ROMULUS — During a time when many things have been delayed or altered by COVID-19, the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office annual report — encompassing 2019 — was no exception.
“COVID put us behind on a lot of projects,” Undersheriff John Cleere said. “Reading over the 2019 report made me realize how profound the changes have been in 2020. It was definitely a happier year.”
In the report, which can be seen at sheriff.co.seneca.ny.us (under the Administration link), Sheriff Tim Luce said a focus area was the county jail at the law enforcement center on Route 96.
“2019 was a year in which we strived to make the correctional facility a safer place,” Luce said.
That included non-lethal force options, including training with Tasers. Luce also started a body camera program at the jail, as well as what he called unmatched rehabilitative inmate programs.
Luce added that corrections staff embraced community policing by taking part in many area events and fundraisers. Those went to support veterans programs, abused children, Golisano’s Children Hospital in Rochester, and Special Olympics.
“Corrections officers each day complete an extremely difficult job with firmness, fairness and compassion,” he said.
Luce and Cleere also highlighted the following in 2019:
• The sheriff’s office generated more than $540,000 by boarding federal inmates and out-of-county inmates at the jail. That exceeded projections by more than $100,000.
• Complied with state accreditation, covering more than 460 best practices in law enforcement, corrections, civil division, and court security.
• Trained a new Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) officer and started a new school resource officer at South Seneca.
• Developed policies and procedures to comply with sweeping criminal justice legislation, including bail reform and discovery.
• Trained more officers in sex trafficking and child abuse investigations.
• Provided more equipment to protect officers from narcotic drug exposure.
• Oversaw the mental health training of law enforcement officers in the county, including the sheriff’s office and municipal police departments including Waterloo and Seneca Falls, to make them crisis intervention officers.
The report also covers all divisions of the sheriff’s office, including administration, criminal investigations, K-9 unit, family services unit, narcotics, welfare fraud, the drone program, marine patrol and dive team, emergency response (SWAT) team, and other divisions.
“We are very proud of the accomplishments of the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office in 2019. Our continued success in achieving our goals could have never been accomplished if it were not for the hard and dedication of our employees,” Luce said. “We take seriously our oath of office, and our responsibility to provide professional law enforcement services to the citizens of Seneca County.”