supporting victims of crime and their families. Visit www.nysheriffsinstitute.org or https://www.facebook.com/campiroquois/ to learn more.

July 8, 2017 - 2:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, batavia, news, notify.

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The Sheriff's Office dedicated two new signs in the garden outside the department's Park Road office this afternoon to the memory of William H. Johnson, who died in 1895, and Raymond F. Thompson, who died in 2002.

Pictured above, Deputy Brian Thompson on the left, with Undersheriff Greg Walker, and on the right, other members of the Thompson family with Sheriff William Sheron.

Brian Thompson is Raymond's brother. Raymond served eight years in the USAF in Security Police, then returned home, working in a couple of different manufacturing jobs before joining the Sheriff's Office as a corrections officer. He died on duty a few years later of a heart attack at the age of 37.

The dedication service comes on the third anniversary of the death of Deputy Frank Bordonaro, who is also honored with a sign in his memory in the garden.

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The ceremony was followed by lunch for all in attendance, with hot dogs, hamburgers and sausage grilled by, from left, Undersheriff Greg Walker, Chief Deputy Jerry Brewster, and Sheriff Bill Sheron.

April 20, 2017 - 7:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, law enforcement, news.

parkerawardapril2017.jpgPress release:

Genesee County Investigator Christopher A. Parker was honored by Crime Stoppers Buffalo at its Annual Law Enforcement Recognition Reception held last night at Giancarlo’s Sicilian Steakhouse in Williamsville.   

Undersheriff Walker nominated Investigator Parker for this award based on his consistency as an officer who exemplifies professionalism, dependability, cooperation, fairness, integrity, loyalty and, more specifically, for his highly meritorious act on Sept. 13.

Then Deputy Parker was first on scene for a six-apartment fire in the Town of Pavilion. Without regard for his own safety and without any protective breathing apparatus or gear, he entered the first apartment to begin checking for residents and discovered an elderly man who was completely asleep as smoke crept into his bedroom. After assisting the man out of the building, Deputy Parker continued to check the other apartments until firefighters arrived. 

“Investigator Parker’s quick, fearless actions on that day most likely saved the elderly man’s life. He is most deserving of this recognition,” said Undersheriff Walker.

March 19, 2017 - 7:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, law enforcement, religion, batavia, news.

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This morning's service at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Batavia was dedicated to members of the law enforcement community, to pray for them and to encourage them and to thank them for their service to the community. There were representatives at the service from the Sheriff's Office, Batavia PD and the State Police.

Pastor Allen A. Werk officiated. He is also chaplain for the Sheriff's Office.

Pastor Werk read from Joshua 1:9: "Be Strong. Be courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

His message was that God promises to be with us in whatever challenges and difficulties we face, especially those who serve.

“God is your backup," Werk said. "He has your back in every situation you face. Every call out, every domestic, every accident, every traffic stop, every disturbance, every break-in, every rescue, every crisis, every disaster, God promises that he will be with you wherever you go.”

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February 24, 2017 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, news.

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Deputy Cassidy Longhini, Deputy Jenna Ferrando, Chief Deputy-Road Patrol Gordon L. Dibble, Sheriff William A. Sheron, Jr., Undersheriff Gregory H. Walker, Deputy Travis DeMuth and Deputy Howard O. Wilson.

The Sheriff's Office announced the following personnel changes:

The following four Deputy Sheriff's graduated from the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy at Niagara University on Jan. 11:

Deputy Sheriff Cassidy Longhini was presented with the Physical Fitness Award in his graduating class from the academy. He is a 2010 high school graduate from Byron-Bergen High School and received an associate degree in Physical Education from Genesee Community College in 2013. Deputy Longhini was previously employed as a Correction Officer with the Genesee County Jail before being appointed a Deputy Sheriff.

Deputy Sheriff Jenna Ferrando is a 2007 high school Regents graduate from Le Roy High School. In 2009, she graduated with an associate degree in Criminal Justice & Liberal Arts from Genesee Community College; and in 2011, Deputy Ferrando graduated from Buffalo State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Spanish. 

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  Kyle Krzemien

Deputy Sheriff Travis M. DeMuth graduated with a Regents Diploma in 2011 from Alden High School. In 2016, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. Deputy DeMuth was previously employed as a Security Guard.

Deputy Sheriff Howard O. Wilson V is a 2004 Regents high school graduate from Batavia High School. Deputy Wilson was previously employed as a Correction Officer with the Genesee County Jail until 2014. During that time, he received a Commendation Award for his actions off duty that involved attempts to calm a patron making verbal threats to other surrounding customers and assisted with taking the subject into custody.

