File 25

The New York State Sheriffs' Association
Volume 378

October 16, 2015

Oneida County Inmate/Dog Training Program 

"Romeo," (pictured above) was the first dog to complete the new "Wags to Riches Dog Program" an innovative inmate/dog program that started this summer at the Oneida County Correctional Facility in which dogs from the Stevens Swan Humane Society enter in to an eight-week stay as they live with pre-selected inmates that have been trained to work with dogs. While at the jail, they receive obedience training from the inmate and learn how to comfortably live with people so that they become very adoptable at the end of the program.  Lt. Lisa Zurek and Sgt. Deb Harris coordinate the program working with trainer Scott Leisner. "This unique program comes at no cost to the taxpayer and provides a positive outcome for both the inmates and the dogs." said Sheriff Robert Maciol. 

The week, Tractor Supply Company of Utica and their customers made a significant donation to the program to help provide additional supplies for the dogs. The 150 large bones were purchased by customers at a discounted price for the purpose of donating them to the program. "The generosity of the both Tractor Supply and their customers is very commendable and their care and compassion for animals is truly amazing," said Sheriff Maciol.

"Romeo" was adopted by Correction Officer Michael Tefft. The second program dog arrived at the Oneida County Correctional Facility on September 21st. Please click on the link to read more about this story in the  Utica Observer Dispatch .
Attached photo of the dog bones being donated (left to right): Sheriff Robert Maciol, Sergeant Deb Harris, Tractor Supply Co. Assistant Manager Kim Schuler, Undersheriff Robert Swenszkowski, Chief Deputy Greg Pflieger, and Chief Deputy Jonathan Owens.

Remembering Cattaraugus County Undersheriff Bill Nichols
Cattaraugus County Sheriff Bill Whitcomb shared the sad news this week of the passing of his Undersheriff, William M. Nichols, on 10/13/2015 after a long battle with leukemia. He also shared the following words of tribute to Bill's many contributions: "Bill's legacy in Law Enforcement began in 1974 when he was hired by the Arcade Police Department as a patrolman.  He worked in Arcade until 1986, where he occupied the positions of Patrol Sergeant and also Acting Chief of Police. In March of 1986, Bill transferred to the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office where he spent the next 16 years assigned to undercover operations for the DEA Task Force in Buffalo New York. During this time he is credited with being responsible for the successful investigation, apprehension, and conviction of several high profile cases, for which he received a Meritorious Service Award. In 2002 Bill was promoted to Chief of Detectives where he supervised all major crime investigation for the Criminal Investigation Bureau until 2004. Bill retired in 2004, but accepted a Part-Time position in a specialized "Cold Case Homicide Unit." He remained assigned to this Unit until 2009, and during this time the Unit was responsible for the apprehension and conviction of two people responsible for an 18-year-old unsolved homicide. The success of this case was orchestrated by Bill Nichols. In September of 2009, Bill was appointed Undersheriff by Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb. He maintained this position until his recent passing. Bill's impact during his service as a dedicated Law Enforcement Officer in the Western New York region is simply unmeasurable, and his reputation to his law Enforcement Colleagues survives indefinitely." We extend our deepest condolences to Undersheriff Nichols' family and the entire Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office team. Click here  to read more about the Undersheriff's life and accomplishments.

Jail Administrators Conference in Saratoga Springs a Success

Pictured above, the team from Rensselaer County (left) and Wayne County (right) receives certificates at the close of the conference from 1st Vice President and Herkimer County Sheriff Christopher Farber, Saratoga County Sheriff Mike Zurlo, Rockland County Sheriff Lou Falco, and Executive Director Peter Kehoe. 

