By Kimberly Beaty
Democrat for Erie County Sheriff
There is a fiscal crisis in the Erie County sheriff’s office. Our deputies are overworked, our jails understaffed, and our equipment and facilities in dire need of modernization. But what else would you expect from 16 years of mismanagement and absenteeism?
The Erie County sheriff’s office has an annual budget of over $135 million. As Deputy Police Commissioner, I managed a departmental budget of over $130 million. As Director of Public Safety at Canisius, I manage a law enforcement agency. I am the only candidate for sheriff who can actually manage the scale of the Erie County sheriff’s office budget.
Under the Democratic-led legislature, the sheriff’s office budget has increased by 40%. Imagine what a close partnership between the legislature and the new sheriff could accomplish. We can actually make sure the needs of our police are being met.
We need to assure the appropriate, responsible allocation of the budget. That requires transparency and daylight. We owe that for our taxpayers and to the community whose safety we promise to keep. None of our deputies should ever struggle for the tools they need to do their jobs.
Millions of dollars are wasted defending and settling lawsuits. Millions of dollars are wasted in forced overtime. The first step in the culture of the sheriff’s office and taking proper care of detainees is to make sure our facilities are properly staffed. Deputies should not have to work back-to-back 16-hour shifts because we don’t have enough people to do the job. Our correctional facility should never be forced to run on a skeleton crew because a Bill’s game needs security.
We need an aggressive recruitment campaign from within the community to fill our ranks. A properly staffed sheriff’s office works better and more efficiently, it’s better for our deputies, our inmates, and our community.
There are many who are screaming about defunding the police. You know what I think is actually defunding our police, right now? Privatizing police work and outsourced county contracts for essential security services to private firms owned by you and your friends.
That’s what John Garcia has been doing with 716 Investigations and it’s subsidiaries GDY/EBC, which he owns with Sheriff Tim Howard and which has contracts with Erie County and many municipalities directly. It’s not about wanting to better the Sheriff’s Office for our community or the rank and file deputies. It’s about money.
When I am sheriff, everything will be on the straight and narrow. Our police will have the resources they need, I will end the ongoing in corruption and conflicts of interest, and I will make sure that we aggressively recruit and retain talent from our community so that the sheriff’s office can keep this community safe.