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Colleen M. O'Neill
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has 26 Deputy Sheriffs and 5 sergeants assigned to law enforcement duties, 7 detectives assigned to the serious crimes unit and 2 detectives assigned to the Metro-Jeff Drug Task Force. The law enforcement division of the Sheriff’s Office is overseen by the law enforcement lieutenant.
The deputy sheriffs act as the agency's first responders to all crimes and accident scenes and investigate misdemeanor crimes as well as some felonies. They also present a deterrent to criminal activity; maintain safe highways through aggressive vehicle and traffic law enforcement and strict enforcement of all DWI laws. The deputies also serve and enforce various court related documents such as subpoenas, orders of protection, removal orders and any other orders issued by the courts.
The detective unit investigates all serious felony offenses as well as sensitive misdemeanor cases. This unit handles a wide variety of serious offenses ranging from child/sexual abuse, rape, kidnapping, robbery, arson, homicides and fatal accidents including automobile and industrial accidents.
The members of the Metro-Jeff Drug Task Force work in conjunction with the City of Watertown Police Department and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. The drug task force is responsible for investigating all drug-related offenses and routinely assists with other major crime investigations since many are connected to drug trafficking.
The recreation patrol unit consists of 6 assigned members who patrol, monitor, and enforce the laws associated with recreational-use vehicles and routinely participate in numerous drills, exercises and search and rescue missions. The unit patrols the waterways of Lake Ontario and The St. Lawrence River during the summer months. During the fall and spring seasons, the patrol will often patrol rural camp areas and trails by ATV. The patrol moves to snowmobiles during the winter season and often patrols the numerous trails that run through Jefferson County and concentrate on safety issues including speed and Snowmobiling While Intoxicated. The recreation patrol also serves as a frontline unit for patrolling the northern border for drug trafficking as well as human trafficking and intelligence gathering.
The Canine (K9) unit consists of three deputies and their K9 partners. Two of the K9’s are trained in patrol tactics as well as narcotics detection while the third K9 is trained in patrol tactics and bomb detection. The K9 unit is very effective in the detection of narcotics and has been instrumental in numerous narcotic investigations and the seizures of large amounts of drug-related currency. This unit is often called upon by neighboring agencies to assist with drug- and bomb-related investigations.
The Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (S.E.R.T.) is made up of a group of deputies and detectives, highly trained in special weapons and tactics. This team is often called out for high-risk scenarios such as armed stand-offs, hostage situations and high-risk search warrant executions.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office also provides a School Resource Officer (S.R.O.) for the Indian River School District. This deputy sheriff provides safety, security and education for the children of the school district.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office also participates in a Sheriff’s Summer Camp for underprivileged children and provides a safe, fun and secure getaway for 20 such children each summer. During the month of December the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office coordinates the Shop With A Cop program which allows as many as 40 underprivileged children to shop for Christmas presents with a police officer, fireman, rescue personnel or probation officer at Walmart and partake in a pizza party at SAM’s Club.
The law enforcement division patrols 1,272 square miles of land and 585 square miles of water. The law enforcement division provides year-round services for approximately 120,000 summertime residents of Jefferson County and 111,000 year around residents.