Bower says many campaign goals have been met at Sheriff’s Office

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 August 2016 at 2:41 pm
Randy Bower

Photo by Tom Rivers – Sheriff Randy Bower talks with deputies and members of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office last week when Jim DeFilipps was recognized at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds as NY Deputy of the Year.

ALBION – Sheriff Randy Bower was elected last November with some bold initiatives, including drug treatment services for inmates in the County Jail.

Bower said the Sheriff’s Office has met many of his goals in his six months of office, including a new Sheriffs Transition Addiction Management Program (STAMP), which provides inmates with drug and mental health counseling. Inmates approved for the program also receive Vivitrol, a drug that helps block opiate cravings.

Bower went over some of the highlights of his first six months in office in a report last week to the Orleans County Legislature.

• The Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division K9 Unit to have a drug-sniffing dog come through the jail to search for drugs. Bower said it has made the jail safer and been a deterrent for people trying to smuggle in contraband.

• In the first months of the year, deputies have made 526 traffic stops, served 501 papers, responded to 317 motor vehicle accidents and 167 alarms, executed 57 warrants, and responded to 18 assaults, 45 burglaries, 106 larcenies, 116 calls for harassment or aggravated harassment, and 61 overdoses or psychiatric calls.

• The Sheriff’s Office has pushed to bring a “STOP DWI” traveling display to local school districts. The display includes victim statements, personal items from crashes, newspaper clippings and aftermath accounts.

Michael Mele and Sue Cory

Provided photo – Chief Deputy Michael Mele and Holley Principal Sue Cory are pictured with the STOP DWI “Courage to Serve” traveling display at the Holley school in April.

• The Sheriff’s Office has collected more than 1,000 pounds of prescription narcotics during drug take-back days. There is a drug take-back bin in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office and Bower said he wants drug take-back collections sites to also be available at the Albion, Holley and Medina police departments.

• The Sheriff’s Office has boosted participation in community events, including DWI crash simulations at local school districts during prom and graduation season.

• The Orleans County Marine Division added patrols along the Erie Canal, using an $8,000 state grant. The Marine Division also patrols 24 miles of Lake Ontario shoreline and Lake Alice.

• On June 15, the Sheriff’s Office and County Highway Department erected a roadside sign on Gaines Basin Road in memory of Deputy David Whittier, who was struck by a drunk driver on the road. He died on Sept. 8, 1989. Bower said Whittier is believed to be the only Orleans County deputy to die in the line of duty.

Sign for Deputy David Whittier

Photo by Tom Rivers – This sign was installed on Gaines Basin Road, about a quarter mile south of Route 104. The marker is a memorial for Deputy David Whittier, who was fatally injured here in 1989.

• The Sheriff’s Office added a part-time animal control officer, Ariel Strickland, to help with a high call volume, Bower said. Starting June 1, the county assumed animal control duties in the Village of Medina.

• Bower, in his campaign for sheriff, wanted public safety dispatchers to have access to school cameras in case of an emergency inside schools. Medina has partnered with dispatch to allow access to its cameras, and Bower said he is working to have all school districts in agreement by the start of the new school year.

“The men and woman of the Sheriff’s Department have really stepped it up,” Bower told county legislators in highlighting the initiatives.

The sheriff has other goals including establishment of a K9 service to be led by Deputy Jeff Cole. Bower also said he is pursuing grant funding for a bomb-sniffing dog.

Bower has also reached out to the faith community and has about a dozen chaplains, from a diversity of faiths and denominations, available to assist staff on calls.

“A lot has happened and we’re excited about some of the new programs being developed,” said David Callard, Legislature chairman.