Erie County Holding Center
The holding center is supposed to be a place where criminal suspects go before they stand trial, not where they lose their lives even before they’ve been sentenced. The pattern of deaths in the Holding Center is appalling. The conditions in the Holding Center are unacceptable. They are a growing stain on our county’s reputation. I will fix it. A detailed plan will be issued during the campaign. It will have these elements:
- Greater accountability and transparency for what happens in the Holding Center.
- Modern training for deputies assigned to transport, register, and guard prisoners.
- Improved mental health resources for handling prisoners who suffer from mental illness.
Rising Street Violence
The murder rate is rising not just in Buffalo. The violence is spilling out across the city line. As Sheriff, I will work to increase the department’s existing collaboration with law enforcement agencies across the county. Where necessary and practical, I will look to create new interagency efforts. I led cross-agency teams when I was at the FBI; I can do it as Sheriff. We have great local police in Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Amherst, and the surrounding towns. I tip my hat to those brave and capable officers. But they need back up. The Sheriff’s Department can provide it and I know how.
Heroin and Opioid Epidemic
On a national basis, the death rate from opioids is greater than the murder rate. The problem is here in Erie County, too. From Newstead to Evans, lives are being ruined and lost. Families are being destroyed. We can beat this problem two ways: arrest the dealers; get help for the addicts. We can tackle this problem. I know how to do it.
My Philosophy on Law Enforcement
Support law enforcement officers. Whether they are traffic cops, transit guards, police on patrol, or sheriff’s deputies — they deserve our respect, our support, and our thanks. They do the hard work to keep us safe, and often they put their lives on the line for all of us. Sheriff’s deputies, officers in other forces and departments, and the people of Erie County should know that I will stand behind our law enforcement personnel.
Collaborate, don’t go it alone. You get better results when you work together with other agencies, other branches of government, and other experts. Don’t think you have all the answers. Don’t take on a bunker mentality.
Compassion is not a dirty word in law enforcement. Remember that the person you are arresting is somebody’s son or daughter, or somebody’s mom or dad. Never forget the human aspect of the work you do. And never forget the victims of crime. We are here to defend them and help them get justice.
Finally, and most important, enforce the law. You don’t have to like it. You can disagree with it. And you can work within the system to change it. But do your job first. As Sheriff, I will enforce the law, even if I don’t like it.