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Q & A with the chief

— That people in the community really do support law enforcement, but it’s our duty as police officers to initially reach out to the community. I believe the community wants it, but it’s up to us to step out and engage them. And once you do that, you get true support from them. Whether it’s being appreciative of the way we handle a call, or offering us some information as a crime tip, or giving us feedback on what they would like to see from law enforcement in the community. There isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t get either a card, letter, phone message or email from somebody who’s letting me know about the positive and professional way that the police officer dealt with them.

It sounds like a very rewarding job.

Absolutely. And that’s why, after 37 years of being a police officer, I still love going to work every single day and if I can have the opportunity to share this enthusiasm and passion with a larger group of police officers, which is what the sheriff’s department would be, that’s what I’d like to do.

Why run for sheriff now? I know you’ve mentioned that you’ve been thinking about it for a while.

Yes, I’ve been thinking about it for 12 years. Out of the respect for Sheriff Walsh, who’s had the office, I didn’t want to challenge him through those years. But I finally decided that for me, the timing was right, and also, I understood that he may be retiring, so the timing was perfect.

I know that Chief John Balloni is also hoping to run as the Republican candidate. Will there be a primary?

Anyone who wishes to be the Republican candidate has to make their case before the Republican committee. Those committees are broken up by town and include the city of Syracuse. Each candidate will go before these committees and make their case for being the most qualified candidate, and eventually the committees will vote on who they think should receive their endorsement. If there is more than one candidate, the ones who don’t receive the endorsement have the opportunity to challenge that endorsement in a primary.

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