A longtime Erie County law enforcement officer has passed away.
Former Erie County Sheriff Thomas F. Higgins died on Tuesday. He was 88.
Sheriff Higgins was elected to the role in 1985 and served as sheriff for 12 years. Previous to that, he served on the Buffalo Police Department for 21 years.
Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw issued this statement on the passing of former Erie County Sheriff Higgins:
"I am very sorry to learn of the passing of Sheriff Higgins. He was an old-school politician and a friend to all. Always a gentleman, even when you disagreed with him. He was active many years after leaving elected office and was recently lobbying to give elected officials a raise, one I was opposed to, and he always teased me about it. All around great guy. Politics today needs more Sheriff Higgins. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
Congressman Brian Higgins shared this statement:
“Sheriff Tom Higgins was a dear friend of mine and of this community. He leaves behind an exceptional legacy of service as the most accomplished law enforcement leader of his generation. Sheriff Higgins was a community protector and an American patriot. He served with honor in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War and came home to begin a more than 40-year distinguished career in law enforcement, first in the Buffalo Police Department and then in the Erie County Sheriff’s Department. In retirement he continued his involvement in neighborhood activities, was a great family man and remained a strong voice for veterans. We will miss his grand presence and big smile but are forever grateful to have had Sheriff Higgins as a leader and friend to Western New York.”
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz shared this statement:
"I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Erie County Sheriff Thomas Higgins. Sheriff Higgins served our country in Korea and our community, first as an officer of the Buffalo Police Department, then undersheriff to Sheriff Ken Braun and finally as our sheriff from 1985 through 1997. Sheriff Higgins served with distinction and was highly regarded by all who knew him. I had the pleasure to know Sheriff Higgins for more than twenty years and relied on his advice in dealing with a number of county issues. I offer my deepest condolences to his family and friends, and to honor his service to our nation and county, I have directed all flags at Erie County facilities to be flown at half-staff through Friday, June 29. He was a good man who will be missed by many."