History of the Sheriff's Office
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office was formed in 1821 with the appointment of Brockport merchant James Seymour as the first Sheriff. Seymour served a one-year term and was succeeded by John T. Patterson, who served from 1822 to 1825. In 1825, James Seymour would return to office, this time as the elected Sheriff. The three-year term of office would continue until 1980, at which time it was changed to a four-year term.
Numerous other distinguished citizens have served as Sheriff of Monroe County. Ezra M. Parsons, elected Sheriff in 1831, later became a prominent banker. At age 30, Elias Pond was the youngest Sheriff ever elected.
Sheriff Darius Perrin, a former Postmaster, carried out the first death sentence in Monroe County. Perrin had the unenviable task of hanging a convicted murderer. He is the only Sheriff to conduct two executions during his tenure. In the late 1800s five other executions were carried out by Monroe County Sheriffs before the task of executions was turned over to the New York State prison system in 1888. The state adopted electrocution at that time.
Hiram Sibley served as Sheriff from 1843 to 1846 and would later become one of the wealthiest people in the nation.
In 1908, Sheriff Willis K. Gillette was the first to put a sedan automobile on the road patrol.
Harley E. Hamil
Sheriff Harley E. Hamil experienced one of the most violent days in the history of the department when Deputy Simon J. Bermingham was killed by gunfire. Three other deputies were wounded in their attempt to arrest a suspect who had killed his father earlier in the day. Sheriff Hamil narrowly escaped death himself while trying to remove the body of Deputy Bermingham. The suspect was apprehended and was electrocuted at Auburn Prison 15 months after the murders of his father and Deputy Bermingham.
In 1922, Franklin W. Judson was elected Sheriff. A former New York State Assemblyman recalls that the Sheriff had three patrol cars for the whole county: one for east of the Genesee River, one for the west of the river and one for the Sheriff. Speeding became a major problem in the county and Judson was the first Sheriff to utilize motorcycles.
Albert H. Baker
Albert H. Baker, elected in 1925, brought many innovations to the department including the appointment of the first Chief Deputy, initiation of day and night patrols, and fingerprinting and photographing of all inmates.
Albert W. Skinner
Albert W. Skinner was elected Sheriff for the first of his 12 terms of office in 1938. Sheriff Skinner created the mounted patrol, bomb squad, and airport division. Perhaps one of the most trying times for Sheriff Skinner came in September of 1971, when he and a detachment of more than 40 deputies went to Attica Correctional Facility during the famous uprising that resulted in the deaths of many inmates and prison personnel.
Sheriff Skinner's incredible career came to an end in 1973 with the election of William Lombard as Sheriff. On October 27, 1975, Sheriff Skinner passed away at the age of 81. The man who defeated Skinner in 1974, William Lombard, was a former New York State Trooper and Rochester City Police Chief.
Upon his election, Sheriff Lombard instituted a series of changes that affected the department for decades to come. For the first time, deputies were dispersed into three substations or zones to quicken response time. He was the first Sheriff to utilize part-time deputies to patrol the parks, waterways and airport. Lombard began the first Trainee Program directed at area college criminal justice students. To combat drunk driving, Lombard began the Sheriff's Tactical Accident Reduction Unit.
Andrew P. Meloni
In 1980 Andrew P. Meloni was elected Sheriff. He had previously served in the department for 18 years in a variety of positions including Undersheriff. Taking office in 1980, Meloni was faced with an inmate population of 289 that swelled to 872 in just 10 years, and he embarked on an ambitious program of jail expansion.
In the course of his career as Sheriff, two crimes will forever be etched in his mind. On June 26, 1990, there was a $10.8 million armored car robbery in the Town of Henrietta. To date no arrests have been made. The second crime took place on May 23, 1994, when the disappearance of a blond-haired, 4-year-old girl named Kali Ann Poulton touched off the largest investigative force in the history of the county. The case was solved with the discovery of the body of the little girl and the arrest of a neighbor.
Patrick M. O'Flynn
Patrick O’Flynn began his career in the Office of the Sheriff as a Trainee in 1976. He would later accept a position as a Part-Time Deputy working in the County Parks during the season and in the Records Unit during the off season. He would later be accepted in the Road Patrol Academy, graduating in April of 1978. O'Flynn was promoted to Sergeant, Lieutenant, and in 1998, Undersheriff by Sheriff Andrew P. Meloni. Sheriff Meloni would later retire, and Undersheriff O’Flynn would be appointed Sheriff by Governor George Pataki. Sheriff O’Flynn would subsequently be elected and reelected Sheriff several times.
