Niagara Gazette

January 19, 2013

Reinforcements OK'd for sheriff's office

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — The Niagara County Sheriff's office has the county Legislature's OK to hire three temporary full-time staff members to fill in for officers who are on long-term disability leave.

Two deputy sheriff posts, and one correction officer post, will be created and filled by mid-February. The deputies will be paid $23.37 per hour and the corrections officer will be paid $16.11 per hour.

Alongside them, two deputies and a correction officer all injured in duty and not presently working are being paid their full wages. The county has appealed to the state to grant disability retirement to all three officers.

Sheriff James Voutour said health privacy law prohibits him from naming the officers, but it's known that one of them is Deputy Allen Gerhardt, whose legs were amputated in a patrol car crash in July 2011.

The temporary deputies are needed to bring the sheriff's road patrol force back up to "desired" strength, Voutour said.

Wages of the temporary officers won't cost the county any extra, as it is being reimbursed by Workman's Compensation for the wages paid to the disabled officers.

Temporary officers will be hired permanently as the disabled officers are retired, over the next couple of years, according to Voutour.