The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

October 14, 2013

Sheriff's Dept. raise approved

By HOWARD BALABAN howard.balaban@journal-register.com
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The Orleans County Legislature approved a two percent salary increase for the Sheriff’s Department at its regular meeting last week. The raise is an annual one and is in effect through 2015.

The employees who benefit from the increase in pay also will see an increase in their health insurance deductibles, thus lowering county health premium costs, which offsets the affect of the raise on the county budget.

Earlier in the meeting last week, representatives from the Sheriff’s Department spoke to the legislators about the work they have done throughout the county to stay prepared for any and all disasters. Much of the training discussed included how the department would deal with a shooter if the situation ever arose. Training for such an instance began in the wake of the Columbine shootings in 1999 and once again was brought to the forefront earlier this year with the tragedy in Sandy Hook.

Department representatives told the legislature that children need to learn more about how to recognize mental health situations that could lead to something worse if not addressed.

The Sheriff’s Department has intermunicipal agreements with several law enforcement agencies in Orleans County, and together they train monthly for such intense situations in order to be prepared in a worst-case scenario.

According to the information provided the county, most offenders in those scenarios are male and in their older teenage years. According to most profiles, they tend to have a troubled home life, poor academics, and are the target of bullies.

The Sheriff’s Department said the training is vital in order to protect the roughly 7,000 students and about 1,000 staff in schools in Orleans County.

Later in the meeting, the county legislature approved a request by the Sheriff’s Department to apply for a Tactical Team Targeted Grant through the offices of Homeland Security. The grant, if awarded, would help fund equipment for the Orleans County SWAT Team.

One person in attendance wanted to know what such measures would need to be taken in Orleans County, but Legislator George Bower said the county should move ahead with the grant application to essentially stay ahead of the curve.

“I really don’t want to know what would happen if we didn’t apply for the grant, and then Homeland Security told us we needed these things,” Bower said. “Then it wind up costing the taxpayers.”

In other county news: 

• A public hearing was set for Oct. 23, at 4:25 p.m. to discuss the construction of radio towers in Clarendon, Shelby, and Albion.

• Bower, who has been trying to find out how much money the county spends on college students who fail out of school, said his request for information from the higher-ups at Genesee Community College has not yet yielded any results. 

• During public comment period, Al Lofthouse of Kendall told the legislature the preliminary results of the forensic audit in the Town of Gaines are troublesome. “Too many people are doing things for themselves, and that’s why we question things that don’t look quite right here,” he said.