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GALLIVAN VOWS TO REVAMP SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, SAYS HE'LL ELIMINATE ALL UNNECESSARY DESK JOBS

Republican Patrick Gallivan pledged Saturday to eliminate all unnecessary desk jobs from the Erie County Sheriff's Department if he is elected sheriff next month.

Gallivan said he would review all supervisory and administrative jobs in the 700-member department and cut those not needed, using the money saved for more community safety programs.

The pledge was included in a list of proposals Gallivan issued as a blueprint for revamping the functions of the department, ranging from highway safety to juvenile crime.

"I would look at the entire table of organization from top to bottom to insure its efficiency and so that you don't have unnecessary levels of supervisory personnel," Gallivan said.

He also plans to study the organization of the department to determine if more deputies can be relieved of purely civilian tasks and returned to police work, he said.

"I will look at every single position . . . see if we can deploy it better," Gallivan said, pledging to examine staffing for all patrol offices down to the substation level.

"I want to ensure that the most competent, qualified person available is in, or is put into, each position," he said.

Gallivan, who is locked in a tight battle with Democrat Rocco Diina to succeed retiring Sheriff Thomas F. Higgins, dubbed his initiatives "SHIELD 2002."

According to him, the role of deputies is "the most important . . . because they're actually delivering the services to the community."

"I want to to augment those people. If we can free up more people from doing the administrative jobs, we'll have more to do the crime fighting jobs without having to hire more deputies," he said.

Among other steps, Gallivan said he would:

Survey residents who received Sheriff's Department services to check on their satisfaction and see how law enforcement officials could do a better job. The survey would be patterned after a similar program he instituted while working for the State Police.

Hold a countywide summit of teachers, law enforcers, parents and officials to find ways to cooperate in fighting drug and alcohol abuse.

Institute community policing as a department-wide philosophy and establish community forums to improve relations with the public.

Identify locations with frequent traffic accidents and take steps to better police them and/or improve conditions.

Help develop programs to train youths in peaceful methods of resolving conflicts, and expand cooperation between patrol officers, social service, and family counseling groups.

Diina reacted to his opponent's announcement by complaining that Gallivan appeared to be borrowing from his own plans for the department, issued last week.

"It appears that . . . Mr. Gallivan has copied our plan rather than have some vision of his own," he said, knocking his opponent for lacking "the experience or the qualifications" to run the department.

Gallivan says his proposals grew out of his contacts with county residents during the campaign.

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