Appointment:

Deputy Sheriff Kyle D. Krzemien has been appointed Deputy Sheriff, and is a 2013 Regents Diploma graduate of St. Mary’s High School in Lancaster.  He enlisted in the Army National Guard in August 2012 and continues to remain enlisted. Deputy Krzemien attended college at Buffalo State and then enrolled in classes at the Erie Community College Police Academy, graduating in December 2015 from Pre-Employment Basic Training. He graduated from Phase 2 of the academy on May 12, 2016.  

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Pastor Allen Werk, Road Patrol Chief Deputy Gordon L. Dibble, Deputy Sheriff Jeremy M. McClellan, Deputy Mathew J. Clor, Undersheriff Gregory H. Walker, Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr.

The following two Deputy Sheriffs graduated from the Monroe Community College Law Enforcement Academy on Jan. 27:

Deputy Sheriff Jeremy M. McClellan graduated in 2000 from Alexander High School. After high school, Deputy McClellan enlisted in the Navy where he achieved a rank of Petty Officer First Class and served until 2011. While in the Navy, Deputy McClellan received the following medals: Joint Service Achievement, Navy & Marine Corps Achievement, Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy Good Conduct three times, National Defense Service, Global War of Terrorism Expeditionary, W/FMF, Navy “E” Ribbon, Humanitarian Service, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon five times, Expert Pistol Shot, and Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist. He was previously employed as a Detention Officer at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia. 

Deputy Sheriff Mathew J. Clor is a 2011 graduate from Batavia High School. Since graduation, Deputy Clor has been an active member of the Army National Guard and has earned the rank of E-4 Specialist. He received an award for volunteering his duties during Operation Blackhawk, providing security following Hurricane Sandy in New York City.  Deputy Clor is also a summer coach for the Batavia Junior Baseball League.

Promotions:

Deputy Sheriff Jason E. Saile has been promoted to Sergeant. He is a 12-year veteran who started his law enforcement career as a Deputy Sheriff on July 8, 2005.  

Investigator Bradley D. Mazur was promoted on Jan. 1, 2017, to the position of Sergeant. He is an 18-year veteran who began his career with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 31, 1999.

Deputy Sheriff Christopher A. Parker was promoted on Jan. 1, 2017, to the position of Investigator. He is a 19-year veteran who began his career with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 29, 1997.

Part-time appointment:

Justine M. Reed was appointed a part-time Emergency Services Dispatcher on Jan 1.

Jail appointments:

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Matthew Bailey with Sheriff Sheron

Part-time Correction Officer Jason M. Buck has been appointed full time.

Part-time Correction Officer Corey J. Cieszki has been appointed full time.

Correction Officer Matthew J. Bailey was appointed on Aug. 27 and graduated from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Basic Corrections Academy on Dec. 2. C.O. Bailey is a 2001 Regents diploma graduate from Batavia High School. Following high school, he attended Genesee Community College and received an associate degree in Criminal Justice in 2014. In May 2014, Bailey enlisted in the Army National Guard where he is an E-4 Specialist assigned to the 105th Military Police Company based out of Buffalo. C.O. Bailey was previously employed as a Buffalo Federal Detention Officer.

Eric T. Wagner was appointed to a part-time Correction Officer on Nov. 8.

February 19, 2017 - 1:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, news.

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Press release:

Deputy Sheriff Christopher Parker of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office has been selected as the 2017 New York State Sheriffs’ Institute’s Deputy of the Year. He was nominated for the award by Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr.

This statewide award was presented at the New York State Sheriffs’ Institute’s Annual Awards Luncheon, which is annually held in Albany.

On Sept. 13, the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center received a report of a fire in a six-apartment complex in the Town of Pavilion, Genesee County. Deputy Chris Parker was the first law enforcement officer on the scene. When he arrived, he observed a fire in apartment #6. Thick, black smoke was rolling out of the building. Deputy Parker, without regard for his own safety and without any protective breathing apparatus or gear, entered apartment #5 to check for residents.

After he cleared the ground floor of that apartment, he entered apartment #4 and cleared that as well. In doing so, he realized that the apartments were two stories, and he had not cleared the second story of apartment #5, directly next to the fire. He returned to #5 to check the upstairs. As he entered a bedroom on the second floor, he discovered an elderly man asleep in a bed. The room was filling with smoke. He woke the man and got him out of the building. Deputy Parker then continued to clear apartments as firefighters started to arrive. This effort was all captured on Parker’s body camera.

Given the fact that the man was sound asleep as smoke crept in his bedroom, Deputy Parker’s quick, fearless actions most likely saved the elderly man’s life.

“Deputy Parker’s heroic action, in which he reentered a building fully engulfed in flames, to rescue an elderly man meets the Deputy of the Year Award’s criteria perfectly,” stated the Award’s Selection Committee’s Chairman, Sheriff Ron Spike of Yates County.

