QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Jim LaFarr.
“I knew from age of three that I wanted to be a police officer.”
LaFarr has been with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office for 28 years. He started as a patrol officer then moved on to the Criminal Investigations Unit as Supervisor and then in charge of Internal Affairs. The married father of one adult son began his career as a peace officer in the village of Lake George where he developed a strong sense of community policing.
“It’s kind of challenging in a Sheriff’s department because one day you’re in Queensbury the next you’re in Chestertown.”
He says his solution will be to assign some officers to specific areas.
“They will stay in those locations and just ask them during your free time get out if there’s a ball game. Get out and walk around. And not just be there for public safety but be there to meet people.”
He’s also wanting to bring changes to his jail.
“[Inmates] struggle. They struggle with addiction and mental health. I’d like to implement more programs in our correctional facility to help people while they’re here with us.”
He’s also helping his staff grapple with bail reform — a challenge when your county sits along what’s known as the Heroin Highway.
“And we are going to be making arrests of some of these offenders knowing that immediately following arrest, they are going to be released. They are going to Vermont or New York City, and it’s going to be very challenging to bring them back.”
LaFarr has had his critics. Most recently regarding the county’s nepotism policy and whether it would prohibit his son, a Lake George officer, from working at the Sheriff’s office. LaFarr says he would not be involved in any possible hiring process of his son or indirectly supervising him.
The previous sheriff, Bud York, retired at the end of 2019 after 12 years on the job. LaFarr, a Republican, ran unopposed during the November election after winning the primary and was sworn in on January 1.
He says he’s proud of his department and asks the community to keep an eye on the good things he feels are coming.
“You’re going to see us engaged early and often.”