Undersheriff says dispatcher isn’t qualified to be next sheriff

Posted 19 May 2015 at 12:00 am


Campaign rhetoric can best be described as “that which is intended to persuade or motivate an individual to vote for a particular person or proposition.”

A prime example of this can be found in the article posted on the Orleans Hub on May 13. (Click here to see “Randy Bower stays in race to be next sheriff.”)

I’ve known Randy Bower for several years. He’s a nice guy and he’s a very capable and qualified Public Safety Dispatcher. However, he is not qualified to be the Sheriff of Orleans County.

There are 58 Sheriffs in New York State. One is a retired Army Brigadier General. Another was a Town Justice for 20 years before being elected Sheriff. The other 56 came up through the ranks in the agency they now serve or with another law enforcement agency. None went directly from civilian dispatcher to “Top Cop.” That’s not a fluke, it’s just fact.

Several states across our country have adopted minimum standards for persons to hold the office of sheriff. Unfortunately, New York is not one of them.

The New York State Sheriffs’ Association has proposed minimum standards as well, however attempts to have them legislated into law have been futile. In today’s law enforcement and correctional environment, there can be no substitute for experience and expertise.

My father used to say that “the only job you start out at the top at is digging a hole.” I’m sure he got that from another source, but the point is the same and that’s the bottom line!

Steve Smith
Undersheriff of Orleans County