Sobieraski announces campaign for sheriff, vowing ‘to make this county safer than ever’
Kent resident says he would attack opioid epidemic with law enforcement, treatment
HOLLEY – A candidate for Orleans County Sheriff, with a 30-year law enforcement career, says he has the diverse and bold leadership “to make this county safer than ever.”
Brett Sobieraski, 52, of Kent was joined by about 50 people in 20-degree weather this morning in announcing his campaign for sheriff at Holley’s Public Square.
Sobieraski, a sergeant with the Rochester Police Department, said he would lead a Sheriff’s Office that would be better connected with village police departments in the county, as well as the Border Patrol and State Police.
Sobieraski is challenging Randy Bower, who is seeking a second term as sheriff. Sobieraski said Orleans County residents have a choice in the election.
“They can have a politician run that office or they can have a skilled, competent, experienced diverse leader at the top roll that can provide leadership that this county hasn’t seen for years,” Sobieraski said during his campaign announcement. “That is my pledge. Every decision I make will be rooted in one thing: what is the best thing for Orleans County residents to make this county safer.”
He started his career in Lockport and worked there for four years. He grew up in Lockport, where his late father John was a detective. His uncle also worked for the Lockport PD and Sobieraski’s cousin is a police officer for Lockport.
Sobieraski went to the Lockport Police Department about 26 years ago. He has lived in Orleans County for more than two decades. His sons graduated from Kendall Central School.
Sobieraski said the opioid epidemic is a powerful scourge in Orleans County, more so per capita than many other counties. Last year 10 people died of overdoses and another 45 had overdoses in Orleans. There were also 16 from Orleans who overdosed in Monroe.
In 2017, there were eight fatal overdoses in Orleans.
“We will push back the opioid epidemic,” he said. “This is the largest public crisis we’ll see.”
Sobieraski is a supervisor with the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team, which includes officers from several law enforcement agencies in Monroe County. Sobieraski in that role also works with the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force and other local agencies, sharing information and assisting with searches and arrests.
He picked Holley for his campaign announcement because Sobieraski said Holley has been a destination for Rochester drug dealers to bring heroin and other narcotics. Sobieraski said stepped up law enforcement, including more vehicle and traffic stops on the gateways to the county – routes 31, 31A, 104 and 98 – would put drug dealers on notice and reduce some of the drug flow into the county.
He wants a better working relationship among all of the law enforcement agencies in the county, so they are sharing training and information. He also wants more resources for the Orleans County Major Felony Crime task Force, which has three full-time officers and works out of the District Attorney’s Office.
“I understand we’re not going to arrest our way out of this,” he said.
He has been a board member the past 17 years for Huther Doyle, which provides alcohol and drug addiction services in Rochester. The organization has a $6 million budget and 70 employees.
He said many people who overdose in Orleans County will often overdose again not long after. He wants to make mental hygiene arrests when people overdose and survive, so they can immediately receive drug treatment services, even at a hospital. He would also have peer counselors help people with addictions.
Sobieraski said the current law enforcement agencies are fragmented and need to work together more. He wants monthly meetings with the sheriff, police chiefs, and leaders of the State Police and Border Patrol in the area.
“I will re-establish the bridges that have been burnt with the regional law enforcement agencies,” he said. “We all benefit from a comprehensive, collaborative approach to law enforcement in Orleans County. “I will be a unifying figure. I won’t be a polarizing one.”
Sobieraski has extensive experience training officers in drug identification and awareness, active shooter, narcotics, stress awareness and other issues.
“I guarantee that Orleans County will be the most professional, best-trained deputies in the state,” he said.
Several local law enforcement officers attended Sobieraski’s announcement. Joe Sacco, supervising investigator with the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force, said Sobieraski has been a great resource for the local Task Force through the years.
“He’s exactly what we need,” Sacco said. “We need to work together in law enforcement and that;s not happening right now.”
Sacco said Sobieraski has assisted the Task Force with hundreds of searches and arrests in the Rochester area.
“He’s always been there for Orleans County,” Sacco said.
Corey Black, an investigator with the Task Force, has worked with Sobieraski for about 20 years.
“He’s always been very helpful to us and accommodating,” Black said. “He’s been a huge asset for us, helping us to identify drug suppliers from Rochester coming into Orleans County.”
Black said Sobieraski also has proven he cares about people, serving as a youth wrestling coach in Kendall and raising about $50,000 for charities through endurance feats, including swimming across Lake Ontario and running 50 hours straight.
“He’s very passionate,” Black said. “He’s a genuine good person.”
Roland Nenni, police chief for Albion and Holley, said he has worked with Sobieraski for many years and would welcome a county-wide training program for law enforcement and regular discussions among the agency leaders.
“I’ve known Brett for many years and he is a great man,” Nenni said. “He is probably one of the most experienced law enforcement officers I know.”