Sheriff candidates respond to questions

The primary for Orange County Sheriff is Tuesday, June 28, with polls open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Two candidates are running for the Republican nomination. One Democratic candidate is running unopposed. Early voting is June 18-26.

| 13 Jun 2022 | 01:35

Paul Arteta (R)

What incident, circumstance or other factor prompted you to run for sheriff?

Serving this great County proudly for three decades at the Sheriff’s Office has given me the experience, knowledge and training to lead the agency into the 21st Century. My family has given me the encouragement to move forward with my lifelong goal.

What experience or education gives you the skills for this job?

I began my career at the Sheriff’s Office at the Orange County Jail then progressed to the patrol division and attaining the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain.

I have had a career of collaboration working assignments with the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, FBI Safe Streets Task Force, and reviving the Orange County Drug Task Force that continues to perform at high levels of professionalism.

Much of my career also includes working in collaboration with all of our law enforcement agencies in Orange County and our surrounding counties. I completed the FBI National Academy, class 248, and most recently completed my master’s degree. While progressing through my career I was co-founder of the Sheriff’s PBA and negotiated several bargaining agreements as President of the PBA.

What concrete goals would you pursue if you win?

Sharpen our capabilities by adopting new technologies to fully engage our communities and implement evidence-based best practices proven to reduce crime and improve community relations and keeping the Sheriff’s Office accountable through transparency.

What would be your strategy to accomplish your goals?

I will dedicate the time to be your full-time Sheriff who will work with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners as well as with our communities to provide the services our residents deserve.

Ken Jones (R)

What incident, circumstance or other factor prompted you to run for sheriff?

Continuing the Excellence is the main factor that prompted me to run for Sheriff. Carl DuBois told me that he would not seek a 6th term as Sheriff. I told him that I would run to keep the excellence going. Carl endorsed me. I retired from the State Police (SP), to become Undersheriff. I brought the standards of the SP. Those standards enabled us to acquire five accreditations, three of them national. Deputies hold accreditation from CALEA. Less than 1% of police agencies in NY have this gold standard. Correction officers hold accreditation from the ACA. Less than 1% of county jails in NY are accredited. Jail health care is accredited by the NCCHC. Only 2% of the 3,081 Sheriff’s Offices in the USA hold these national accreditations.

What experience or education gives you the skills for the job?

Undersheriff: 20 years as Undersheriff. I run operations managing 500 employees and a budget of $80 million.

State Trooper: In 23 years, I made thousands of arrests; conducted homicide investigations; was a latent fingerprint examiner; Narcotic Task Force member; and investigated sophisticated financial crime. Testified as forensic expert hundreds of times in Troop “F”, other counties, states, and United States Court.

Statewide union leader for 15 years representing the members of the SP BCI.

Teacher: 33 years teaching Criminal Justice at SUNY Sullivan.

Education: I hold a B.S. from Buffalo State College in Criminal Justice.

Training Certificates too numerous to list.

What concrete goals would you pursue if you win? What would your strategy be to accomplish your goals?

Great Community Relations: For 20 years we have had great relationships in the community. At every parade, fair, and festival we play a role; we have nurtured relationships with community-based groups; we assist local police, and they depend on the Sheriff’s Office for expertise, personnel and equipment. That will continue when I am Sheriff.

Reinvent the Response to Opioid and Drug Abuse: Opioid and drug abuse is a killer of people from every age group. We must start anew to solve this problem. I am on the HEALing Communities initiative with more than 30 community-based groups that are bringing the voice of the people to reinvent how we address drug abuse.

Address Gun Violence and Preserve the Rights of Law-Abiding Citizens: We cannot continue passing laws that only impact law-abiding citizens and do not prevent gun violence. We have an intelligence-based effort to identify the importers of illegal guns into our community utilizing our relationships with other police agencies, the community, and schools.

Bernie Rivers (D)

What incident, circumstance, or other factor prompted you to run for Sheriff?

No specific incident prompted me to run. I am a Minisink Valley/ Orange-Ulster County BOCES graduate class of 1981. During my senior year, I attended the first of its kind in New York State, a Security and Law Enforcement class. The course exposed us to many types of police officers and law enforcement opportunities. This class taught me about Environmental Conservation Police Officers and better understood the Sheriff’s office and duties. So at that time, I made those two things my career goals. So last year, after Sheriff (Carl) DuBois announced his pending retirement, the time seemed right to throw my name into the mix.

What experience or education gives you the skills for this job?

I have 40 years of law enforcement experience, including ten years of experience as a state correction officer and Crisis Intervention situation controller. I worked at various correction facilities ranging from medium to super max security institutions. Also, during that period, I put myself through a local police academy run by the late Rodger Phillips, the Orange County Sheriff at the time. Rodger swore me in as a special deputy. After graduating from that academy, I went to work for the Town of Mount Hope, Wallkill, and Chester Police Department, gaining more law enforcement experience with each agency. In 1992 I was fortunate to be hired as a New York State Environmental Conservation Officer, where I worked for the last thirty years of my State career. I served in several roles during my time with the DEC Division of Law Enforcement. I started as a uniformed Environmental Conservation Police Officer, Investigator, Supervising Conservation Officer, Chief Environmental Conservation officer, and retired as the Director of Law Enforcement.

2016 I received a Bachelor’s degree through Empire State College-SUNY. During this same year, I was fortunate to attend the FBI National Academy-Session 265 in Quantico, Virginia. Therefore, working for a Law Enforcement Division with over 300 sworn and non-sworn members and working with the DEC’s Division of Forest Rangers is another law enforcement arm within the DEC. I believe it gives me the unique experience of running the Sheriff’s office.

What concrete goals would you pursue if you win?

Law Enforcement, both traditional policing and corrections, has changed over the few years. I will work to bring both divisions into the 21st century of policing, respective to their divisions. I will also ensure that we hire and retain deputies and correction officers (entry-level to command level) that understand what policing in the 21st century means.

What would be your strategy to accomplish your goals?

As with many things, training, funding, and holding members, regardless of rank, accountable. These will be the first steps to achieving these goals.