Ontario County’s largest police union, which represents nearly 80 officers has said that it does not have confidence in Sheriff Kevin Henderson moving forward.
The Ontario County Police Benevolent Association represents 78 full and part time deputies, sergeants, and investigators of the criminal division at the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office.
“As has been widely reported in recent weeks, an independent, months-long investigation has been conducted to investigate a series of complaints and concerns about the Sheriff and his administration,” an announcement from the PAB said. “Many members of the PBA were called upon to relay their experiences regarding the policies and culture of this agency under the leadership of this Sheriff, and despite fears of retaliation from the Sheriff, those members have fully cooperated with the independent investigators.”
The statement goes on, unpacking the situation involving Henderson.
“Unfortunately, Sheriff Henderson has refused to resign and to allow this department to heal and move forward from his failed administration. The PBA and its members can no longer remain silent,” they continued. “As previously reported, during the tenure of Sheriff Henderson lateral transfers from our department to other agencies have occurred at an unprecedented rate, with 17 deputies leaving since 2019 – more than during the entire 28-year span of the prior administration. Our full-time road patrol is budgeted for 45 positions. There are presently only 26 Deputies in these positions, three more will be leaving in the next 30 days, and several of those that remain are actively looking for positions elsewhere.”
The PBA alleges that most deputies who transferred were born and raised in Ontario County and had a strong desire to give back to their community by becoming public servants. “The culture created in this agency caused them to look elsewhere to serve. The experience and skill sets of these officers cannot be easily replaced. The deputies left are required to fill the shortfall in staffing to maintain minimum numbers to continue to provide public safety, being mandated for additional shifts several times a week. Despite these conditions, these deputies have continued to serve the community in a professional manner and will continue to do so,” the PBA added.
The Ontario County PBA conducted a membership vote and by an overwhelming majority believes that the toxic culture created by the Sheriff coupled with the findings of the independent investigation have made the relationship between him and the county administration irreparable and does not have confidence in this Sheriff to continue to lead the Office of Sheriff.
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