“Deputy Parker put his life on the line to save the life of another. In today’s society we use the word hero pretty loosely, but not in this particular case. Deputy Parker is a hero in the true definition of the word.”

December 31, 2016 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Gary Maha, news, Sheriff's Office.

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In the half century since Gary Maha started his law enforcement career, a lot has changed about being a cop.

There's the obvious changes -- digital communication, cameras, phones, computers. Then there are the changes of the mind, how society sees itself in the mirror and the role of the police officer in that looking-glass world.

Maha will miss some things about being in law enforcement, but he won't miss the stress.

"I just want to relax for a while," Maha said. "No more two or three o’clock in the mornings when the phone rings. You know it's not somebody checking to see how well you’re sleeping. It’s usually something that’s bad or something’s happened you need to respond to. I won't miss that kind of stuff, all the sleepless nights. I mean, I don’t sleep well at all at night because you’re always concerned and worried either one of your people are going to get hurt or something’s going to happen. You wait for the phone call."

Maha was handed his first straw Stetson, a badge and a .38-caliber revolver in 1967.

In 1967, Genesee County was still pretty much the world Gary Maha grew up in.

A child of Corfu, Maha remembers a village that was a chummy, tight-knit group. People left their keys in their cars, didn't lock their doors and the kids went to the local market or local diner for something to eat and just hang out. Or they played sports. There were no drugs. There were few children raised in single-parent homes or by grandparents. There was one deputy who patrolled the entire county during the night shift.

"Back in those days, you knew your neighbors," Maha said. "You know almost everybody who lived in the Village of Corfu at the time. That’s not the case nowadays with the transient population; people don’t know their neighbors like they used to."

Maha was the son of the man who ran the village court, the local justice of the peace. That's where he developed an interest in law enforcement. Discipline and integrity were traits Maha said he got from his parents.

"My mother was a stay-at-home mom and my father owned a greenhouse in Corfu and she worked a lot in the greenhouse but they were both home all the time," Maha said. "They weren’t strict parents, you know, but you got to follow the rules."

In high school -- it was Corfu High School, then -- there was more discipline and a touch of leadership experience. He played basketball and baseball and became the football team's starting quarterback.

In the early 1960s, the United States was just starting to get involved in Vietnam and Maha joined the Army. He served three years, including a 13-month tour in Korea, then returned home for college and an eventual job in the dispatch center of the New York State Police in Batavia.

It was, in that job, a year when Genesee County's undersheriff walked into the darkroom where Maha was developing photos for a trooper and suggested he apply for a job as a deputy.

A few weeks of training, a week of on-the-job training, and Maha became that lone patrolman prowling the county's back roads.

"I remember once going from Darien to Bergen to respond to an accident," Maha said. "By the time I got there, the guy’s still lying in the middle of the road."

Those were different times, but Maha was always steadfast in his integrity. When we talked about some of the things that have tripped up Sheriff's in other jurisdictions over the years, he recalled those who skimmed money or had sexual affairs and these transgressions cost them their jobs.

"I remember stopping a girl, and she’s out to do anything, anything to get out of the ticket mess and I said, 'I’m sorry. Here you are,' ” and Maha motions handing her a ticket.

Maha said he warns deputies they will face these temptations.

"That’s one thing I tell officers, too, you know," Maha said. "Don’t fall in the death trap because once that happens, they've got your career right there in their hands. They’re going to play that trump card when it’s good for them, not for you. I’m sure to tell all these guys -- because I did when I was a young deputy -- you will get propositioned."

Maha's reputation for integrity extends beyond the border of Genesee County. Rare among those in local law enforcement, he has a top secret clearance from the FBI. Every year, he teaches an ethics seminar through the New York Sheriffs' Association for new sheriffs. He tells them all the same thing, "you have to take care of things at home."

He's seen a sheriff become more enamored with his cottage at the lake than what was going on in his own county. He's also seen sheriffs who think they're on top of the world and can't be touched.

"They have a big ego and that comes back to haunt them and they lose elections," Maha said. "It's the same with a lot of people. They get involved with women or alcohol or greed sometimes. I remember a sheriff many years ago who was a good sheriff, well liked, but he had a drug seizure fund and he was using that to finance some of his personal expenses. He got caught, got charged and spent time in the federal prison -- stupid stuff."

Other sheriffs lose elections. Not Gary Maha. He ran every four years from 1988 to 2012 unopposed.

The route toward sheriff for Gary Maha may have started when his boss in 1972, Sheriff Frank L. Gavel, nominated him for a spot at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Va. Maha was accepted in his first year of eligibility. After five years in law enforcement, and at 28 years old, he was the youngest attendee. 

