There was a "good turnout" at the Oct. 15 forum at the Kallet Civic Center, according to the League of Women Voters of the Greater Oneida Area. Community members gathered to hear standpoints from candidates that are running for the following positions: Madison County sheriff, Madison County clerk and Oneida Common Council.
The position of sheriff has become one of the key races in the county after former Madison County Sheriff Ronald I. Cary resigned in September after 18 years of service.
Republican candidate Canastota Police Chief Jim Zophy announced his candidacy Sept. 24 after the Madison County Republican Committee named his as their candidate. The day before, sheriff candidate and Lebanon resident Allen Riley was named the Democratic candidate.
Zophy is a resident of Morrisville and Riley is a former New York State Trooper, who recently received an endorsement from the Teamsters Union.
Both candidates gave forum attendants a summation on what they would like to bring to the county if elected as sheriff. Riley started off with his thoughts on accountability and professionalism. Riley said he would like to see a stronger presence of "community policing," as well. In a previous interview with the Madison County Eagle Riley said he would like to see community members become comfortable with the sheriff's deputies to a point that they can call and let them know if there is something criminal going on in their town or village, without hesitation. "A lot of crimes can be solved by talking to people," Riley said.
Zophy said he would like to see a stronger enforcement of sex offender registration and community notification throughout the county. The DARE program is also something that Zophy said he would like to see consistently implemented in school throughout the county.
"I want to maintain safe schools and increase education on drug awareness," Zophy said in a previous interview with the Madison County Eagle. "I would like to see schools split costs for programs, or we can make due with current funding and do our best to make the knowledge available."