Measure proposes $7.3 million boost to sheriff’s office

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The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will get a $7.3 million boost if lawmakers approve the measure.

The funds will put more deputies on the road and create a Regional Investigative Operations Center for interagency response to active crime and public safety threats, county officials say. Forty-one additional sworn members will enhance road patrols in towns and villages.

“This unprecedented investment is needed to respond to the surge in shootings, car thefts, smash-and-grab crime and threats to our schools—crimes driven by a lack of accountability,” says County Executive Adam Bello.

The population in the sheriff’s coverage areas has grown by 8 percent over the last couple of decades, notes Sheriff Todd Baxter, and that growth has not been reflecting in staffing.

The sheriff’s office will create new positions in each of its three coverage zones with 30 new road patrol deputies and three lieutenants. Road patrols will increase during busy times, allowing staff to be proactive.

“We need to ensure the areas we police have adequate resources, not just the bare minimum,” Baxter says. “We must hire more men and women to patrol, answer calls for service, and engage with our community. We must also staff our zones at a rate that prioritizes deputy wellness.

Todd Baxter

“Policing has evolved with technological developments at an exponential rate,” he adds. “In turn, the expectations of professional police agencies have also grown. We must grow with the times.”

The RIOC is expected to help with that. The center will help connect actionable criminal information in real time, communicating and coordinating with law enforcement agencies on pattern crimes, and threats of violence, across jurisdictions.

The will be equipped with the latest software and technology, capable of supporting large-scale investigations and countywide emergencies, officials say. It will work in concert with the Monroe Crime Analysis Center, Monroe County Emergency Operations Center and the Rochester Threat Advisory Committee.

Years of disinvestment in the sheriff’s office have resulted in understaffed platoons and limited geographic coverage, with an average of one deputy per 3,600 residents, which is less than half the national average, officials say. As a result, some deputies cover more than 30 square miles on their own.

The newly allocated funds will allow for overage at the airport, add a juvenile investigator and a countywide crime coordinator.

“We expect law enforcement to help keep us safe and solve criminal investigations, but police agencies can only accomplish this task if they have the necessary resources,” says Sandra Doorley, Monroe County district attorney. “With today’s investment in the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, our community will be better served by dedicated law enforcement officers.”

Bello submitted legislation for the RIOC and sheriff’s office expansion Monday to the Monroe County Legislature for consideration. Public Safety Chair Paul Dondorfer expressed his gratitude to his colleagues “for supporting this long-overdue, common-sense improvement that strengthens law and order.”

“As Republican legislators, our priority remains to bolster public safety and protect our community,” Dondorfer adds. “Now more than ever, we must support our brave members of law enforcement by ensuring they have the resources and staffing needed to combat rising crime and nonsensical policies pushed on our community.”

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor.The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

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