"It's all the same courses that the FBI agents go through," Maha said. "You go through a lot of leadership courses, a lot of management courses including some operational type of courses, and it was three months away from home but it was well worth it."

By the time Maha arrived in Quantico, he was already an investigator handling some big cases.  

The most memorable cases, of course, where the murder cases.

"I remember my first homicide case," Maha said. "It was over on Hundredmark Road. There was a fire in one of the shacks over there. We’re blocking off the road and a fireman found a skeleton, you know, a burned up, charred body inside.

"We had nothing to go on," Maha said. "We don’t know if it was male or female, and the way we finally identified it was female is she had an ankle bracelet on and there was a female missing out of Albion who had that type of ankle bracelet and that’s how we ended up first identifying her, and there was this guy from Oakfield. I won't mention (his name) because he did 25 years to life and he’s out. He picked her up and took her over there and he sexually abused her."

There were no witnesses and scant physical evidence, but Maha and the other investigators were able to piece things together, draw in statements the suspect made to a fellow inmate, and make a case and get a conviction.

The young investigator helped secure another conviction on a murder case that became a story in "Inside Detective," the once popular pulp magazine. In that case, two young men stopped at a gas station on Clinton Street Road, where an ice cream shop is now, and one of the men went inside to rob the attendant and the other drove down the street and then came back to pick up the robber. 

The driver apparently had no idea his partner shot and killed the recent high school graduate from Bergen who was working that night.

"That was another tough case," Maha said. "The main perpetrator, the actual shooter, he was on parole and he was the coldest-blooded guy I ever met in my life. I mean, he shot this young kid, 18 years old, and he shot him on the back of the head and for robbery. I don’t think he got much money and (the victim) was a great kid, too. I knew his mother. That was just a senseless shooting. It was just cold-blooded."

The shooter was an immigrant from Poland and he was deported after serving his prison sentence. Maha doesn't believe his accomplice, who lived in Brockport, returned to the area after prison.

In 1977, Maha was promoted again, this time to chief deputy.

Today, the department has a chief deputy in charge of road patrol and another in charge of investigations, but in 1977, Maha was it. He supervised both divisions.

With the bearing and demeanor of the late actor Jack Palance, Maha is usually a man of few words who can be hard to get to know. Friends say he has a wicked sense of humor and at department gatherings, he clearly enjoys a good joke. After a community event a few years ago, his wife, Sue Maha, told a local photographer that he accomplished a rare feat -- capturing the stern-faced sheriff wearing a smile in public.

The Mahas obviously enjoy each other's company, even after nearly four decades of marriage and raising two children together. They are both members of Kiwanis and at just about any social event where one goes, they're both there.

For Gary, lasting romance came a bit late in life. He had already been with the Sheriff's Office for more than a decade when he met Sue.

He met her, of course, on the job. No, he didn't pull her over with the notion of giving her a ticket. Nor was the chief deputy fraternizing with the staff.

Sue traveled the region selling photo ID systems to law enforcement agencies and it was Maha's job to review the systems for the criminal division and make a recommendation for purchase.

"That’s when I met her and we fell in love and here it is 36 years later," Maha said.

A man of few words.

Maha never set out to be sheriff. He never sought the job, he said. He didn't even think he was the one who would get it when Doug Call stepped down from the position in 1988 and recommended Maha for the governor's appointment. The governor was Mario Cuomo, a Democrat, as was Call, and Maha is a Republican. He figured the job would go to another Democrat, but Call's recommendation persuaded Cuomo that Maha was the right choice.

While other departments have had their scandals and tragic line-of-duty incidents, Maha's Sheriff's Office has largely run smoothly over the course of his career.

He credits his command staff and the folks they supervise.

He may not be out in the field every day, but good communication combined with the knowledge he gained coming up through the ranks Maha said enables him to keep pretty good tabs on his deputies.

"Some of the guys probably don't realize it, because I'm up here and they are down there, but I know what's going down there," Maha said. "I get a feel for what's going on out there in the community. I hear what's on dispatch all the time and know what's going on. I stay in contact with my chief of road patrol every day. He stops in every day and we discuss things, what's going on. I've got a good bunch of people here. They are well trained, well equipped and well educated."

Becoming a deputy is a lot harder than it was in 1967. 

Where it only took Maha a few weeks of training, and no civil service exam, before he was on patrol by himself, the process for a deputy just starting out today is about a year long.

New hires who want to make it to road patrol go through an extensive background check, hours of psychological evaluation, a polygraph, physical fitness and agility tests, and a medical checkup before they're even given a chance at training. And then they're sent to a law enforcement academy for six months before three months of on-the-job training.

It's a daunting process and a lot of men and women who try don't make it.

