Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith, President of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, is announcing that Governor Andrew Cuomo is proclaiming the week of September 16th through September 22, 2012 as “Sheriffs Week” in New York State.
The theme of Sheriffs Week this year is: “Your Sheriff…the People’s Choice for Public Safety. “Today’s Sheriffs are proud of the rich history of their Office. It is one of the oldest institutions in America, dating back to Biblical times. The Office of Sheriff in America is a direct descendant of a figure in medieval England, when people lived in community groups known as shires and elected as their protector and leader called the “reeve of the shire. ” Over time, that person became known as the “shire reef, ” which later was rendered as “the Sheriff.”
As challenging as it may be, most Sheriffs are elected every four years. It is this election process that makes the Office of Sheriff unique to all of law enforcement. These elections make most of the 3,083 county Sheriffs throughout the United States directly accountable to the people they serve. This is a special – even sacred – entrustment of responsibility, by which Sheriffs are duty-bound to represent their constituents fairly and conscientiously. The holder of the Office of Sheriff must always be willing to do the right thing for the people they serve.
The Sheriffs of New York State are long-time advocates for advancements in criminal justice. One such initiative supported by the New York State Sheriffs’ Association was the recently enacted All Crimes DNA Bill. The passage of this bill proposed by Governor Cuomo, received the highest priority because its implementation will dramatically reduce the crime rate, help solve many unsolved crimes and help exonerate innocent people. DNA science has revolutionized the world of law enforcement. This new law expands the number of samples collected for inclusion to New York State’s database thus reducing the number of times a repeat offender commits crimes before being brought to justice.
Additionally, the New York State Sheriffs Association, Governor Cuomo and New York’s Commissioner of Motor Vehicles Barbara J. Fiala, have improved vital available information to law enforcement officers. Many statewide DMV programs have been enhanced. They include: “Photofile” – an initiative which now makes New York State drivers’ license photos accessible to all police agencies; “Lawman Searches” – a DMV database enabling all law enforcement agencies to check DMV records for license plates, car colors and models; the “LENS Program” which expands the allowance of businesses to register with DMV to receive license events of their employees and permits law enforcement agencies to flag these licenses with any driving or license restrictions via email messages and the “Lifetime Driver’s Abstract” service which will now supply licensed drivers’ full (lifetime) driving history to law enforcement officers.
“We believe that the provisions of the All Crimes DNA Bill coupled with the enhanced services provided by DMV, will aid in solving more crimes. We are confident that they will have a great impact in the deterrence of crime thus help making our county even safer, ” said Sheriff Smith. “These advancements in law enforcement’s arsenal will also provide added protection to deputy sheriffs, police officers, state troopers and emergency service providers throughout New York State, ” the Sheriff continued.
Since 1812, the Sheriff has been the peoples’ lawman – the community’s own choice of protector and leader in Putnam County. Still today, Putnam County’s Sheriff remains the people’s choice for public safety. The “roots” of the Office of Sheriff grew out of necessity, out of the community’s need for protection and leadership.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is the oldest full-time law enforcement agency in the county. It is staffed by highly trained men and women who provide vital protective services to all spectrums of our society.