Philip Povero coming out of retirement to fill in as Ontario County Sheriff

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (WHEC) — After 47 years working with Ontario County law enforcement, Philip Povero retired. Twenty-eight of those years he was the county’s sheriff. Since then, he has spent time with family, especially his grandson, Charlie, who is in kindergarten.

The sudden resignation of former Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson and his undersheriff in September left the office in a leadership void. As a result, Povero is coming out of retirement and putting on the blue uniform one more time. His swearing-in ceremony occurred Monday afternoon.

“When I was contacted and asked to come in and speak and talk about coming back to this position, I took the request very seriously,” Povero said. “It’s difficult to say no to an organization that has been that much of an important part of your life.”

After hostile workplace allegations against former Sheriff Kevin Henderson came to light last month resulting in his and the undersheriff’s resignation, county officials said considering Povero was a serious and critical decision.

“The board of supervisors has been very clear since the beginning that this was undertaken to support and protect the employees of this department from the prior admiration,” said Chris DeBolt, county administrator for Ontario County.

However, times have changed since Povero was the last sheriff in 2018. He is now faced with an understaffed workforce with low morale and an office with a tarnished reputation. Despite all of that, Povero says he is determined to overcome it.

“The number one message that we’re sending today is that the members of this organization are truly dedicated to the mission. We’re going to reinforce that as they go forward and try through law enforcement efforts, through correction efforts, through emergency community efforts to enhance the quality of life and promote safety in Ontario County to its utmost,” Povero said.