Deputies to challenge Walsh

Three deputies mull race against Onondaga County's incumbent sheriff

Three Onondaga County deputies are considering running for sheriff this year. Incumbent Sheriff Kevin Walsh, a Republican, was first elected in 1994 and is now in the final year of his forth term.

The last time Walsh ran for re-election was 2006 when he received nominal opposition from the Democratic candidate, Deputy Joe Price, who's assigned to the Corbett Justice Center jail office. Despite suffering a crushing defeat at the polls four years ago, Price may throw his hat into the ring again.

If he does, he'll likely face a Democratic Party primary battle from Sgt. Tobias "Toby" Shelley, who's also a deputy fire marshal in the 174th Fighter Wing of the New York Air National Guard and a veteran of the war in Iraq.

"I sure hope Joe decides not to run again," Shelley said, "because a primary just causes a headache for the party."

Meanwhile, Walsh himself may have to wage a primary campaign.

Onondaga County Deputy Sheriff's Police Benevolent Association President Edward Bragg is considering challenging his boss in a Republican primary. Bragg, who works as a plain clothes detective for the Sheriff's Office, was awarded a medal of distinction in 2008.

Like Bragg, Democrats Shelley and Price are also members of the deputies' union.

Both major parties are expected to make their official nominations by late-May, and primaries -- if necessary -- would be decided in September.

In 2006, Price promised that, if elected, he'd "bring back integrity" to the position of sheriff.

Walsh first joined the Sheriff's Department in 1966 and rose to the rank of captain before retiring in 1986. He was director of public safety with SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and also served as an Onondaga County legislator from 1990 to 1995 and chaired the Legislature's Public Safety Committee before being elected sheriff in 1994.

The Onondaga County Sheriff's Office employs about 650 men and women who serve a population of 453,000 and an area of 827 square miles.

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