During his tenure, the Office of Sheriff received many awards and accolades as being one of the best Sheriff’s Offices in the United States for many innovative programs. Sheriff O'Flynn instituted the Core Values of the Agency, those being Respect, Integrity, Teamwork and Excellence (R.I.T.E.) and introduced programs such as the Clergy Academy, the Citizens Academy and the Teen Police Academy.
Sheriff O’Flynn would be defeated during the 2017 election by Todd K. Baxter who would become this agency’s 50th Sheriff on January 1st, 2018.
Todd K. Baxter
Current Monroe County Sheriff
Todd Baxter is a 35-year veteran of law enforcement. Elected to Monroe County Sheriff in November 2017, Baxter is the 49th Sheriff of Monroe County. An organization 1,100 members strong, MCSO is comprised of five bureaus to include Police, Jail, Court Security, Civil and Staff Services. Baxter served 22 years with the Rochester Police Department and served four years as Chief of Police in the Greece Police Department. He holds an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice from Monroe Community College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Leadership from Roberts Wesleyan College. Baxter also teaches at Roberts Wesleyan.
Sheriff Baxter joined the local force following three years of active duty with the U.S. Army as a Military Police Officer. He continued his military service with the U.S. Army Reserve, 98th Division, for another 19 years before retiring as a Master Sergeant, Brigade Anti-Terrorism and Training Non-commissioned Officer in 2005.
Within the Rochester Police Department, Baxter commanded a Division consisting of officers, investigators and supervisors in five platoons, non-sworn employees, and managed a new police facility. Baxter served as the Administrative Aide to three Chiefs of Police in an organization consisting of 893 sworn and non-sworn employees. Baxter was a 19 year member of the SWAT team, completing his assignment as team Commander.
Tapped to lead local law enforcement through a period of transition in Greece, Baxter took over what was once the most embattled police force in the U.S. Baxter has been praised for his efforts in creating initiatives of public and private partnership, and his focus on the ethical responsibility and professional development of his team. He reorganized the department with a bilateral checks and balance system that required accountability from all levels of the organization.
In April 2014, Baxter assumed the duties of Executive Director of the Veterans Outreach Center, Inc., the oldest, local, non-profit, taking care of veterans. He recognized the role family wellness plays in supporting the overall success of an individual, and is proud to have helped produce financial stability and programs that serve the region's 68,000 veterans and their families.
Todd and his wife Mary of 33 years have two sons, Kevin and Zachary. Kevin and his wife Shannon welcomed their first child, Cora Maren Baxter in July 2021. Zach is a First Lt. in the U.S. Army, serving in Germany.
Our Memorial Tributes
We salute the following Monroe County Sheriff personnel for their loyal service and remember their contribution to the community.
December 13, 1865-January 10, 1912
Early on the morning of January 10, 1912, Sheriff Harley E. Hamil received information that a young male suspect told neighbors he shot his father during a quarrel. Accompanied by several deputies, Sheriff Hamil responded to the scene in the Village of Scottsville.
Despite warnings from villagers that the suspect was known to be a violent and dangerous person, Sheriff Hamil and the deputies approached the house in which the suspect was barricaded.
They had nearly reached the house before the first volley came with murderous suddenness. Four men fell victim. Deputy Sheriff Simon J. Bermingham of Rochester was shot in the temple and died. Deputy Hubert M. Abbott of Rochester was grazed on the cheek by a bullet and received a charge of shot in the shoulder. Deputy Edward Jenkins of Scottsville received a serious neck wound. Deputy William Vokes, also of Scottsville, was wounded in the arm by a bullet. Sheriff Hamil narrowly escaped death while attempting to remove the body of his murdered comrade, Deputy Bermingham.
For a period of four hours, bullets rained on the house. The suspect finally gave up and was arrested for killing his father and Deputy Bermingham. He was convicted of first degree murder and put to death in the electric chair.
September 21, 1882 - September 8, 1931
On Monday, September 7, 1931, Special Deputy C. Fred C. Sova was fatally shot by a burglar in the Town of Brighton, New York. Back in 1931, the Town of Brighton had one Traffic Officer. The County of Monroe Sheriff's Officer patrolled the town and was aided by the town constables.
