EAST AURORA, NY (WIVB) – We’re just weeks away from Election Day and we’re hearing from three of the candidates in the race for Erie County Sheriff. The League of Women Voters held a forum Wednesday night in East Aurora.
“I’ll tell you one thing: when I’m the sheriff in Erie County, everything will be fine,” said Democratic candidate Kim Beaty.
“I am a police officer and I am a leader and I am ready to bring the sheriff’s office into the 21st century,” said Republican candidate John Garcia.
“I will not make my decision based on membership, I will make my decision on what is right or wrong,” added independent candidate Ted DiNoto.
After 16 years, Erie County voters will not see retired Sheriff Tim Howard’s name on the November ballot. Instead, they can choose between Democrat Kimberly Beaty, Republican John Garcia and independent Ted DiNoto.
The League of Women Voters held a forum Wednesday night. One of the main things the candidates discussed was how to prevent people from dying in the Retention Center.
“I am going to hire mental health professionals at the time of admission so that we can divide people into three categories: those with mental health problems, those with substance abuse problems, and those who are criminals,” he said. DiNoto.
“We have to look at personnel issues, we have to make sure that all incarcerated people get what they need, we also have to remember first that they are people and that they do not deserve to die just because they are in a dungeon,” Beaty added.
“It’s called a correctional facility, it’s not ECMC. Once they are there, they have to be properly evaluated with an officer and a mental health professional, ”Garcia said.
The candidates also spoke about the importance of ending the opioid epidemic and protecting places of worship, as targeted crimes are on the rise across the country.
They all say their priorities involve the community and those who work at the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.
“Transforming public safety, we have to mobilize in mental health, we have to stop the increase in violence,” Garcia said.
“We cannot take care of anyone if we cannot take care of ourselves. I want to regain their pride, I want them to understand that they have a sheriff behind them, “added DiNoto.
“Responsible leadership would be a priority, we also have to train our officers and the people who work for the sheriff’s office, and we have to properly size the sheriff’s office,” Beaty said.