Don Krapf, a 23-year veteran of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, is challenging Sheriff David Bartlett, who is running for a third term.
Krapf says he is committed to changing the office to "meet the moment," and become more connected to the community it serves.
"I'm running for sheriff on a community-centric based platform to improve the relationships within the community, the diverse community that Columbia County is, and to increase the emphasis on training, implicit bias, cultural sensitivity, sensitivity training."
Krapf, a lifelong resident of the Town of Greenport, says he's observed "missed opportunities for the sheriff's office to proactively move in the direction of modern policing."
" I think that what we're missing, moving forward, is a more cohesive bond with the community, getting out there speaking with community leaders, partnering with the community for training, you know, bringing outside resources into the office, to bring them more current training format to the sheriff's office. "
Krapf, a registered Republican, has the endorsement of the Columbia County Democratic Committee. He believes the sheriff's office, even though it is an elected position, shouldn't be connected to political parties.
"Well, I feel that the Office of Sheriff it should be a non-political office. By withdrawing from the Republican Party's process,I feel that, you know, not creating a primary situation, not causing a divide, to not have to decide which candidate for the Republican Party to vote for, is just a strong community move. It just shows that, you know, this is a community position, we need to stop, you know, focusing on parties, race, gender, we just need to look at it as a full community."
Krapf's choice for undersheriff is a woman of color.
"Jackie Salvatore. I've known Jackie for probably at least 20 years. She is just a fantastic individual. She just has so much care and compassion for the community. She retired from the New York State Police as the director of the Employee Assistance Program. I think it's so, so, so important that we focus on the health, the physical and mental health of our deputies, and bringing back a family type atmosphere to our sheriff's office, both internally and externally."
Krapf says his goal if elected is to strengthen ties inside and outside the sheriff's office.
"A lot of it has to do with training. And I think a lot of that has to do with transparency. If the community understands and respects the people that they are looking to, to protect them, to serve them, if we are totally transparent, in all our endeavors that we could possibly be transparent about, I mean, obviously, ongoing criminal investigations, there's certain things we can't talk about. But I mean, we need to, we need to be part of the community. We need to expand upon the current training that's out there and bring community into the sheriff's office, as well as getting out into the community. So I think just that tying in of community bonds is the most important thing we could possibly do right now. And in this nation, it's just there's, there's so much divide. And we keep focusing on that. And I think we need to focus on bringing it back together. "
Krapf pledges to run "a campaign free of negativity that focuses on clear goals." WAMC has also invited Sheriff David Bartlett to conduct an interview.