Experience in law enforcement can only be an asset for next sheriff

Posted 1 November 2015 at 12:00 am


Let me start by saying that I don’t live in Orleans County. However, I have many family and friends that still do live there so I have a right to care about this sheriff’s race.

I’d just like to shed some light on some skewed information presented by people supporting Randy Bower.

In a recent letter to the Orleans Hub, writer Margo Passerell compared candidate Randy Bower’s lack of experience to retired Sheriff Dave Green and the late great former Monroe County Sheriff Andrew Meloni.

For the record, Sheriff Green was the Orleans County Coordinator of Civil Defense, Natural Disaster and Fire Investigation prior to being elected. He has also been quoted as saying Tom Drennan is the right man for the job and fully supports Drennan as the next sheriff. Comparing Bower to Green makes no sense. Not even Sheriff Green thinks Bower is the right choice.

Furthermore, Randy Bower cannot hold a candle to the Honorable Andrew Meloni, God rest his soul. Ms. Passerell said Sheriff Meloni was a part time clerk for the Sheriff’s Office before being elected Sheriff. That’s true, but it’s only part of the story.

He also served his country in the United States Army, served as Monroe County Undersheriff from 1968-1974, was named Monroe County Public Safety Administrator until 1977, and was the Director of Public Safety and Traffic at the University of Rochester. Sheriff Meloni also earned a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice from Empire State College in 1977. (Information courtesy of the Democrat and Chronicle)

He was THEN elected Sheriff in 1979. To say that Sheriff Meloni had no experience is shameful and disrespectful to the man and his family.

Also, according to another Bower enthusiast, Republican voters have no choice but to vote for Randy Bower because he is the Republican candidate. In a letter to the Orleans Hub, David Wells of Medina wrote that it is “blatant disloyalty to their party,” if any registered Republican supports a different candidate. He goes on to say that you should not be displaying any signage other than a Bower sign if you are a registered Republican.

Residents do not deserve to be bullied, or told what they can or can’t do. Voters are human first, and party affiliated second. They are allowed to cast their ballot of their own free will. Regardless of what your party says, you can still vote for whomever you feel is the right choice.

Bower supporters are adamant that Republicans vote the party line without doing research. Is that why Randy Bower was so excited the night he won the primary? Did he feel that voters would just flock like sheep, vote Republican and ensure him a win in November? I don’t know the answer to that, but it makes sense now that we see what Mr. Wells is ordering voters to do.

The Orleans County Republican Committee didn’t even consider Randy Bower as their candidate from the beginning. Why is that? Is it because they feel experience matters? Maybe. Is it because they have worked with an elected Bower in the past and didn’t care to do so again? Maybe. The fact remains, people can vote for whom they want, and shouldn’t be pressured to do otherwise.

Mr. Wells continues in his letter to cite the “New York State Sheriff’s Association” and the “New York State Corrections” unions support Randy Bower, and that both are “state wide law enforcement organizations.”

Again, this is only partially true. The New York State Sheriff’s Association does not support Randy Bower for Sheriff. It is a not for profit organization comprised of all sheriffs of New York State. It isn’t a union.

Mr. Wells should have said the “New York State Deputy’s Association,” which is the local union representing the Road Patrol Deputies in Orleans County. The same goes for the “New York State Corrections” union. It’s actually the Orleans County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, which represents the Jailors in Orleans County. Neither is a statewide endorsement.

The Bower campaign fiercely defends the fact that experience is not necessary to become the sheriff. When there is no experience to speak of, I guess it’s worth defending. But wouldn’t it be nice if the elected sheriff did have experience, I can’t imagine how that could be seen as anything but positive.

Voters have an important decision to make on Tuesday. I just hope they do themselves a favor and really consider what they’ll get with each candidate.

Tom Drennan will not skew the truth or bully people to vote for him. Experience does and should matter. The real New York State Sheriff’s Association thinks so, and so do we.

My family has done its research, and fully supports Chief Deputy Tom Drennan for Orleans County Sheriff.


Todd Smith
Formerly of Holley
Proud Son of current Undersheriff Steven D. Smith