Akshar discusses plans during first week as Broome County Sheriff

Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 9:45 PM EST
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Binghamton (WBNG) -- Following former Sheriff David Harder’s retirement, newly sworn in Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar has begun his first week in office.

“Taking the oath of office was a very proud moment post-election day of course,” said Akshar. “We’ve had a very busy couple of days as you well know, tragically there was a fatal accident involving a 13-year-old boy. There was no lull with respect to transitioning into the first day. That’s okay because I have long said if elected, we were ready to lead on day one.”

During his campaign, Akshar put an emphasis on building trust and transparency between law enforcement and the community. In order to improve communication, he said the sheriff’s office has hired a Public Information Officer.

“It’s critically important that I as the sheriff and we as the agency effectively communicate with the community,” he said. “They deserve nothing less, and I think the community saw that yesterday. As we got information, we did the very best job we could to share that with the community.”

Another top focus during his campaign -- the Broome County Correctional Facility. Akshar said the correctional facility currently lacks 38 members.

He said plans are already underway to address this staffing crisis. Starting this week, he said he will meet with the command staff in the correctional facility. He said he has been in communication with county officials as well as the union delegation from corrections to address the staffing issue.

Akshar said he will also be announcing a transfer program for the correctional facility in the upcoming weeks.

“It is our intention to really think globally, to think outside the box, to ensure that we are bringing as many qualified people through the doors as we possibly can to alleviate some of the pressure,” he said. “The reality is being 38 members down; it is putting significant pressure and stress on the men and women who currently work here.”

He said addressing the staffing crisis will open up doors to address several other issues throughout the correctional facility.

“I can’t achieve my goals and my campaign promises with respect to opening up visitation or having more robust reentry programs for incarcerated individuals until I get people through the door,” Akshar said. “I’ve never been one to only focus on one issue at a time. This really is a matter of addressing multiple issues all at the same time to help us get to the end result.”