That's one reason Maha likes hiring military veterans when he can. They have a proven track record of self-discipline and they understand the command structure.

"It's very important you choose the right person," Maha said. "We are accredited. We are the only local law enforcement agency that is accredited. We have certain standards that you have to comply with and meet. Therefore, a selection of a deputy is very important. So even though we have civil service rules and regulations to comply with, you sometimes have to pick the best of the worst. You would like to get a better officer and mostly we do, but there have been a few who washed out."

For all his sleepless nights worrying about his deputies, there has been only one line-of-duty death during Maha's tenure. That was when Frank Bordonaro passed away in his sleep following back-to-back nights of stressful calls -- a house fire in Le Roy and an ugly, fatal accident in Byron.

"That was tough on the department because Frank was a well-liked guy," Maha said. "He was great at his job, a super guy, very friendly, outgoing, and it was a shock to all of us when that happened. It hit the department hard."

It's also hit Maha hard when he's had to fire people under his command. It's not always an easy thing to do, he said. Most recently, he had to terminate a corrections officer for allegedly engaging in sexual acts with a female inmate. That was tough.

"You know, he has a small child, he's married, so that was difficult," Maha said. "I liked the guy. Some of these guys, you know, they're not deserving (of the job), you know, 'you're out of here,' but he's a decent guy and I hated to have to discipline him and let him go, but you have to."

Maintaining order and discipline is a bit of swimming against the tide of the times, which is another reason Maha has continued to emphasize integrity in deciding who gets hired and who stays.  

One of the biggest changes Maha has seen over the course of his career is the decline in respect for law enforcement.

"Things have changed as far as crime goes," Maha said. "You know, drugs made a big change, gangs, you know, and I think respect not for just law enforcement but for authority, teachers, or whatever. It’s not just there anymore. There are a lot of broken homes where children are raised by one of their grandparents or no adults. It’s totally different."

So it's not totally a bad time to step aside for a guy who started out as a cop when people could still leave the keys in a car's ignition. He knows that. 

That doesn't mean Maha thinks the job is impossible or can't be rewarding for the young ones coming up through the ranks. He tells them, "just do the right thing."

"Don't take any shortcuts," he said. "Make sure you follow the law and be honest. Keep your honor and just be held to a higher standard."

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Gary Maha, second from left, being welcomed to the force with three other new deputies by Sheriff Frank L. Gavel.

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The cover of the "Inside Detective" issue that included a story about a murder in Batavia that was investigated by Gary Maha.

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The first page of the story about the murder at the Minute Man gas station on Clinton Street Road, Batavia.

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Gary Maha, far right, in a photo in "Inside Detective," with another investigator and a suspect in the murder.

December 29, 2016 - 10:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, news, Sheriff's Office.

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With his family all around and many lifelong friends in attendance, William Sheron, after 21 years as undersheriff, became Genesee County's top cop Wednesday evening during an oath-of-office event at the Old Courthouse.

Administering the oath for Sheron was Thomas Graham, town justice in Oakfield, who was Sheron's first trainer when Sheron first joined the Sheriff's Office, walking into dispatch one day in 1977 and meeting Graham as a fresh-faced 18-year-old who "had no clue as to what I was doing, no clue at all." Graham had just been promoted to deputy and said, "sit down and start learning. The sooner I get you trained, the sooner I get to move on to being a deputy."

"He was at the start of a career that has been just phenomenal and the best part about it has been the people," Sheron said. "You’re not going to find nicer people. Every time I’ve progressed, people have stepped up and said they would help me out, ‘whatever you need, Bill.’ This is just the culmination of many, many years and I’m extremely proud to become Sheriff."

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Greg Walker was sworn in as undersheriff.

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Don Coleman, county coroner. 

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Scott German, county treasurer.

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Kevin Andrews, deputy county treasurer.

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Shirley A. Gorman, assistant district attorney.

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Karen Lang, county coroner.

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Randy Baker, town justice, Oakfield.

To purchase prints, click here.

December 23, 2016 - 5:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, news.

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Press release:

Genesee County Deputy Sheriff Andrew B. Hale was honored by the Western New York Chapter of American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) International at its Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Luncheon held on Dec. 1 at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens.   

Sheriff Gary Maha nominated Deputy Hale for his heroism, dedication, valor, and for performing “above and beyond” the call of duty. Deputy Hale was hired on June 17, 2013, and has since been involved in two very notable incidents where he demonstrated great courage and leadership. He utilized exceptional self-restraint and judgment in order to resolve the situations without harm to himself, fellow officers or the public.

“Deputy Hale is an outstanding police officer and is most deserving of this recognition,” Sheriff Maha said.

Standing with Deputy Hale, from left, are Sheriff-elect William A. Sheron Jr. and Sheriff Maha.

