Labor council endorses O’Brien, Turck for sheriff posts

Labor council endorses O'Brien, Turck for sheriff posts
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 6:25 AM EDT
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GOUVERNEUR, New York (WWNY) - With less than two months to go until Primary Night, we hear from candidates for sheriff in both St. Lawrence and Lewis counties.

Undersheriff Sean O’Brien and Detective Rick Engle are vying for the St. Lawrence County position and current Sheriff Mike Carpinelli and retired state trooper Nichole Turck are running for the office in Lewis County.

The Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties Central Trades and Labor Council hosted the candidates in Gouverneur Wednesday night. In the end, the council endorsed O’Brien and Turck for sheriff in their respective counties.

Each candidate had seven minutes to introduce themselves and their platforms.

After introductions, a question-and-answer session was held, with each candidate getting different questions.

Engle was asked about the recent swatting events at St. Lawrence County schools.

“We don’t pick and choose which law enforcement agencies, which deputies we want to invest into,” he said. “Everybody needs equal training. Because you have to understand, an active shooter response is an individual law enforcement response to that incident.”

When it comes to recruiting, O’Brien says that’s not a problem in St. Lawrence County.

“There are zero openings for deputy sheriffs right now,” O’Brien said. “There are also zero openings for county correctional officer right now, and we’ve increased our staff to 60 correctional officers, and they’re all filled.”

The Lewis County candidates also had their chance to speak.

Carpinelli was thanked for his advocacy for men and women in uniform and, off-podium, was asked about the sale of assault-style weapons like AR-15s.

“I believe in the 2nd Amendment 100% that a person has a right to defend themselves,” Carpinelli said, but I also believe in law and order.”

Turk was asked about how she would improve the department.

“I want to find every resource possible that I can to utilize in the training aspect of things,” she said, “and also in cooperation with other agencies.”