“It’s a culture problem that has to change,” said Montgomery County Sheriff candidate Jim Glorioso while talking about the current state of the sheriff’s department during a recent interview at the Walter Elwood Museum.
Citing his past experience as a deputy patrol at the department, Glorioso said that improving the morale and work culture will be one of the first issues he will work on if elected.
“The employee morale issue is a piece of a bigger problem, which is leadership and staffing and nepotism, which is by far I think the biggest issue. When we have employees that are treated differently – sometimes when there’s the same issue – one person is held way more accountable than another person. Or when they’re severely overworked because they’re understaffed or they’re not appreciated, then that employee morale problem bleeds into the community and it bleeds into their performance.”
Glorioso explained why he believes he could be more effective at bringing change to the department compared to his opponent, Jeff Smith, and Smith’s choice for undersheriff, Carl Rust.
“So we look at this race here, and it’s one of the most important differences between me and Jeff. It’s because I don’t have a lot of friends or family that work there. I’m coming in there with a job to make it a respectful place for everyone to work evenly, fairly. And I can make the right decisions not worrying about affecting a long-term friend’s job.”
“And I think that’s important because [I’m] going to get the right people in the right places. Whereas with Jeff, he did 30 years there so it’s impossible for him not to have a lot of friends that work there. And that’s why he gets support from them. But he’s going to have his longtime friend as his undersheriff. Both of them have kids that are deputies there. So right there, I mean, how do you effectively lead your best friend or your lifelong friend and then both of your kids without [being unbiased] there? It’d be difficult.”
“And then if something was to happen, how does the community view it? If Carl’s son or Jeff’s son gets jammed up in a situation, will the community have to worry about a cover up? Because we just had a cover up issue there. And that cover up problem has been a problem there for years. There’s been a lot of cover ups, let’s put it that way. It’s a culture.”
“And I think there’s people at that office that are feeling that [if elected] I’m going to come in there and just fire them all and that’s not the case. I want to come in there and I want to make them successful…If they have the talents then they should be utilized,” he said.
Glorioso said that adding part-time staff is another way to help build morale as well as save money on overtime costs.
“It’s going to reduce the mandated shifts that people are working, meaning that they are forced to come in and work. And when that happens, people are working when they’re tired or when they don’t want to be there, which, again, can cause accidents or mistakes,” he said.
Glorioso added that he is not looking to eliminate all overtime, as he understands that working a reasonable number of overtime hours is an incentive to department staff.
When asked about how he would approach the problem of heroin and other opioid abuse in the county, Glorioso said that he wants to see the sheriff’s office more aggressive in fighting the major suppliers of illegal drugs in the area.
“We’re not seeing the high level drug dealers being taken off the streets,” he said. “We are seeing the low-level people and the users being arrested left and right. So my priority is to focus on the bigger fish in the ocean and shutting it down from the top.”
“Try to find an article from the sheriff’s office [about] the last time they made a major drug bust in this county,” said Glorioso. “I couldn’t … I can’t find it. That’s a main concern for me, is that our county sheriff’s office is not making any major drug busts.
“I also have been very vocal that I wanted to start more of a regional-style drug task force. Cross training the investigators between our neighboring counties, more specifically Fulton County, and working with them almost as one because I believe Fulton County and Montgomery County are almost like…one county when it comes to crime,” said Glorioso.
“The revitalization of the detective’s division at the sheriff’s office is one of the most important parts of that whole thing,” he added. “It’s going to be a complete overhaul. I am talking about new detectives, part-time detectives, specialty role detectives, more of a professional environment.”
Glorioso said he believes that increased local utilization of a national tip-line program called Crime Stoppers will be beneficial to the county. He started the Mohawk Valley Crime Stoppers program in 2015, and the program currently serves Oneida County, NY and the surrounding area.
“I think it was unfortunate that we didn’t utilize Crime Stoppers here the way it could have been utilized because public information is certainly one of the most important parts of it. And so if elected, I am going to start a new Crime Stoppers program exclusively for Montgomery County, and I can work with the other Crime Stoppers programs on sharing the information.”
Glorioso said he would like the sheriff’s department to be more involved with the schools, and is interested in implementing a Crime Stoppers program geared toward students. Overall, he said that the department should be more involved with the schools to create awareness of drug abuse, bullying, social media safety, and helping teachers identify at-risk youth.
He stressed that education and communication are key to preventing crimes before they happen.
“Running a proactive sheriff’s office, we’re going to do more and within the communities, training people on how to protect themselves, secure their house and assets. Doing things like having a seminar at the sheriff’s office with vendors that deal with security camera equipment and stuff like that.”
He mentioned one area in particular that he will be paying attention to is in the Town of Glen and Town of Florida, where Glorioso said there is a persistent burglary issue.
“That’s something that’s been going on for several years now. The community’s very frustrated with it. And there’s certainly something going on from someone in that area that’s been going on for a while,” he said.
As a City of Amsterdam resident, Glorioso says he has a personal stake in working with the Amsterdam Police Department to address crime issues within the city which he sees as affecting the quality of life for residents.