December 23, 2016 - 12:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, news.

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Press release:

On Wednesday afternoon of this week, Josh and Justin Smith from H.E. Turner & Co, Bohm-Calarco-Smith, Burdett & Sanford Funeral Homes along with their kids -- Gabriella, Brendan, Noah, Nicolas and Caleb -- stopped by the Sheriff’s Office to deliver platters of submarine sandwiches for the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office to say thank you for all the service provided to the community throughout the year. Pictured with the kids are Deputy Howard Wilson, Investigator James Diehl and Deputy Kevin Forsyth.

This morning, students from Batavia Middle School stopped by the Sheriff’s Office with gifts of hot chocolate for the deputies to say thank you for all they do.

The Sheriff’s Office employees would like to express their sincere appreciation for these thoughtful gestures.

December 16, 2016 - 10:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, news.

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Deputy Patrick Reeves, in his 20th year with the Sheriff's Office, was named for the second time in his career "Officer of the Year" today at the department's annual awards luncheon.

Here's the statement from the Sheriff's Office in support of his award:

Deputy Patrick J. Reeves has distinguished himself as a dedicated officer whose work over this past year has been exceptional. He has assumed the responsibility for service of virtually all civil processes while managing to actively work traffic enforcement, issuing a significant number of traffic summonses and initiating several felony arrests. He is an active Drug Recognition Expert and a Firearms Instructor who, this year, was instrumental in initiating and coordinating the upgrade to our patrol rifles. He is never too busy to help out or fill in wherever needed and to mentor our many younger deputies. He routinely donates his own time for the good of this Office. As he approaches his 20th year as a Deputy Sheriff, he shows no sign of slowing down. 

Deputy Patrick J. Reeves has brought great credit upon himself and the Genesee County Sheriff's Office and most deserves to be named Officer of the Year.

This year marks the final year that Sheriff Gary Maha will present the Officer of the Year award, but it was also a day in which he was honored. He received the Distinguished Service Award:

Sheriff Gary T. Maha has distinguished himself as a member of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. Forty-nine years ago, Sheriff Maha was hired as a Deputy Sheriff and has worked his way up through the ranks to Investigator, Senior Investigator, Chief Deputy and has been the Sheriff of Genesee County for over 29 years. He has served on numerous councils, committees, and associations at the county, state and national level. Sheriff Maha has dedicated his career to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and the residents of Genesee County. As recognition of his contribution to public safety, he was awarded the Sheriff Grover Cleveland Award by the New York State Sheriffs’ Association in 2016; only the fifth Sheriff in New York to earn this award.    

Sheriff Gary T. Maha’s service over four decades reflects great credit upon himself and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

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Other awards:

Longevity awards:

  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Nathan L. Fix, 10 years
  • Part-Time Jail Cook Lynn Jakubowski, 10
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher John W. Spencer, 10
  • Deputy Sheriff Howard J. Carlson, 10
  • Systems Specialist R. William Oliver, 10
  • Community Services/Victims Counselor Rosanne M. Smart, 10
  • Sr. Correction Officer Kevin D. Wolff, 15
  • Correction Officer Philip A. Mangefrida, 15
  • Correction Officer Anthony J. Ridder, 15
  • Deputy Sheriff Cory W. Mower, 20
  • Sergeant Eric K. Seppala, 20
  • Sergeant Brian M. Frieday, 20
  • Deputy Sheriff Patrick J. Reeves, 20
  • Deputy Sheriff Brian A. Thompson, 25
  • Sergeant John L. Baiocco, 25
  • Sergeant Ronald E. Meides, 25
  • Communications Coordinator Russell L. Lang, 30
  • Senior Emergency Services Dispatcher Barbara J. Eddy, 35

Certificates of Appreciation:

  • Senior Emergency Services Dispatcher Michael T. Sheflin
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Lynn B. Riccobono
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Steven L. Robinson
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Peggy D. Richardson
  • Michael Merritt
  • Genesee Justice Financial Management Assistant Tammy M. Schmidt
  • New York State Trooper Thomas C. Shamp
  • IT Systems Specialist R. William Oliver
  • Alvi Castro

Commendations:

  • Correction Officer Kelly P. Creegan
  • Deputy Sheriff Robert C. Henning
  • Deputy Sheriff Ryan M. DeLong
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Beth A. Hynes
  • Senior Correction Officer Darrell J. Klein
  • Senior Correction Officer Kevin D. Wolff
  • Deputy Sheriff Christopher A. Parker
  • Investigator James M. Diehl
  • Deputy Sheriff Howard J. Carlson
  • Senior Correction Officer Robert W. Mattice
  • Communications Coordinator Russell L. Lang
  • Sergeant Eric K. Seppala
  • Sergeant Jason E. Saile

Meritorious Service:  

  • Senior Correction Officer Matthew R. Burgett
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Andrew K. Merkel
  • Senior Emergency Services Dispatcher Michael T. Sheflin
  • Deputy Sheriff Kevin R. McCarthy
  • Deputy Sheriff Andrew B. Hale
  • Senior Correction Officer Peter M. Hoy
  • Investigator Joseph M. Graff

October 19, 2016 - 8:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, Emergency Dispatch, batavia, news.

