CONQUEST — Town of Conquest residents had a chance to meet with Cayuga County Sheriff Brian Schenck Monday night, as the new sheriff stopped at the town board meeting as part of an initiative to reach out to the community.
Since taking office in January, Schenck — who took over for retiring Sheriff David Gould — has made it a priority to meet with town and village leaders and community members so they can better work together to make communities safer.
"When it relates to safety here locally, I want you to feel comfortable reaching out not only to me but to anybody in the sheriff's office," Schenck said. "It's really important for me to let the members of our community know if you have an issue and if you need anything you can reach out to me,"
So far, Schenck has made stops at meetings in Mentz, Locke, Cato, and now Conquest, with the town of Moravia up next in June.
After giving meeting attendees a brief overview of his career with the sheriff's office, Schenck outlined some of his priorities in public safety and projects and initiatives already underway.
Particularly, Schenck described the department's work in prevention, awareness, and recovery efforts related to the opioid epidemic and other drug use.
For example, a new transition coordinator will soon start at the Cayuga County Jail. The focus of that position, Schenck said, will be connecting low-level offenders who committed minor crimes, mainly to fuel their addictions, with services and other support as they leave the jail in order to reduce recidivism.
The sheriff also provided residents and the town board with pamphlets on other department programs including its prescription pill drop off, internet and phone fraud, domestic violence, and recovery services.
Several board members said they appreciated Schenck's.
Town Supervisor Charles Knapp joked he was surprised by the generous offer when Schenck called to ask if he could be put on the meeting's agenda.
"I asked him 'What for? Did we do something?'" Knapp joked.
In other news:
The town postponed action for 30 days on a proposal to install guardrails on Conquest-Victory Townline Road in order to wait for a civil engineer's written report. According to Knapp, the project would cost $29,000 and would also change the road from two to one lanes.
The board did direct Town Attorney Norman Chirco to seek abstract services to determine specifically which portions belong to either Conquest or the town of Victory.