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Three Erie Co. Sheriff candidates face-off in forum, primary day less than a month away

Erie County S
Posted at 12:08 AM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 18:30:17-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Later this year, voters will elect a new sheriff for the first time in over a decade. Three candidates up for the Democratic nomination made their pitches at a forum hosted by VOICE-Buffalo on Monday evening.

Candidates Kimberly Beaty, Myles Carter, and Brian Gould participated. VOICE-Buffalo said it invited and did not receive a response from Karen Healy-Case, Ted DiNoto, and Steve Felano. They said John Garcia declined. 7 Eyewitness News has also reached out to those candidates, but has not heard back.

The first topic, a potential jail merger that would move many inmates from the county's downtown holding center to the correctional facility in Alden.

Retired BPD Deputy Commissioner Kim Beaty said both locations should stay, with reforms.

“If we move everything from the Erie County Holding Center out to Alden it’s gonna impact families, if we couldn’t get to the Galleria mall a few years ago on public transportation, how are we gonna get to Alden,” Beaty said.

Activist Myles Carter said one of the facilities should be closed, and transportation should be provided to families going to Alden.

Cheektowaga Assistant Chief of Police Brian Gould did not say what he wants to see, and that there are pros and cons to weigh.

“I’m hopefully that we have community forums within our community here, similar to this, where our leaders are listening to the concerns of our community," Gould said.

The candidates were asked about de-escalation techniques and how they'll prevent deaths and injuries in the holding center.

“Hire people that have been trained in behavioral health, that have been trained in mental health, that have those proper de-escalation skills already under their belt, so that on day one we’re not providing new training to be updated or what have you," Carter said.

Carter also said officers must be held accountable, and hold their own accountable.

Beaty and Gould said officers need de-escalation training.

Gould said there should be body camera reviews, something he said the Cheektowaga Police Department does.

“That is something that as sheriff I would make sure happens both on the road patrol and within the facilities that are under my command,” Gould said.

The candidates were also asked about money generated from jail phone calls and commissaries. Carter and Gould said they would but out new RFPs for the companies that provide those services. Beaty said any profit made should go back to programs that help inmates, such as job training.

Candidates also discussed solitary confinement, working with community organizations to help inmates, and other issues here.

Friday is the deadline to register to vote in the primary, or have your registration form post-marked by. Early voting begins on June 12th. The primary is June 22nd.