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Once a year, the Sheriff's Office is required to test its backup emergency dispatch center and tonight's the night for dispatchers to work out of the location at 14 W. Main St., instead of their normal home on Park Road.

The facility is configured exactly like Park Road for an easy transition from one location to the other.

The backup facility would be used if Park Road couldn't be used for some reason.

The room in the old Sheriff's Office on West Main was the dispatch center for the Sheriff's Office for decades before the Park Road office was built.

These days, emergency dispatchers handle all traffic in the county for the Sheriff's road patrols, Batavia PD, Le Roy PD, State Police and the fire departments.

Dispatchers handle somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 calls for service annually.

August 27, 2016 - 2:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, batavia, news.

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Over his 28 years in law enforcement, Kris Kautz has helped a lot of people and that's the best part of the job.

Mostly, it's about helping the victims of crime, mainly by finding the people who stole from them or harmed them or a member of their families.

But sometimes it's helping those same criminals get their lives turned around.

Now he's moving on to a job he thinks will be just as gratifying -- a security aide for Batavia City Schools.

"It’s a more laid-back position, obviously, but I’m looking forward to it, working with the kids and the school seems awesome," said Kautz, whose last day with the Sheriff's Office was Friday.

Kautz started with the department in 1988, three years after earning an associate degree in criminal justice at GCC.

"After I graduated, I realized to get those jobs, I would need to take exams," Kautz said. "That’s a good theory, I think. Do well on the exam and you should be a good candidate. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a very good test taker. I took many exams before I actually got a phone call. It was almost three full years before I got a job offer, and then, of course, I got three decent job offers within a month-and-a-half. Luckily, this job was one of them and it was really the job I was hoping for, so I accepted the position as a deputy."

Kautz was on road patrol for five years when he was promoted to investigator, the job he wanted all along.

He said he's been fortunate to stay in that position for 23 years, but now it's time to move on.

"You do reach a burnout factor," Kautz said. "I've probably reached the end of my shelf life. I'm not embarrassed to say that. I like to think I’ve done my part and it’s time to move on."

Leaving now isn't without its drawbacks. There are unsolved cases Kautz wishes were closed during his time in the investigator's office

"Those are kind of a sore spot," Kautz said. "Sometimes you know who you think did it, and you’re really close to solving it, but you just don’t have that extra piece."

Among the unsolved cases, Kautz worked are on is the Fickel murder.

"We worked long and hard on that for many, many months after that happened and unfortunately, the leads kind of started drying out and obvious we had another case load we needed to attend to," Kautz said. "It doesn’t get the attention we wish it would. We don’t have the luxury of having a quote-unquote 'homicide division' or 'burglary task force' or a 'sex crimes team.' "

Kautz leaves with cases pending, but there is a person of interest and some solid evidence that might one day hold up in court, but it will be up to other investigators to uncover the piece of evidence that wraps things up.

"We have been actively pursuing it and we’re just kind of crossing our fingers that maybe that one little piece of the puzzle we don’t have yet might show up one of these days," Kautz said.

(If you have information that might assist in the case, contact the Genesee County Sheriff's Office at (585) 343-5000.)

Much has changed over 23 years in how investigators do their jobs. There is new technology and new techniques, but the basics remain the same -- gather evidence, safeguard it, ask questions, test answers and build a case.

"I'm not saying it (new technology) has made it easier to solve cases, but it's really solidified convictions," Kautz said. "When there is a fingerprint or DNA evidence at a crime scene, you can't dispute it. You have a hard time explaining that away when you're a defendant."

Too many cases, just by the nature of things, go unsolved, but when they are solved, it's a great feeling, he said, especially when you see the satisfaction on the faces of the victims.

"It’s all about the victims because when you come home after working a hard day, working an honest job, and come home and your door is kicked in and your TV and your family heirlooms are gone, you’re furious and it's devastating," Kautz said. "That’s where the cops come in and do their best to solve it and it’s very, very, very gratifying when you do solve it for them."

And sometimes, solving a crime helps another person improve their own lives, and that's a good feeling, too, Kautz said.

