Bower asks Republicans to unite behind his candidacy for sheriff

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 October 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Randy Bower speaks during the Republican fall rally on Saturday night at the Ridgeway fire hall. Bower won the Republican Primary on Sept. 10.

RIDGEWAY – Randy Bower, the Republican candidate for Orleans County sheriff, addresses 250 people on Saturday night during the Republican fall rally at Ridgeway fire hall.

Bower discussed some of the goals he has for the Sheriff’s Office, including a drug treatment program in the county jail, and stepped up sheriff’s patrols for Kendall and Lyndonville schools and rural businesses.

“It’s the people of Orleans County that we work for,” Bower told the Republican crowd.

He also wants a deputy assigned to help with animal control calls, and Orleans County dispatchers to have access to video links inside the schools. (School superintendents would be notified if the Sheriff’s Office was using those video links, Bower said.) The access to see what’s happening in the schools could speed up a law enforcement response in an emergency or crisis.

The jail is the largest division of the Sheriff’s Office with 30 corrections officers, two cooks and a jail superintendent. The jail can peak with 80 inmates inside the facility on Platt Street in Albion. Many of the inmates have drug problems, which often fuels their other crimes, Bower said.

Providing the inmates with treatment will make them less likely to commit more crimes when they get out of jail, and also will help them to regain control of their lives, Bower said.

Bower, a dispatcher for the county for nearly 30 years, said he would push the state for funding of the drug treatment program. He believes state officials could be convinced to make Orleans County a pilot program for such an effort.

He said he would push for local, state and federal dollars to ensure the Sheriff’s Office has the personnel and equipment to do serve the public in Orleans County.

Bower pushed for the Republican endorsement last spring, but committee members in a close vote picked Tom Drennan, the chief deputy, as the Republican candidate for sheriff.

Bower forced a primary, and has campaigned with Chris Bourke, a lieutenant in the Sheriff’s Office, as Bower’s undersheriff choice if Bower is elected. Many of the deputies also are backing Bower, and have been visible wearing red shirts for Bower during community parades and other events. (Many Bower supporters also cheered and applauded loudly while he went through some of his goals for the Sheriff’s Office on Saturday night.)

Drennan lost the primary by 21 votes, 1,671 to 1,650. He is staying in the race under the Independence and Reform lines.

Bower, in addition to the Republican line, has been endorsed by the Conservative Party.

The Nov. 3 election includes a third candidate: retired Medina police investigator Don Organisciak, who is running as a Democrat.

Bower urged Republicans to unite behind his candidacy and keep the Sheriff’s Office under the leadership of a Republican.

Bower addressed the group from a stage in the firehall. Two high school students lifted him to the stage in his wheelchair. Bower has been paralyzed from the waist down since a car accident when he was 18.

“This wheelchair is just a perception,” he told the Republican crowd. “I can do anything I want.”

Bower, in a previous interview, said he lives a blessed life with his wife Robin and their two grown children: Jessica and Jacob. In addition to working as a dispatcher, he has been a member of the Sheriff’s Department’s Off-Road Patrol from 1992-1998, riding all-terrain vehicles to help locate missing persons, stolen property and respond to other situations.

Bower wants to be sheriff because he said he has the leadership skills, vision and communication skills to run the department and serve the public.