MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office says that members of Chautauqua Institution Security will no longer be designated as “special deputies.”
Sheriff Jim Quattrone says the Institution has operated a security team for several years under the premise that they were “special deputies” appointed by the Chautauqua County Sheriff, although, Sheriff Quattrone says his office doesn’t grant such authority to do so.
“I cannot attempt to find loopholes in order to confer “special deputy” status on employees of a private non-profit organization,” said Quattrone. “The Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police continue to operate under a closest car policy and whichever agency is closest will be dispatched to any call that is reported to our agency.”
Furthermore, the sheriff’s office says the change in status was communicated to Chautauqua Institution authorities earlier in the year when it was discovered that there was no such authority, which places the county, the sheriff’s office and any individuals operating under the false premise that they are ‘special deputies’ under potential liability and legal consequences.
The Chautauqua Institution says they are disappointed to learn of the change, however plan to continue to provide safe grounds.
“We are confident in our ability to retain a similar level of safety and security to our property and patrons as that which we have provided for 40 years under a shared services cooperative arrangement with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office,” the institution said in a statement. “In the meantime, Chautauqua Institution Police, who are all trained law enforcement officers employed as sheriff’s deputies or officers within local municipalities — and who serve under the leadership of Director of Campus Security and Safety Joseph A. Gerace, the Chautauqua County Sheriff for nearly 25 years — will continue to maintain 24/7 safety and security coverage and assist with emergency situations on our grounds.”
“For the more than four decades that the Special Deputy designation has been in effect, Chautauqua Institution has fully absorbed the significant financial costs and personnel risks of protecting the Institution’s grounds, private property, citizens, and the 100,000 patrons we draw to the grounds and region annually,” the institution furthered. “We are hopeful we will achieve alternative authority status so the County does not have to bear that expense.”