In Diana’s Words:
“From the first day…”
I’ve been asked to write about what I would do the first day and weeks in office if elected as Sheriff of Greene County. This was a rather interesting question and one that deserves a lot of introspect.
There are several areas that I will begin to work on immediately when elected.
Some of these projects will take days – some will take weeks – some will even take years.
All of the things I will mention come together not separately. There will need to be an abundance of multi-tasking to accomplish putting the Greene County Sheriff’s Office on the right road.
Training and staff review– I will review the training that the deputies and investigators have. If they are in need to training to comply with NYS regulations or best practices in criminal justice – I will set that up. This isn’t something that will happen overnight. Training will be prioritized to further the mission of police work and the community we serve. I cannot stress training enough.
Accreditation review – Despite my opponent’s team’s assertion – accreditation is not just a plaque on the wall. New York State established an accreditation program in 1989. The goals were to increase professionalism, efficiency and effectiveness within police departments. Accreditation outlines 110 standards. They are: 52 standards for administration, 46 standards for operations and 12 for training. Outdated or nonexistent procedures an practices are a recipe for disaster and in some instances a recipe for litigation. You do not have to be a large agency to comply with accreditation. It needs to be a priority. Participation in this program is
one way that a department can demonstrate their commitment to excellence and
professionalism. Accreditation is so important that it has to begin immediately. The average length of time accreditation takes is approximately one year from start to finish.
Budget and equipment review – Where is the money going? Is it being used in the most equitable manner? Can we use the money in a better way? What equipment do we have? What equipment do we need? All of these things are important for us to review. Several factors will come into play when reviewing this. However, the main goal of police work is to serve citizens. If it isn’t serving citizens then it is open to be cut. This review of the budget should be done continually.
Animal Welfare Task Force – This is a completely voluntary group that will come together to address animal welfare and police response. Any costs for this group will be augmented by donations and fundraising. I see this group as a zero-budget item. We have plenty of resources within the animal welfare community to make this happen.
Recovery and Substance Use –
My detailed approach:
I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched by substance use and the opioid addiction problem. We need to start services in the jail and we need to put together a pamphlet to hand out to folks who call us for help. This pamphlet would be very inexpensive and would list the resources families and friends could use to reach out and get help for themselves or a loved one. It seems like a relatively simplistic thing but that information is lacking. Police are often called to families when they are the most vulnerable and in crisis. Information is key.
I will also institute Law Enforcement Diversion Programs for substance use. LEAD programs are 60% effective. That is huge! “In a LEAD ® program, police officers
exercise discretion at point of contact to divert individuals to a community-based, harm-reduction intervention for law violations driven by unmet behavioral health needs. In lieu of the normal criminal justice system cycle — booking, detention, prosecution, conviction, incarceration — individuals are instead referred into a trauma-informed intensive case-management program
where the individual receives a wide range of support services, often including transitional and permanent housing and/or drug treatment. (https://www.leadbureau.org/about-lead)”
I will also start a program like “Chatham Cares 4 U”. We will be proactive in helping people get services if they want them. We have to get away from the tired police response for these addictions – it isn’t working. We need new innovative ways of dealing with this cycle. They do work – we have to be brave and embrace change.
Community outreach – The school resource officer program by the Greene County Sheriff’s office is a good program and will continue. We will also do outreach to other communities in Greene County so that we are inclusive. Minorities, LGBTQ, artist/creative economy and other folks should not feel separated from their law enforcement professionals. Outreach and an open-door policy will be paramount to these communities. I will always be accessible.