Fred Sova was a Brighton Town Constable who had volunteered near the end of the summer for the Special Deputy Squad to search for a prowler who had been burglarizing Brighton since June. Sheriff William Stallknecht deputized Brighton Constable C. Fred Sova and others to a task force to capture the burglar.
Special Deputy Sova and Special Deputy Cyril Pemberton had been assigned to one of the 10 districts into which the town had been divided, with a sheriff's car and two deputies to each district. It took many nights to catch the Brighton burglar.
Sova and his partner, Special Deputy Pemberton, had stopped their car shortly after 2:00 a.m. on Labor Day, Monday, September 7, 1931, at Landing Road and Bufferd Drive, when they saw the light from the burglar's flashlight shining on a basement window. They went up to the individual and told him to put up his hands. The burglar, Frank Nentarz, was comered at the side of the house, but he fled. The Special Deputies (Constables) then pursued him. He ran about 200 feed to an abandoned trolley station, where he slipped and fell. Sova and Pemberton overpowered him, handcuffed his hands in front of him. Pemberton searched on side of Nentarz and found an ice pick in a pocket. Sova and Pemberton, one on each side of the prisoner, started to walk back to their car. Nentarz suddenly pulled out a pistol and fired two or three times. One bullet entered Sova's abdomen. Sova and Pemberton then subdued the prisoner. They called for aid several deputies arrived on scene.
Sova was taken into a nearby residence, an ambulance was called, and Sova was taken to Genesee Hopital. The bullet had entered his stomach and passed through his body. Brighton Firefighter Harold Gramkee donated blood for a blood transfusion, but Sova died on September 8, 1931, at the age of 48.
Specia Deputy Sova was buried at White Haven Cemetery in the Town of Perinton, New York on September 11, 1931. Special Deputy Sova's name appears on Panel 24E-28 on the National Law Enforcement Memorial located in Washington, D. C.
July 2, 1874 - February 26, 1932
On Thursday, February 25, 1932, Special Deputy Sheriff Joseph G. Munz was struck by an automobile while directing traffic on Clover Street in the Town of Brighton, New York. The operator of the vehicle is said to have turned out to pass another vehicle as he struck the deputy. After the accident, the operator of the vehicle immediately drove to a nearby home and called the Strong Memorial Hospital ambulance, which rushed Munz to General Hospital.
Deputy Munz was reported to have suffered a skull fracture, broken leg, broken arm and internal injuries. Deputy Munz died seven hours later on February 26, 1932 due to the injuries he received.
Deputy Munz was buried at Pittsford Cemetery on February 29, 1932. Deputy Munz's name appears on Panel 24E-28 on the National Law Enforcement Memorial located in Washington, D.C.
September 17, 1894 - April 3, 1946
On April 3, 1946, a Monroe County Sheriff's car was found in a road culvert on Scottsville Road near the Scottsville Village line. The car had overturned three times before coming to rest. There was no indication of trouble prior to the accident, nor were there any witnesses to explain the mishap.
Deputy Marshall's body was located about 20 feet from the vehicle. He died at the scene. His partner, Deputy Lester Maine, was found on the ground close to the vehicle and was taken to Park Avenue Hospital suffering from a knee injury, fractured ribs and contusions and a head injury.
Deputy Maine had been in the back seat of the patrol car taking inventory of recovered stolen property at the time of the accident. He had no idea as to the cause of the accident.
Motorists that observed the Sheriff's car just prior to the accident reported that the vehicle was being driven at a normal rate of speed.
May 12, 1895 - March 25, 1947
On Tuesday, March 25, 1947, Deputy Sheriff James I. Conheady suffered a fatal heart attack while performing his duty. Deputy Conheady had gone to the Black Creek Hotel on Scottsville Road at 10:00 p.m. to serve papers in a court action. Deputy Conheady was accompanied by Sheriff Albert Skinner. The Sheriff remained in the car while Conheady went into the hotel.
After serving the papers, Conheady returned to the car, got in and started the motor. Suddenly the Sheriff noticed the car veering toward nearby Black Creek and looked at Conheady to see him slumped down in the seat with both hands off the wheel. The Sheriff stopped the car and sent in a call for aid but Conheady was deceased before the arrival of the Genesee Hospital ambulance.
Deputy Conheady served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War I. Deputy Conheady was buried at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery on March 29, 1947.