“We have a good police department. Certainly, every police department around here can always use the help,” said Glorioso. “I want to create a sheriff’s office that’s involved throughout the whole county as a partner. We will be involved in the city.”
“I feel that any additional resources to prevent the deterioration, especially with crime in the City of Amsterdam, should be well received by residents, home owners, tax payers because as a home owner here, I see how it’s becoming ,” said Glorioso. “The element of crime in Amsterdam is becoming a concern of mine. I think that there’s some things that the sheriff’s office can help Amsterdam Police Department attack better, like the heroin and drug problem.”
“I think that every resident deserves a sheriff’s office that’s well aware of what’s going on in the city because it’s the biggest population in this county. For me to step back and say, ‘let them handle it,’ it actually preventing me from seeing what could be bleeding into the rest of the county.”
Glorioso stressed that he sees the sheriff’s department primarily providing help to the city in the form of investigation support, rather than with patrols.
“I think what’s important is, for the city residents, is that they’re going to have a sheriff that’s very passionate about making Amsterdam an amazing place,” he said.
In the area of administration and operational efficiency, Glorioso said he will draw on his previous experience in retail management and corporate loss prevention.
“I have a lot of experience in [profit and loss statements] and budgeting and so that’s going to be a strong point for me to maximize the budget properly,” said Glorioso.
Noting the tendency for funds to be moved around from one line item to another within municipal budgets, he added that he would “also make sure that the money that we get is being used for what it’s supposed to.”
He said that if elected, he is willing to work for one year without a salary, using the money for positions and programs he believes are needed, but not being filled or implemented. Some examples he gave included a new Crime Stoppers coordinator, an additional part-time detective, an additional drug dog, and purchasing billboards to bring attention to cold cases.
Glorioso also said he will look to restore revenue that the correctional facility used to generate by housing federal inmates. He credited former undersheriff Pete Vroman, who is also a retired U.S. Marshall for working to generate that revenue which at one time reached over a million dollars in a year. He said he would like to offer Vroman a temporary consultant position to help get the county back on track.
“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to request a $30,000 temporary six-month position for a consultant to put a plan together that can potentially make the county a million dollars a year,” said Glorioso.
According to Glorioso, Greene County recently had to shut down their correctional facility, and Schoharie County is looking to build a bigger facility. He said there may be an opportunity for Montgomery County to temporarily house inmates from those counties.
“If I can make…the county money, and put that money towards better services and better equipment, then I’m going to do it,” he said.
Asked about his position on second amendment rights, Glorioso replied that he is a “realist” on the subject and noted that he is a gun owner himself.
“I think, personally, that everybody should have the right to protect themselves. Especially in Montgomery County. Why I think its important is because being a [former] deputy here, I saw how sometimes it could take me 20 minutes plus to go to a call, especially deep in the heart of Montgomery County.”
Glorioso said that he has mixed feelings about the New York Safe Act. While he doesn’t like the restriction on the number of rounds for magazines, there are other aspects that he is in favor of.
“It does make sure that people that shouldn’t have weapons, don’t. It does make sure that people are held a little bit more accountable if they were to use it in certain crimes,” he said.
Overall, Glorioso said he will allow deputies to use their discretion in regards to enforcement of the Safe Act, and suggested the strictest enforcement would be reserved for cases involving major violations.
In regards to gun ownership in the county, Glorioso said, “I want to increase gun [safety] awareness, do more gun training programs. I want to make sure that people that are qualified, and have the ability to possess a weapon and the [desire] to, that they have that opportunity to.”
According to his biography, Glorioso got his start in the corporate world at Circuit City in 1994, working his way up as a sales associate, to operations manager, sales manager, and finally to a store director. In 2003, he began a career at Starbucks as a manager, working his way up to district trainer, and then as a regional loss prevention manager. During the same time, he graduated from the Zone 14 Law Enforcement Police Academy and started working part-time as a deputy at the Dutchess County Sheriff’s office. In 2009, Glorioso started working for Dollar General as a regional loss prevention manager, which led him to re-locate to Amsterdam in 2010. Along with the move, he transferred to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s department and worked as a deputy there through 2013. He has also served part-time as a patrol officer at the Fort Plain Police Department for approximately three years.
“My corporate experience was heavily involved in law enforcement because I was conducting five plus investigations a week that involved law enforcement. When I talk about my career, I’ve had well over a thousand investigations, arrests, dealing with police departments from all over the country. So I was able to see different ways that not only law enforcement but those communities dealt with issues in the criminal world,” said Glorioso.
Recently, Glorioso announced that if elected, he intends to hire Fabrizia Rodriguez as a jail administrator.
“I watched Fabrizia over the last year and a half, two years and learned about her. I saw how much she was involved in the school districts, the Hispanic community. When I approached her to work with me on the campaign, I already knew that she was one of my top two or three I wanted… as the jail administrator,” he said.
Glorioso will appear on this November’s ballot on the Democratic, Woman’s Equality, and Working Families party lines. His opponent, Jeff Smith, will appear on the Republican, Conservative, Independence, and Reform party lines.
For more information, visit gloriosoforsheriff.com.