"People always say this is the best job in the world and I really think that," Kautz said. "You really have a chance to make a difference for people, in people’s lives, not only making it right for the victims but also maybe contributing to the improvement of some of the defendants' lives. Maybe getting arrested can often be a positive thing in the long run for somebody. They know they screwed up. They know they’ve got problems. They know they’ve got things they need to address. Sometimes getting arrested will be that last little push they need to really get their lives straightened out."

Photo: Kris Kautz with his family, wife Susan, and daughters Kelsey, Adeline and Ella.

August 22, 2016 - 9:22am

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Country star Brad Paisley joins members of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office prior to his recent show at Darien Lake with a Badge of Honor bracelet in support of WNY's fallen members of law enforcement and their families. 

Pictured with Paisley are Sgt. Tom Sanfratello, Deputy Brad Mazur and Sgt. Greg Walker, who is the chapter president for the Badge of Honor Association.

The association provides support for families whose loved ones in law enforcement passed in the line of duty and assists officers seriously injured in the line of duty. 

The bracelets can be purchased on the association's website.

Photo courtesy the Badge of Honor Association.

July 26, 2016 - 3:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in Sheriff's Office, crime, news, ATV thefts.

Press release:

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office is currently investigating the thefts of several all-terrain vehicles.

At least 10 four-wheel ATVs and one Kubota side-by-side full cab have been reported stolen.

These vehicles inlcude two child-sized models as well.

The ATVs have been moved with and without the key. The thefts have occurred throughout most of Genesee County within the past month.

The Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's assistance in reporting any suspicious activity or individuals involved in the larcenies.

Anyone with information is requested to contact the Genesee County Sheriff's office at (585) 343-5000. Information provided may remain confidential.

May 20, 2016 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, law enforcement, pembroke, news.

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When GS-39 called in "out of service" at 3 p.m. today, the dispatcher thanked him for his 30 years of service to the people of Genesee County.

Sgt. Jim Meier said during an interview that morning that there is a bit of sadness that comes with drawing the curtain on his career in law enforcement. He's enjoyed the work and the people he worked with.

"I knew the day was coming sooner or later, but it's been 30 years and I feel like it was just yesterday when I started," Meier said. "I really do."

Meier began his career at the Sheriff's Office in 1986, working the jail for a year before moving into patrol work, after earning his degree in criminal justice from Genesee Community College.

He's a graduate of Pembroke High School.

"I don't know if there is anything specific (that inspired the career choice)," he said. "I looked at things I thought I was good at and went into criminal justice and I found it interesting and it just kind of progressed from there."

He never found the job particularly hard, he said.

"I mean, there are some things that we do, like when we're at the death of family members, it can be a bit taxing, but I never found anything difficult," he said. "It all came pretty naturally."

Asked for a key memory from 30 years with the Sherriff's Office, the first thing that came to mind was the passenger train derailment in Batavia in 1994.

"I think I was a week out of supervisor school and I can remember it like it was yesterday," Meier said. "It's amazing that nobody died in that derailment, but it was the most eerie thing in the world when you go to the scene and you don't know what to expect and all of the sudden you see the twisted metal all over the place. It was unbelievable."

There are a lot of young guys in local law enforcement now, and Meier encourages them to stick with it, even when the hours are long and the sacrifices pile up. It's worth it, he said.

"The advice I give all the young guys is this, when you start this job, you have to come in and do it with eyes wide open, meaning you're going to have to work midnights, you're going to have to work holidays, you're going to have to work weekends," Meier said. "You're going to have to sacrifice some things you may not want to sacrifice, but there's a lot of good things that you get from making those sacrifices."

April 25, 2016 - 11:42am
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, Sheriff's Office.

Upon completion of the Basic Civil School, Deputy Patrick Reeves (center) from Genesee County receives his certificate from Albany County Undersheriff William Cox (left) and Sheriffs’ Institute Executive Director Chris O’Brien (right).

Submitted photo and press release:

The New York State Sheriffs' Association Institute held a week‐long Basic School for deputy sheriffs and civilian staff of Sheriffs' civil divisions last week at the Albany County Courthouse in Albany. Deputies and other staff from Sheriffs' offices around the State attended the program, including Deputy Patrick Reeves from Genesee County.

Sponsored and organized by the Sheriffs’ Institute, the five‐day program provides participants with training in the latest advances in civil law enforcement and a forum to discuss current civil law enforcement issues and share best practices. All sheriffs have civil law enforcement functions, which include the service of process and enforcement of judgments and other court orders and mandates.

The school is required for counties seeking to earn accreditation of its civil office from the New York State Sheriffs’ Association. The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office Civil Bureau is accredited.

The New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute, Inc., established in 1979, provides the only statewide training program for civil deputies. The training is provided without charge to any civil personnel nominated for the school by a sheriff. Visit www.nysheriffsinstitute.org.

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