Ontario County sheriff’s deputies no longer have to live within county limits

Ontario County loosening residency requirement for sheriff’s office

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CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. — The Ontario County Sheriff’s Office is trying out a new recruitment tactic. They’ve changed up their residency requirements to allow deputies to live outside county limits. 

The county Board of Supervisors passed the bill — effective immediately — last Thursday. 

Ontario County Sheriff David Cirencione said that they pushed for the switch once they realized they were losing out on qualified candidates.

“We had some candidates that were interested in working for us, but had ties to neighboring counties where their spouses already had jobs and where they were already somewhat established,” Cirencione explained.

In most town and municipal police forces, Cirencoine said these candidates don’t have to move, as there are limited or loose residency requirements. 

The move also keeps them competitive against other county sheriff’s offices. Cirencione said that the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Steuben County Sheriff’s Office have both loosened their own residency requirements in recent years.

But this doesn’t mean that Ontario County deputies can now live in Albany; they have to stay in a neighboring county. And, Cirencione said he pushed to include a provision that limits those out-of-county cops to only 20% of the entire sheriff’s office, to make sure they can bring in manpower quickly for emergencies. When they’re fully staffed, that totals out to less than 16 of the roughly 80-person force.

 “You’re looking at some of these locations — 45 minutes to an hour from our county line,” he said. “We can’t have everybody that far away where we’re an hour before we can get extra manpower in when we need it.”

Cirencione said he’s confident these out-of-towners will still have the same connections to Ontario County as the folks who live there. He believes the many community outreach programs and initiatives will keep all of his deputies familiar with the communities they serve. Also, he and many others in leadership positions are still required to live within county borders.   

“Ideally do we want our officers to live in the community that they police?” he asked. “Absolutely, but we also have to be realistic in that that there are good candidates that live just outside of the county lines that want to work here but have said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m not selling my house and making my family move just to take this job.’ And those are the people that we’re still trying to make this a viable option to work here with us.”