Jefferson County Sheriff's Department

Sheriff-elect O'Neill selects undersheriff

Dec 8, 2014
Julia Botero / WRVO

Jefferson County Sheriff-elect Colleen O'Neill has selected retired state trooper Sgt. Brian McDermott as  her new undersheriff. O'Neill made it a point during her campaign that, if elected, she would work to restore the department's tarnished reputation caused by allegations of sexual  harassment in 2012.  

O Neill, who also retired from the New York State Police, says she has known McDermott throughout his career. She says she trusts him and his ability to bring respect back to the sheriff's department through hard work and honesty.

Bocciolatt Campaign/O'Neill Campaign

Democrat Colleen O'Neill may become the first woman to be elected sheriff in New York state. O'Neill and Republican challenger John Bocciolatt ran a very close race for Jefferson Country Sheriff last night. With all districts counted, O'Neill inched ahead with a 670 vote lead.

But Bocciolatt is not conceding, and 1,500 absentee ballots still need to be counted.

In a speech at the Democrat headquarters in Watertown last night, O'Neill thanked her staff and says she is confident she'll be the next sheriff. 

Bocciolatt Campaign/O'Neill Campaign

Jefferson County will select a new sheriff Tuesday. Republican John Bocciolatt and Democrat Colleen O'Neill have both spent 28 years working in law enforcement, and each says they have the right kind of experience for the job. 

John Bocciolatt says he knows the duties of county sheriff mostly take place behind a desk. 

"It's really about your ability to communicate and team build," Bocciolatt said.

Jefferson County

Buildings and Grounds employees in Jefferson County are transforming the county jail's indoor gym into a dorm for inmates. The extra 36 beds help with the jail's constant overcrowding, but more beds are still needed. 

Spike Decker, head of the Jefferson County's buildings and grounds department, got a call this summer from the State Commission of Corrections. They asked if Decker could find a way to add beds and a few toilets to the jail's indoor recreation room. He got to work.

"We are really just converting an open room into a dormitory for our guests," Decker said.

Three women with the same attorney have filed lawsuits against the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and members within it for allegations relating to sexual misconduct or harassment.