Page 6 • February 2017 • Tell Them You Saw It In The Randolph News • Like us on facebook www.facebook.com/mypaperonline.com
Gannon Leads Productive Role As New Morris County Sheriff
By Cheryl Conway nto the second month of his newly elected position, Morris County Sheriff Jim Gannon is off to a strong start in his mission to establish new partnerships, better services and improved technologies. Gannon of the Township of Boonton began Jan. 2 as the 77th sheriff of Morris County, taking the reins from Edward Rochford who served for 24 years since 1993. After November’s election win, Gannon met with Rochford to help with the transition and visited the Morris County Correctional Facility to prepare for its return of operations to the sheriff’s department. Having been in law enforcement for 33 years, Gannon was ready to step into his next challenge.
“It’s been great,” says Gannon. “I love the role. Morris County Sheriff’s Office is a very proud agency,” with the “finest officers, support staff second to none. That’s a great start. We also have people that are hungry for improvements,” from “senior people” with great ideas, to innovative “young folks.” “Good things are happening,” he continues. “The agency is changing before our eyes. I want to improve on all that they’ve [previous sheriffs] done. They’ve done a phenomenal job.” Before Gannon came on board, the Morris County Freeholders had been managing the county jail for 16 months, since 2015 after taking it away from the sheriff due to issues such
as officers’ salary hikes and overtime costs. That same board voted unanimously, 7-0, in Dec. 2016, to return the day-day management of the county jail back to the sheriff’s department. The sheriff’s office had run the county jail for 277 years, since 1739, says Gannon, who spent 100 hours reviewing the matter before presenting to freeholders the benefits of one agency. “The jail had always been the responsibility of the sheriff,” he says. To have it returned, made the most sense for better operations and partnerships. “Bottom line is we will work together. It’s more suitable that I take over.” As one agency- the Bureau of Law Enforcement and the Bureau of Cor-
rections- the new Morris County Sheriff’s Office employs 330 employees, which include 160 officers at the correctional facility, 90 officers in law enforcement, and additional support staff. There is “a lot going on” with the two bureaus, says Gannon, with a unique situation and a lot to offer, such as a jail population of 245 inmates; a crime scene unit that is a shared service, assisting towns with 1,262 crimes last year; its own bomb squad; Sheriff Emergency Response Team (SERT); a new and improved Morris County Sheriff’s Trends & Analysis Team (STAT); Canine Unit that went out 500 times last year in search of missing persons like elderly and children, narcotics,
explosives detention; and a warrant squad to pick up individuals with violations. “We really play into the role of all that’s going on in Morris County Law Enforcement,” says Gannon. The sheriff is also proud that “We are triple accredited,” in law enforcement, correctional side and healthcare side. “These inmates are in our vicinity; we make sure they get proper care,” from dental care to mental abuse treatment. During his first 100 day transition, or phase one, Gannon spent time interviewing all personnel “seeing how we can do better.” In phase two, he wants to develop partnerships and establish a new organization. One plan is to have an
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assessment of the Morris County Courthouse complex to strengthen its infrastructure. The county has authorized an architect for $370,000 to come evaluate the complex, from floor plan to security, “to look at it holistically to see if it can be changed to accommodate the user.” The old courthouse building dates back to 1827 and is protected by the Nacontinued on next page