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Sheriff candidates in Livingston County debate
Geneseo, N.Y. Its a classic race for sheriff.
The longtime sheriff is retiring and has endorsed the undersheriff, who is now being challenged by a member of the departments rank-and-file.
In Livingston County, John York is the one stepping aside, James Szczesniak wants to remove the under from his title and Tom Dougherty, the investigator, is attempting to leapfrog into the corner office.
The race has divided the county and the sheriffs department: one side touting experience, the other change.
Thursday night, before a packed auditorium at Geneseo Central School, Szczesniak and Dougherty took the stage to debate.
This was the only debate scheduled before the September 10 primary.
Because Szczeniak and Dougherty are the only two people vying for the seat and theyre both Republicans, theres a chance the winner of the primary will automatically go on to win the general election.
The two men immediately worked to highlight their differences.
Dougherty said he would change up response procedures by ordering dispatchers to send the closest police car to an incident regardless of that cars department.
Szczesniak argued an automatic response might not work in every situation.
They also split over jail staffing and morale among other issues.
When it came to the Safe Act, however, the two found common ground.
Both were asked if they would enforce the law as sheriff.
Every single community sets the discretion as for whats important for them and as the sheriff and the leader of the sheriffs office thats what well continue to do is make sure what the community expects, they set that standard, they set that discretion, Szczesniak said.Its very, very difficult to say as sheriff you will not enforce a law because of your opinion, but what I will say is I am pro-Second Amendment, I believe in that firmly. We will not proactively go out and push the Safe Act, which means deputies do have discretion, they do have a choice in what they do, Dougherty said.
The debate was hosted by GeneseeSun.com