In celebration of New York State's Sheriff's Week, the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office held an open house for the public recently.
The open house included public tours of the inner workings of the office. The program is held every year, according to Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb. Visitors were able to view the department's vehicles, such as the Special Response Team vehicle and patrol cars, and other equipment that is used in the day to day workings of the officers.
"I think the public in general is perhaps not aware of as many services that there truly are that the sheriff's office provides," he said. "How large we are, how diverse we are, how spread out we are. From a public safety perspective, they are better off knowing what resources they do have in the sheriff's office and how to reach us if they need us."
Two vehicles were displayed for the public during the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office open house recently.
P-J?photo by Andrew Carr
The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office has 212 employees, spread over five divisions, each with its own paramilitary chain of command, said Whitcomb. This also includes those who work in the correctional facility, he said.
The office covers all of the 1,400 square miles of the county, he said, all 32 townships, including the three areas that are considered reservations, which are the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation, The Allegany Indian Reservation and the Oil Springs Reservation.
The dispatch center at the office was featured, detailing what happens when a 911 call comes in.
"I think the public in general is perhaps not aware of as many services that there truly are that the sheriff's office provides. How large we are, how diverse we are, how spread out we are. From a public safety perspective, they are better off knowing what resources they do have in the sheriff's office and how to reach us if they need us."
Cattaraugus County sheriff
When a call is received, dispatchers are able to use satellite and cell phone tracking technology to pinpoint the location of the caller, and is able to use the same technology to determine the closest patrol car to dispatch them to the scene.
Fire and EMS dispatch is also controlled from this center, he said.
The county is split into four zones, each with a car patrolling each of those zones, he said.
Substations are also located in the zones, which deputies use to process individuals and file paperwork, he said.
Whitcomb also showed the detectives unit, where specialized detectives work to help ensure the safety of the community and conduct investigations.
Each detective is specialized in an area, such as sexual crime, arson or homicide, however all the detectives are cross-trained in each area, he said.
The Safe Child I.D. program was also part of the program. The program involves allowing parents to obtain child identification cards which contain the child's name, biographical information, fingerprint images and photo which is then stored in the New York state electronic database. The identification program is held free of charge.
"This is a great opportunity for the public to come and see just what the Office of Sheriff is all about," said Whitcomb in a news release. "There are so many programs and functions that this office offers that the public should be aware of.
"We have an outstanding organization here in Cattaraugus County with a long history. I am very proud of the deputies, corrections officers, dispatchers and support staff that make this organization function, and would like to share that pride with the general public, " Whitcomb continued.
The program coincides with the NY State Sheriff's Week, which is a week every year where the public can learn about the office of the sheriff, he said.
"The New York State's Sheriff's Association, which is based out of Albany, works in conjunction with the Governor's office on several issues, and one week each year, they successfully secure the Governor's endorsement of a proclamation to make one week of a calendar year NYS Sheriff's Week," he said. "And it is an opportunity for all sheriff's officers around the state to kind of do a horse-and-pony show if you will, a show-and-tell to the constituents within their jurisdictions of what they are so they can have an appreciation for the office of the sheriff."