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The race for Erie County sheriff pits the first-term Republican incumbent against a former Buffalo cop who wants to return to law enforcement. The incumbent deserves re-election.

Patrick Gallivan came to the sheriff's department four years ago when Thomas Higgins decided not to seek a fourth term. A graduate of the FBI National Law Enforcement Academy and holder of a master's degree in criminal justice, Gallivan left a meteoric career with the New York State Police to win the sheriff's post in a fierce campaign against Rocco Diina, who has since become Buffalo's police commissioner.

Gallivan has performed well in his first term, improving the professionalism of his department both through better training and better equipment, and working to draw the community closer through outreach and education efforts. He has, by and large, met the high expectations set for him.

Opposing him is Barbara Miller-Williams, a Buffalo police officer for 14 years and currently the Ellicott District member of the Buffalo Common Council. She says she never wanted to be a permanent Council member and so, after three terms, decided to leave the post and seek the sheriff's position.

Her resume certainly qualifies her for consideration. Besides serving as a police officer, Miller-Williams holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice/office administration and a master's in student personnel administration. She has acquired negotiating and budgeting skills as a Council member. She is active in many community groups.

At another time, against a different candidate, those qualifications might be enough for election. But against Gallivan's, they don't match up, especially as the county and nation enter what may be a years-long era of heightened security. It's no time to reject the skills of someone like Gallivan, who has served as a police administrator for many years, and with distinction. He knows the job. Voters should let him keep doing it.

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