Annual Award Ceremony Held By Chenango Sheriffs

By: Zachary Meseck

Annual award ceremony held by Chenango Sheriffs Chenango County Detective Sergeant Gary A. Miller, Detective Chad M. O'Hara, and Sheriff Ernest Cutting during the Chenango County Sheriff's Office Award Ceremony. (Zachary Meseck photo)

NORWICH – Earlier this month the Chenango County Sheriff's Office recognized over 70 members of law enforcement for their contributions throughout the county at its annual award ceremony.

The ceremony was held on March 1, at the Northeast Classic Car Museum in Norwich. The main speaker, Chenango County Sheriff Ernest Cutting, started off the event with a discussion on various topics including the work of his employees, manpower shortages, and the hypothetical legalization of marijuana along with the impacts it could have on local communities.

Cutting said he recognized that all of the office's employees work hard and make significant contributions to the office and to the public they serve. He added, “While our awards committee has selected several officers to receive formal awards for those who stood out in many situations last year, all staff are deserving of an award.”

According to Cutting, the Chenango County 911 Center handled 90,342 emergency and non-emergency calls for service in 2018.

"The 911 Center is going through an aggressive modernization plan designed to prepare the center for emerging technologies and Next Generation 911, said Cutting. "The infrastructure was put in place for Text to 911, which allows a citizen who is unable to speak to a dispatcher for any number of reasons, to text their emergency."

He said while technology continues to improve, turnover rates in the corrections division of the sheriff's office remain an issue high due to the difficulty of the job.

"Manpower shortages still plague the corrections division, as it is a tough environment within which to work," said Cutting. "We hire five new officers and only one or two stay, largely due to the strain on families that the corrections occupation can cause."

He thanked county leadership for resolving employee contract issues, and he said that this is the first time in nearly 20 years that all labor contracts are up to date. He added that he hopes the now competitive wages resolve the manpower shortages the office has faced in 2018, and the office continues do its best to keep the citizens of Chenango County safe.

"Our detectives have continued making many arrests in the illegal sale and manufacture of heroin and methamphetamine," said Cutting. "Several arrests were made in 2018 which ultimately resulted in the largest illegal narcotics seizure in Chenango County history."

He said that the narcotics seizure stemmed from a joint investigation between the Chenango County Sheriff's Office, Norwich Police Department, and New York State Police. He added that Detective David Castle headed the investigation on behalf of the sheriff's office.

"Going forward, the sheriff’s office will face many emerging issues which will create many challenges for public safety," said Cutting.

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