Sheriff David Harder is the Republican candidate for Broome County sheriff. Elected in 1998, Harder has been in law enforcement for more than 50 years.
1. Safety and security are a major concern in areas across the county. How do you plan to address concerns regarding crime, specifically in Binghamton and Johnson City?
“The Broome County Sheriff’s Office works in conjunction with the Binghamton and Johnson City Police Departments to protect and serve the residents within these districts. For example, we partnered with Binghamton in a program called GIVE (Gun-Involved Violence Elimination), which works to reduce and prevent firearm-related crimes. I was also a founding member of the Special Investigations Unit, which allows members of my agency to work alongside local officers to take dangerous drugs and dealers off the streets. I have a great working relationship with Chief [Joseph] Zikuski (BPD) and Chief [Brent] Dodge (JCPD) and [we] are always looking for creative solutions to keep students and community members safe.”
2. Recently, activists have voiced concerns about conditions in the Broome County Jail, which the Sheriff’s Office oversees. What are your thoughts on the jail’s current conditions and what changes would you make, if any?
“One of [my] main responsibilities as sheriff is maintaining custody of prisoners remanded by the courts. I’m proud of the fact that under my leadership, our corrections division has been recognized and accredited by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and the New York State Sheriff’s Association throughout my time in office.”
3. How does your prior experience, both in and out of law enforcement, make you a good candidate for sheriff? What do you bring to the table that your opponent cannot?
“With more than 50 years serving this community, I know what it means to be a public servant and a first responder. I’ve served in many different capacities: deputy sheriff, sergeant, detective and then was elected sheriff in 1998. In that time, I started in the jail, moved to the law enforcement academy [and] became a patrol deputy, where I was then assigned as the first narcotics officer in Broome County. Later, I became the first warrant officer in Broome County. I have an intimate knowledge of each level of law enforcement and the many challenges that come with being a law enforcement officer.”
4. Why should students vote for you?
“When I first ran for office, my primary goal was to provide strong leadership to the Sheriff’s Office and make our community a safer place to live, study, work and raise a family. I’m once again running for sheriff to continue our progress in creating one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the state. I’ve had the pleasure of being an active member of the [Binghamton University] community serving as a guest lecturer, availing the Sheriff’s Office resources for greater classroom immersion and working alongside the University Police Department to make campus a safer place. Serving the people of Broome County and the University community over the past 50 years has been the greatest honor of my life, and I plan to keep working as hard as I can to deliver on our county’s needs and goals.”