Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Louis Falco wins Rockland sheriff's
NEW CITY — Sheriff's Chief of Patrol Louis Falco on Tuesday won the Democratic primary for Rockland County Sheriff, according to unofficial results.
The race pitted Falco against newly retired Clarkstown police Detective Sgt. Tim O'Neill.
Falco will face retired New York City police Officer Matt Brennan, who is running on the Republican line, in November.
Falco also won a write-in for the Working Families line.
O'Neill, whose name will appear on the November ballot on the Conservative line, also won a write-in Tuesday for the Independence line.
Addressing a crowd at the Crowne Plaza in Ramapo after his win, Falco thanked his family and supporters for their dedication.
"I pledge to you that no one is going to be a leader. We're going to work together to keep Rockland County safe," Falco said, later adding, "I will work to be sheriff for all of the people of Rockland County, no political party, when this is over."
The November winner will succeed Republican Sheriff James Kralik, in office since 1992, who did not seek re-election.
The four-year post pays $143,000 annually.
Falco, 52, of Blauvelt, and O'Neill, 56, of Stony Point, are longtime cops with more than 30 years' law enforcement experience.
O'Neill said he was an "outsider" who would bring fresh ideas to the sheriff's job and who had already earned political experience during his 2004-2007 term on the Stony Point Town Board.
Falco said he had worked his way up through the ranks of the Sheriff's Department, had wide experience working with people of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, as well as various law enforcement agencies. He said there would be no learning curve for him as sheriff.
The race brought voters out to Ramapo Town Hall, where Vincent Taffuri of Airmont said he made a point of voting for Falco, as well as Ramapo town supervisor candidate Robert Rhodes.
"I wanted to show my support for those two primary people," Taffuri said.
Lucille Stangel, also of Airmont, said she tried to make it a point to vote.
"There's certain people I want in and certain people I want out," Stangel said. "If you don't vote, you don't have a say."
Carol Vissaris, a county Election Board poll worker, said about 250 people had voted by about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Town Hall poll did not host any Republican races, so the number of overall voters were reduced from the start, she said.
She expected more people after the dinner hour and said for the most part, things had gone smoothly at the poll regarding the new digital scanners now used by voters.
"It's been a calm day," Vissaris said. "Most voters have gotten used to the machines now."
Rockland County faces a budget deficit of $51 million and likely needs to make significant cuts in services and employees to get its financial house in order.
Falco and O'Neill differed on how to achieve cost cuts.
Falco supports maintaining the part-time prisoner transport unit versus having full-time officers do the job.
He wants to leave open six positions that have been vacated by retiring officers and combine the bomb and arson units to cut expenses by about 10 percent, excluding the corrections unit.
O'Neill said the mission of the Sheriff's Department had to be scrutinized. He said some sheriff's services were a duplication, including traffic enforcement, which leads to overtime costs because sheriff's officers have to attend court dates.
He said he wanted to reduce the sheriff's budget, excluding the correction unit, by at least 5 percent. O'Neill also said he would take a 5 percent pay cut.