Quattrone Outlines Plan For Sheriff’s Office

Jim Quattrone said he looks forward to becoming sheriff and outlined several goals for the position when he takes office Jan. 1. P-J photo by Eric Zavinski

The theme of Sheriff-Elect Jim Quattrone’s mindset going into his first term is collaboration among all police departments and related agencies that can have a positive impact on the community at large.

During an interview with The Post-Journal, Quattrone listed goals he has for the reevaluation of the Sheriff’s Office and how to operate with the new county arraignment procedures tentatively scheduled to begin in January.

Having arraignments centralized in Mayville will lead to saving on time and money for the Sheriff’s Office, Quattrone said. Municipalities other than Jamestown and Dunkirk will be transporting suspects charged to Mayville where town justices will arraign at two different times during the day, which should decrease the wait. Quattrone said this kind of centralized process has proven beneficial for similar sheriff’s offices throughout the state.

One of Quattrone’s first decisions will be to finalize the appointment of a new undersheriff. Charles Holder will retire from the position this month and had planned to make a career change regardless of the outcome of the election. Similarly, Quattrone will have to appoint a new office secretary as well.

“We have to look at policies,” Quattrone said as he discussed the usual updates law enforcement agencies must make. “I don’t want to come in and change things drastically just for the sake of change.”

Jim Quattrone speaks over the summer during one of his many campaign stops to discuss a variety of issues facing the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office. Quattrone defeated incumbent Sheriff Joe Gerace for the position. P-J photo by Eric Zavinski

Quattrone thanked outgoing Sheriff Joe Gerace for his work setting up various programs and getting the office accredited. In law enforcement, he said it’s a continuous process to keep offices up to the standard of that accreditation, and Quattrone intends to keep things that way.

A major element going forward for the sheriff-elect is “collaboration” versus “cooperation.” He described the latter as agencies working together with their own goals in mind. He wants the former, in which different entities work together toward the overall goal of bettering the community.

One way to do this that Quattrone is considering is eventually combining the Southern Tier Drug Task Force and Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force to more effectively fight the war on drugs, something he said is ideal for the safety and efficiency of the communities in the county. He talked about how addiction is often tied into mental illness for those local law enforcement may deal with.

He said he wants to further train officers and deputies to handle crisis situations with those who may be mentally impaired or distressed. One of the classes Quattrone teaches at the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Training Academy is Crisis Intervention Skills for Law Enforcement, and it’s become one of his passions to address in his career.

Quattrone expressed his awareness of how jails have effectively become some of the nation’s largest mental health institutions. He wants to continue addressing criminals’ mental health needs with the combination of treatment from the Department of Health and Human Services and counseling provided by Chautauqua County Mental Hygiene.

To help with the jail, he wants to further promote the corrections officer positions, jobs that he said are “not glamorous” but very much needed and should be appreciated. Quattrone stressed the importance of finding qualified candidates.

“We have to do a better job of promoting our profession,” said Quattrone, who would like to hire more qualified candidates to avoid necessitating mandatory overtime for currently working corrections officers.

Encouragement of reducing recidivism was another of Quattrone’s staples. He said jail programs that help prisoners get reintroduced into society and the workforce are imperative. He disagrees with criticism that these programs negate punishment because jail itself is still a punishment. Quattrone said that if those who are in jail don’t end up in bad situations when they get out, it helps everyone.

Positive opportunities are often possible for those in jail through the Federal Workforce Development Program, something he wants to continue to encourage. Quattrone also wants to find funding for a treatment pod to treat addiction for those incarcerated.

“We need to be in the neighborhoods and find out what’s going on,” Quattrone said.

He drove home that he wants his deputies to get involved in the community to not only establish more positive relations with residents, but to also dig deeper into the issues that might be concerning community members. Quattrone said he’s disheartened to hear the life expectancy in the United States continues to decrease with the two biggest factors against younger people being the increase in suicides and drug overdoses.

“I think we have to be willing to change if it’s justified,” Quattrone said. “We at the Sheriff’s Office have to work as a unit.”