Should the Allegany County Sheriff’s Department revive a road patrol? What about a drug-task force?
1333 readers voted, results indicate an appetite for drug crackdown
By Andrew Harris
In a typical election for Allegany County Sheriff, the question of a road patrol and of enforcement prioritites are major themes. The last competitive election for Sheriff was when soon-to-be retired Rick Whitney ousted incumbent William Tompkins from office in 2010. Last month, current Undersheriff Scott Cicirello ran unopposed and there was no debate or talk of his plan for the office during that campaign.
Until last week.
We now know that Cicirello has hired veteran lawman Walt Mackney to serve as Undersheriff and help him focus on a priority: illegal drugs. The duo have made public appearances and reiterated that the next Allegany County Sheriff Office will be working hard to send drug dealers to jail.
Those who voted in the poll seem to agree. Only 11% of voters indicated that an drug task force would be an exercise in futility, while 40% voted to pursue a crackdown.
The road patrol was a lower priority with votes split on that subject. While more votes were cast against renewing a county road patrol, 23% feel that Allegany County needs deputies patrolling our roads.
While the notion of a new road patrol is always on the shelf, most county leaders indicate that it would be unlikely. Not so with the a revived drug task force. With ex-NYS Troopers now at the helm of the department, Cicirello and Mackney have the ability to either integrate with exisiting drug task forces like Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET,) or create something dedicated to Allegany County.
The policies and initiatives of the new Allegany County Sheriff’s department will be certainly making news in early 2023.
Now for the part you all have been waiting for. That time in 1993 that Walt Mackney pulled me over.
I was a new driver, just picked up my buddy in my red 1987 Nissan Pathfinder to go driving around. We were driving from Wellsville to Andover, likely to our family farm at the time on Quigg Hollow Road.
My pal, Jay Torok, also a 1995 Wellsville High School graduate, likely had inserted a cassette into the dashboard, most likely to listen to Canned Heat’s,”Going up the country,” over and over. Headed east toward Andover, we probably passed 10 cars before we reached Elm Valley.
Determined to make it to Andover in record time we came upon a sedan, going only 60 in a 55mph. Assuming it was some “old person,” the urge to pass just couldn’t wait any longer as we passed Nickie Lunn’s horsefarm.
Despite the double yellow lines, on a bridge, I swerved out to pass the slow poke and then accelerated over the bridge. Success!! “Another one bites the dust,” might as well been have been queued up on the stereo.
Suddenly the sedan was right behind me and I watched a hand reach out the driver side window and slap a flashing light on the hood.
I turned to Torok and said, “Oh no, that was a cop I think!”
I was right, and not any cop. It was a NYS Trooper, part of the Bureau of Criminal Investigations, who do not normally do traffic stops and drive a marked car.
The Pathfinder pulled over and a man dressed in a suit quickly approached the vehicle.
“Give me your license and registration,” the officer said in a very annoyed tone
“Mr. Harris what are you thinking!!??!! You just passed me on a double solid line, going over a bridge, doing over 70MPH!!”
“Is that a Captain America tie?” my friend asked from the passenger seat with a grin.
Mackney was not in the mood to giggle about his fashion or mince words.
“I should call in our road patrol right now to issue you as many tickets as we can think of!! You risked my life, your passengers life, and anyone else who could have been on the road during that stunt!”
Mackney steamed, gave us a few more choice words, and lucky for me, had more pressing business to attend to. He didn’t call in the road patrol on us but I won’t forget the encounter or the tie!!
Walt if you are reading this, I’ve never passed a car over a double solid line since and it has been almost 30 years since that day !! Best of luck in your new role with Allegany County!