Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson recently spoke to the Victor-Farmington Rotary Club on his role as leader of the department and his plans for the future.
Henderson assumed office in January 2019 after being elected to the position in 2018. He is a 35-year veteran law enforcement officer who started his career in 1984 when he joined the department as a deputy.
The sheriff said being a law enforcement officer is a tradition that encompasses three generations of his family. His grandfather was a member of the Canandaigua Police Department. His father had a long career in the New York State Police, retiring as a lieutenant and zone commander in Troop E. Henderson’s brother, Mark, is chief of police for the town of Brighton in Monroe County.
Henderson discussed the various services provided by his agency and the departmental structure that facilitates his ability to efficiently coordinate the various responsibilities of his office.
Overall, the department has approximately 300 employees who serve in six divisions that include the criminal division, patrol division, jail division and civil division. It houses the county’s 911 call center and has a canine unit comprised of four dogs, with plans to add a fifth. Grants from the Department of Homeland Security increased support of the canine program. Henderson outlined the roles of canines in law enforcement, which include explosive detection, drug detection, handler protection and tracking. The marine division regularly provides coverage on Canandaigua and Honeoye lakes, as well as Seneca Lake when necessary.
The CMAC Arts Center in Hopewell requires deputies and canines for major events held at the facility. Henderson said there will be 25 concerts requiring coverage by the department in 2019.
The department works with police in Geneva and Canandaigua, NYSP, and other law enforcement agencies in the Finger Lakes and Monroe County.
The sheriff discussed the opioid epidemic and impact of marijuana while answering questions from Rotarians in a free-flowing discussion.
In his conclusion, Henderson said he was honored to serve as sheriff of Ontario County. He expressed his thanks for the support he received from the community, and thanked Victor-Farmington Rotary for its annual law enforcement recognition dinner that honors officers from the sheriff’s department and NYSP. Ontario County Deputy Karl Nelson received a 2019 “Service Above Self” Award at the dinner on Police Memorial Day. Henderson participated in the award presentation.