Over one hundred county jail administrators from 51 county sheriff's offices attended the Jail Administrators' Continuing Education Conference at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs, NY recently. Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo opened the conference with a welcoming remarks. Other presentations included:
  • Clinton County Sheriff David Favro and Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill discussed the Dannemora Escape.
  • Field Intelligence Officer Kirk Kingsbury of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office presented on Gang Intelligence in County Jails.
  • Thomas Diina, Erie County Jail Superintendent, gave a Case Study on Mental Health Services in County Jails along with Daniel Antonius, PhD, Director of the Division of Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Buffalo and Ronald Schoelerman, Director of Intensive Adult Mental Health Services, Erie County Dept. of Mental Health
  • Orange County Jail Administrator Kenneth Decker presented on the Use of Vivitrol in Jails
  • Deputy Commissioner Justin Pruyne of the Westchester County Department of Correction presented a Case Study.
  • Edward Bly of the Rensselaer County Sheriff's Office and Chuck Newman of the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office Moderated the Roundtable Discussion What's New in County Jails.
    Thanks to all who participated!

Niagara County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Tortorella 1 of 4 Finalists for 2015 IACP/Target Police Officer of the Year
Deputy Joe Tortorella of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office has been selected as one of four finalists for the 2015 IACP/ Target Police Officer of the Year.   The most prestigious law enforcement award of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Police Officer of the Year Award recognizes outstanding and heroic achievement among police officers across the globe.  

On April 17, 2015, Deputy Tortorella responded to a 911 hang-up call at a residence in Wheatfield. While investigating the source of the 911 call, Deputy Tortorella was confronted by an armed male who had just shot both his parents. During a lengthy shoot out with the suspect, Deputy Tortorella was struck by a bullet in the chest.  The residence in Wheatfield was located next to an elementary school which was in session at the time of the incident. During the gun fight, Deputy Tortorella called dispatch over his radio to alert the school to lock-down. When the suspect, who was shot three times, ran back behind the house, Deputy Tortorella ran towards the school to place himself between the school and the suspect. 

IACP Executive Director Vincent Talucci wrote in a letter to Deputy Tortorella, "Your response to a dangerous situation is an example of what it means to make sacrifices for your community and to display impeccable bravery. Your quick thinking to both neutralize the threat and lock down the school exemplify how much you care about the community. On behalf of the law enforcement community, IACP commends you for your outstanding actions." 

Deputy Tortorella and three other finalists will be recognized at the Ninth Annual IACP Foundation Gala at the IACP Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois on October 24, 2015. During the Gala, one of the four officers will be selected as "Police Officer of the Year". Deputy Tortorella will also be recognized by the IACP First General Assembly and he will be featured in an article in Police Chief Magazine.  Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition!

Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike Reports on Resolutions of the Public Safety Committee at the NYS Association of Counties Fall Conference

New York's Sheriffs were well represented at the  NYS Association of Counties Fall Conference that took place at the Crowne Plaza in Lake Placid in September.
Thirty six county representatives attended the ninety-minute Public Safety Committee Meeting which was chaired by Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike. Wayne County  Sheriff Barry Virts,  Broome County Sheriff David Harder, Madison County  Sheriff Allen Riley and Sheriffs' Institute Executive Director  Chris O'Brien also attended the committee meeting.  Sheriff Virts presented to the committee about the Mobile Patrol App.

The following 6  public-safety-related resolutions approved by the committee were approved by NYSAC board.
  • Calling on the Governor and Legislature to plan for next generation 911 by creating a NYS 911 department for supporting county PSAPS and local dispatch services.
  • Requiring updated driver's license photos over a reasonable time period.
  • Calling for the state to assist county's with jail medical costs where HIV and Hepatitis C treatment costs are involved.
  • Opposition to any efforts to prohibit the use of county funds or resources to assist ICE in enforcing federal immigration laws.
  • Promote the passing of legislation to for use of the video conferencing in court appearance i.e. arraignment, for inmates held at the county jail.
  • Calling for the Governor to veto the Montgomery/Perry bill relating to the restraint of pregnant female prisoners.

Sheriffs' Offices Well Represented at Hank Williams Homicide Seminar 
Executive Director Peter Kehoe represents the Association at the closing banquet of the 28th Annual Homicide Seminar. Pictured (r-l) are State Police Assistant Deputy Superintendent Frank Koehler, emcee of the event; Executive Director Kehoe; Chiefs' Association Deputy Director Richard Carey; and, Pastor Ronald grant of the Shiloh Baptist Church, Hudson, NY.
Sixteen homicide investigators from 15 counties were among the attendees from around the world at the 28th Annual Colonel Henry F. Williams Homicide Seminar held in Albany last week.  The Investigators heard presentations from seasoned investigators and forensic scientists on cases they had handled, and on the latest forensic techniques.

