Union endorses Homer police chief for Cortland County sheriff

CORTLAND, N.Y. – The County Police Association of Cortland announced Thursday its endorsement of Mark Helms for sheriff of Cortland County.


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The union, CPAC, Inc., represents 33 employees at the Cortland County Sheriff’s Department, according to a press release.

“This is not a decision we made lightly, since it is not without risk, however sometimes we all have to stand up for what we believe,” CPAC President David Tobias said in a statement.

Tobias said the union has never previously made an endorsement for a political candidate.

Village of Homer Police Chief Mark Helms at the Cortland County Dairy Parade in June

Village of Homer Police Chief Mark Helms at the Cortland County Dairy Parade in June (Peter Blanchard/Cortland Voice)

Helms has been police chief of the village of Homer since 2013. Prior to that, he spent 20 years working in the sheriff’s department, where he started working as a corrections officer in 1987. He was named a road patrol captain in 2009 before retiring in 2013.

Tobias said the county needs a leader who can combat “the landscape of the crimes being committed within our county,” which “seems to be in a downward spiral with a noticeable change in violent and drug related incidents.”

Helms, a Democrat, is facing a challenge from Cortland County Undersheriff Herb Barnhart, who is running on the Republican ticket.

Sheriff Lee Price is retiring at the end of this year.


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