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November 1, 2020 - 2:12pm

Five questions with William Sheron and David Krzemien, candidates for Genesee County Sheriff

posted by Howard B. Owens in William Sheron, David Krzemien, Sheriff's Office, news.

William Sheron

Why are you the best choice for Sheriff?
I am the best-qualified candidate for Sheriff of Genesee County. My vast law enforcement experience spans 43 years with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. I began my career at the age of 18 as a 9-1-1 Dispatcher and advanced through the ranks of Jail Deputy, Road Patrol Deputy, Road Patrol Sergeant, Investigator Genesee County Drug Task Force, Chief Deputy Road Patrol, Undersheriff for 21 years, and Sheriff the past four years. In addition, I was honored to have been selected to attend and graduate from the prestigious FBI National Law Enforcement Academy in Quantico, Va.  

This experience and training provide me with a complete understanding of the demanding administrative responsibilities associated with the position of Sheriff. In this position, I have oversight of multiple divisions and personnel of the Sheriff’s Office which include Road Patrol, Criminal Investigation Division, 9-1-1 Emergency Services Dispatch Center, County Jail, Civil Bureau, Genesee Justice, Justice for Children Advocacy Center, Court Security, and Animal Control. I also serve as an active member with local and New York State agencies and committees working with officials on numerous matters to ensure compliance with local, state, and federal requirements. Administrative duties also include the management of a nearly $15 million Sheriff’s Office budget.

The position of Sheriff is demanding and serves as the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in the county. It requires transparency to create accountability and build trust. For that reason, I released my entire, unredacted personnel file to the public to provide confidence in my honest work ethic and as evidence of my exemplary professional career.  

If elected, what reform or changes would you undertake during your term?
We have made great strides in my term as Sheriff and I will continue my work to keep the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office services at the level the county deserves. This requires continual training, accountability and transparency.

I will collaborate with County officials and the citizens of Genesee County to meet the requirements of NYS Governor’s Executive Order 203 (Reinventing Policing). Open and honest dialogue with members of our community is extremely important to develop best practices in policing. I welcome constructive feedback and encourage input to identify ways to improve our strategies.

I will continue to work with the Genesee County Legislature and the NYS Commission of Corrections on the construction of a new jail that meets our needs in the most economical way feasible.

I will continue efforts to push our state officials and Governor to repeal bail reform and provide judges the ability to confine dangerous criminals that jeopardize the safety of our citizens.

I will further my work with mental health officials and the specially trained officers of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) to expand and offer Mobile Intervention Team (MIT) services to assist individuals with mental health illness on the scene during their times of crisis.

Substance abuse is one of the leading underlying factors of incarcerated individuals. We are working on an inmate reentry program for individuals that suffer from addiction. These programs are designed to assist incarcerated individuals with a successful transition to their community after they are released. Improving reentry is a critical component to reducing drug use and its consequences.

Domestic violence continues to plague our society. I will hold abusers responsible for their actions while providing specialized officer training, and access to support for domestic violence victims.

Nationally, law enforcement conduct has been under scrutiny for several years. In reviewing the in-custody deaths that have sparked controversy and protest, which of them do you believe are potentially examples of police misconduct, and which of them do you think the police conduct might be justified?
Based solely on information reported through the media, it appears that the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minnesota represents an example of excessive force and police misconduct. Conversely, in the recent incident in Philadelphia in the death of Walter Wallace Jr., again, based solely on reported media, it would appear that the amount of force used was justified.

I would like to emphasize that before any final determinations can be made regarding any such incident, the entire evidence and factual information needs to be presented through our judicial system.  

You attended the March for Justice in Batavia over the summer. Some of your deputies have been critical of your attendance. Why did you think it important to attend this event?
As Sheriff of Genesee County, I represent ALL the citizens of our county. I welcomed the opportunity to listen to the concerns presented by individuals regarding policing and changes that may be needed. I believe that open exchange and discussions between citizens and law enforcement officials are critical to maintaining a free and fair society. It is an ever-changing world, we all have to be willing to make changes needed to live peacefully and productively.

What three books first published in English since the Enlightenment has informed you, influenced you or inspired you?
While books are certainly informative, I personally find relationships to be the most influential.

I am extremely fortunate to have worked with numerous dedicated, professional law enforcement officers throughout my career. I have learned a great deal from these officers and their guidance has influenced me tremendously. Through these relationships and experiences, I’ve learned that serving in law enforcement demands courage, knowledge, and integrity.