March 29, 1928 - May 16, 1957
At about 11:00 a.m. on May 11, 1957, Deputy John Pullano was operating his motorcycle south on Scottsville Road while responding to an accident on Scottsville Road at North Road in the village of Scottsville.
A station wagon was southbound on Scottsville Road directly in front of Deputy Pullano. The station wagon driver stated she made a right turn onto Ballantyne Road as Deputy Pullano was passing on the right. When the vehicles collided, Deputy Pullano was thrown about 10 feet. As the deputy fell to the ground, he struck his head on a rock, leaving him unconscious. Pullano was not wearing a motorcycle helmet. Helmets were not required and were generally not worn at the time.
Deputy Pullano remained unconscious in a hospital for five days until he died of a fractured skull and a brain hemorrhage. As a result of the accident and tragic death of Deputy John Pullano, Sheriff Albert Skinner and the Rochester Police Department made it mandatory that their motorcycle patrols wear helmets.
September 15, 1897 - August 13, 1965
On August 13, 1965, at about 4:45 p.m. Undersheriff George Conway and his wife, Alice, were returning from a New York State Sheriffs' Association meeting held in Lido Beach, Long Island. The couple was headed westbound on Rt. 17 when a large eastbound truck crossed over to the westbound lane to avoid hitting a car that had stopped. The truck collided head on with the Conway vehicle. Both Undersheriff Conway and his wife died at the accident scene in the Town of Owego, Tioga County.
Conway was a deputy sheriff from January 1926 to June 1936. He was promoted to Chief Deputy in June 1936 and was appointed Undersheriff to Albert W. Skinner in February 1938.
March 9, 1945 - February 6, 1970
On the evening of January 31, 1969, Deputy Francis Dombrowski was involved in an accident on Scottsville Road near North Road in the Village of Scottsville. Although the circumstances of the accident were not known, it was believed to be the result of a violator pursuit. Witnesses stated that Deputy Dombrowski had engaged his lights and siren just before the accident with an oncoming car. The force of the accident nearly cut the patrol car in half. Both Deputy Dombrowski and the other driver were trapped in their vehicles.
Deputy Dombrowski was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital where he remained unconscious for several months. He died February 6, 1970, from injuries sustained in the accident.
April 27, 1939 - June 23, 1972
On the rainy evening of June 21, 1972, Sergeant Robert Skelton, Jr., affectionately known as "Whitey" to his friends and colleagues, was on routine patrol in the Town of Pittsford. At about 8:30 p.m., Sergeant Skelton was southbound on Clover Street when an intoxicated northbound driver crossed into Skelton's lane. Although Sergeant Skelton pulled to the right, he could not avoid the oncoming car. He was taken to the hospital, where he died 30 hours later. The other driver was taken to the hospital in serious condition, but did survive his injuries. He was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
Sergeant Skelton began his career with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in July 1962 and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in April 1971.
April 23, 1921 - September 20, 1974
On September 9, 1974, a fight broke out between two inmates assigned to kitchen duties in the Monroe County Jail. Sergeant Rotolo and several other deputies responded to the incident. During the struggle that ensued, Sergeant Rotolo was thrown against the wall by an inmate. Sergeant Rotolo suffered a massive heart attack and slumped to the floor. A jail nurse provided mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and he was transported to Rochester General Hospital. Sergeant Rotolo remained in a coma until his death on September 20.
Sergeant Rotolo joined the Monroe County Penitentiary Staff in 1958 and was later transferred to the Monroe County Jail when the penitentiary was closed.
July 20, 1948 - March 5, 1995
In May 1993, Corporal Catherine M. Crawford was involved in breaking up a fight between two inmates. As a result of this altercation, Corporal Crawford sustained injuries to her hand and knee. The knee injury required surgery to repair the damage, but prior to the scheduled operation, Corporal Crawford experienced serious breathing difficulties. After extensive medical testing, it was determined that Corporal Crawford had developed blood clots that lodged in her lungs as a result of the injury to her knee.
Surgery to remove the blood clots was ruled out due to their location. After further tests, Corporal Crawford was accepted as a candidate for a lung transplant. It was while waiting for the transplant that Corporal Crawford died on March 5, 1995.
Corporal Crawford began her career with the Sheriff's Office on October 4, 1982 as a part-time deputy and was promoted to full-time status in July 1985. In November 1992, she was promoted to the rank of Corporal.