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Erie County recruiting Sheriff's Deputies... and is running out of time

sheriffs deputies recurit
WBFO News/Mike Desmond
Erie County Sheriff's deputies and prospective deputies talk

During a campaign debate last year, John Garcia pointed out the Erie County Sheriff’s Department was very white and that had to change. There’s an exam to be a deputy coming up in September and Wednesday is the last day to file an application to take the test.

Garcia sponsored an recruitment event Monday at the County Fire Training Academy in Cheektowaga. The prospective deputies who showed up had a chance to talk with current deputies and see some of the specialized equipment by deputes.

Jordan Lewis was there, saying he was familiar with deputies from his time as a volunteer fire fighter.

“So I was in the Windom Fire Company for three years. We covered the Bills games," he said. "We were working hand-in-hand with them quite often.”

High school senior Ashley Wood says there is an adventure as an officer, changing what happens.

“I feel like the world like the world we live in now is a disaster and if they don't get the stuff they need, I feel like it's a different job every day where you can do something new," Wood said.

There are similarities in what the two might want to do as deputies. Wood and Lewis mentioned K9 duties.

“I would be interested in either a K9 unit or moving up to detective or criminal investigator.”

Lewis says community duty would be nice.

“Personally, I've always been into the community aspect. So, road patrol is where I would want to be," Lewis said. "A dream of mine would be a K9 officer. I love dogs. I'd love to have my own, go out and work that way.”

Sheriff’s Special Services Chief Brian Britzzalaro says deputies work across the county, with some helping out Buffalo police at the scene of the May 14 Tops market massacre.

“We went in and helped Buffalo PD. We manned the perimeter, our guys and girls. So, they could go out and answer calls because they were getting packed," Britzzalaro said. "So, we are in the city and we want to make more of an input in the city. We have a great relationship with BPD but with the civilians and the constituents in the city.”

Britzzalaro is a former Buffalo officer who moved to the Sheriff’s Department when Garcia, another former Buffalo officer, became sheriff.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.