CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY – Incumbent Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace (D) appeared on WNYNewsNow’s daily show ‘NewsNow @Noon’ Friday to discuss his campaign and issues law enforcement face in the county.
Our team asked Gerace about the upcoming Conservative Primary next Thursday. In year’s past the sheriff has been endorsed by the party, but this year his opponent Jim Quattrone is also vying for the endorsement.
“This is the first time I’ve run in a primary, previously I’ve (been) endorsed by the conservatives five different times,” said Gerace. “This year they chose to give both candidates the opportunity to ballet, so we will have a mini election on the 13th next Thursday.”
WNYNewsNow will provide updates during primary night next Thursday.
Earlier in the week Quattrone told us collaboration is key, Gerace rebutted Friday saying that his agency is already working with others.
“We do a lot of things together, the forensic identification team, we have a county wide S.W.A.T. team, we have information sharing, we are all on one information platform, meaning our records management, our computerated dispatch, and I continue to look for places to share services wide open to any we haven’t thought of. Absolutely we are better as a team than working individually.”
The sheriff also explained that his deputies undergo a lot of training in the academy.
“We have a tremendous training academy, one of a kind in the state of New York. One that’s been replicated and been attempted to be replicated which is the highest form of flattery. So deputies receive much more training than required to by the state of New York, and what I’ve done is imbeted the EMT training into the academy in order (to) produce more EMT’s because I’m in the belief that we can make a difference in peoples lives and we have been.”
Gerace said his EMT program has been a huge success thus far.
“I’ve got now over 20 full-time deputies who are EMT’s myself included, lead by example, and nine part-timers. Our intent is to improve public safety, and I’ve done that and we’ll continue to grow that program. I’ve also made other improvements to our 911 system, first in the state of New York to implement something called smart 911 and many other things I’ve been able to do.”
The lawman said his ultimate goal is to make the county as safe as possible.
“We aren’t always going to be right there, but there are occasions where we might be and if we’re not the first EMT there we absolutely can be of assistance and make a difference in peoples lives. With all the requirements to be an EMT and all the reduction of volunteerism.”
The county’s top cop also implemented a new radio system, and adding new substations at schools around the county.
“We were able to obtain a significant grant to build a new public safety radio system for Chautauqua County,” said Gerace. “School safety is the forefront of all of our minds.”
For more with the Sheriff watch the full interview in the video above.