I am inspired to provide the citizens of Genesee County with a safe environment in which to live, work, and raise their families. I receive letters, phone calls, and emails of appreciation from county residents that remind me of this purpose, and affirm the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office is doing great work.

I’m proud to serve as Sheriff for the citizens of Genesee County. I am influenced and inspired most by the dedicated men and women of the Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement and emergency service agencies who consistently go above and beyond to keep Genesee County safe.

David Krzemien

Why are you the best choice for Sheriff?
I am the best choice for Sheriff because I have passion, leadership and drive. I plan on being present and active in the county and within the Sheriff’s Office. I want to learn the inner workings of the Sheriff’s Office to make improvements and unite all employees, this includes road deputies, jail staff and dispatchers. Not only am I looking to create a better work environment for the employees of the Sheriff’s Office, but I am also looking to improve the community as a whole. I want safe and secure communities where people can be proud to raise their families. I want to close the gap between law enforcement and the community, we need to be open and honest with each other so that we can create safer communities.

If elected, what reform or changes would you undertake during your term?
If elected I plan to implement the following:

  • Front Desk Position: I want the front desk manned for the majority of the day by a public servant to take walk-in complaints. We need to be available to the public when they need our assistance and this position will help ensure those voices are heard.
  • Task Force: I want to create a team of members of the Sheriff’s Office and social work professionals in the county. This task force will respond to and follow up on domestic violence or mental health-related incidents. This team will offer support to both the victim and the aggressor to ensure each side is receiving the proper support/help they need.
  • Annual Review Panel: Internally for our annual review, I would like to create a panel to rate the employees of the Sheriff’s Office. The panel will be made up of supervision and mentors to ensure that road deputies, jail staff and dispatchers are given the proper guidance to advance their careers.
  • Use of Force Follow-up: Any time an officer has to use force in the field I want a review of the incident done shortly thereafter. By reviewing the incident we are able to learn from these scenarios, teach others, and take practical steps to ensure the safety of all moving forward.
  • Connecting to the Community: I want to hear the concerns and comments our citizens have regarding law enforcement. To open up lines of communication between the public and law enforcement will aid in understanding the expectations that each side has of the other. Communicating and connecting with the community will bridge the gap between law enforcement and the public so we can work together to fight crime and create safer communities.

Nationally, law enforcement conduct has been under scrutiny for several years. In reviewing the in-custody deaths that have sparked controversy and protest, which of them do you believe are potentially examples of police misconduct, and which of them do you think the police conduct might be justified?
To be very frank, we do not have all the facts regarding the cases that have most recently sparked controversy. I am in no position to judge what happened based on secondhand knowledge or what the media is saying. No police officer goes to work with the intent to endanger the lives of another person. Most law enforcement agencies have been looking for ways to improve or change the way they police, all of this reform may actually help that come to fruition. We need to be forward-thinking when it comes to policing and how officers are being trained as opposed to how they were trained even 10 years ago. Officer safety is just as important as the safety of the citizens, we need to work together to bring change to our communities.

You did not attend the March for Justice in Batavia over the summer. Why not? If elected and a similar event were held in Batavia again, would you attend?
I did not attend the March for Justice out of respect for those peacefully protesting. I did not want people to think I was using the event for political gain/attention. People have a right to peacefully protest and if I were to have attended I believe I would’ve detracted from the people’s message. If a similar event were held while I was Sheriff, I would attend the event to ensure everyone’s safety. I would ensure all attendees were peaceful, and if there was a threat to that peace I would take action to protect the voice of the peaceful protesters.

What three books first published in English since the Enlightenment has informed you, influenced you or inspired you?
I’ve read "Effective Police Leadership" by Thomas Baker and used the text as a source of inspiration. I enjoy reading about leadership to learn new ways to be an effective and respected leader. I also read "Capital Gaines" by Chip Gaines and was inspired by the way the author Chip followed his dreams. He had the drive and passion to overcome obstacles to become a successful entrepreneur and leader of his family. Because of his experience, he is able to lead others to be just as successful. The most recent reading I’ve done is of the NYS Penal Law and the NYS Criminal Procedures Law, specifically article 245 regarding bail reform and discovery. Being up to date on the expectations of law enforcement with regard to criminal prosecution is vital to the Sheriff’s Office. To be the best leader I can be I need to know what is necessary for prosecution and be able to educate the deputies on how to best do their job in the field to result in a favorable outcome within the court system.

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