Genesee County Sheriff's Deputies Go Far Below and Beyond the Call of Duty
A report in The Batavian relates the gutsy actions of Genesee County Sheriff's Deputies Michael Lute and Chad Cummings during a recent incident involving a man reportedly shoplifting legos from a K-Mart store. The suspect, Wayne Rinker, who was believed to have shot up herion earlier in the day, spent 5 hours in a storm drain after running from the store's loss prevention officer. The two deputies volunteered to put themselves in harm's way to crawl down 300 feet of dark, damp, mud-filled corrugated metal to pull Rinker to safety. Their actions saved Rinker's life. Click here to read the full story.  Job well done!
Monroe County Sheriff's deputy Matt MacKenzie Receives Distinguished Service Award
From left to right; Undersheriff Andrew Forsythe, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, Deputy Matt MacKenzie, and Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn.
Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy Matt MacKenzie received a Distinguished Service Award from the Lakeshore Kiwanis Club at a luncheon in the City of Rochester this week. On March 23, 2015 Deputy MacKenzie was off-duty working out at a gym in the Rochester suburb of Webster. He was working out with fellow off-duty deputy, Todd Thurston. Deputy Thurston had just completed his workout and was sitting in a chair when he suddenly became unresponsive. Deputy MacKenzie acted quickly and determined Deputy Thurston had abnormal breathing and no pulse. Deputy MacKenzie started CPR and an AED was applied. Deputy Thurston was taken to a local hospital where he underwent heart surgery. He has made a full recovery and is back to work. Staff at the hospital stated that the CPR provided by Deputy MacKenzie saved Deputy Thurston's life. Congratulations!

Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol Announces Several Promotions
(l to r): Sheriff Robert Maciol, Father/Chaplin Arthur Krawczenko, Chief Deputy Joseph Lisi, Chief Deputy Greg Pflieger, Sergeant Clayton Smith, and Sergeant John Bulischek.
Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol announced several promotions within the Oneida County Sheriff's Office at a swearing in ceremony held at the Public Safety Complex in Oriskany.  Those sworn in include:
  • Greg Pflieger was sworn in as Chief Deputy of the Corrections Division. Chief Deputy Pflieger previously held the position of Lieutenant and has been a member of the Sheriff's Office for the past 27 years.
  • Joseph Lisi was sworn in as Chief Deputy at the Child Advocacy Center. Chief Lisi returns to the Sheriff's Office after a 25 year career and last held the rank of Lieutenant of the Criminal Investigation Unit.
  • Clayton Smith was promoted to the rank of Sergeant of the Corrections Division and previously held the position of Correction Officer.
  • John Bulischek was promoted to the rank of Sergeant of the Corrections Division and previously held the position of Correction Officer.
  • Kristina Devoe was promoted to the rank of Sergeant of the Corrections Division and previously held the position of Correction Officer.
  • Father Arthur Krawczenko from the Sacred Heart - St. Mary Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in New York Mills was sworn in as Chaplin of the Oneida County Sheriff's Office.
Congratulations to all!  

President and Executive Director Attend National Meeting

Niagara County Sheriff Jim Voutour, President of the Association (above right) and Executive Director Peter Kehoe (above left) attended a meeting of the NSA's Committee of State Sheriffs' Associations in Tucson last week. Thirty-one state president's and executive directors from around the country attended and had discussions on topics affecting Sheriffs and their associations, including: the Obama administration's recent changes to the 1033 Surplus Military Property Program; ICE's Priority Enforcement Program; school safety programs around the country; and, various ideas to improve the administration and financing of State Sheriffs' Associations. NSA Executive Director Jonathon Thompson and NSA Legislative representative Breanna Bock-Nielsson spoke on the imminent FCC ruling on allowable rates for Inmate Calling Services and other national topics.

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