Onondaga County Sheriff candidate says he'll protect people at a lower cost

Gene Conway announced his candidacy for Onondaga County Sheriff on Thursday.

Surrounded by about 60 supporters, DeWitt Police Chief Gene Conway formally announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Onondaga County Sheriff.

Conway pointed to his 37 years in law enforcement, starting as a rookie police officer in North Syracuse, 24 years in the Onondaga County Sheriffs Dept., and 14 years as DeWitt Police Chief.

In making his announcement, Conway says he will offer "the best possible service for the lowest possible cost." "I will be tough on crime and tough on spending," Conway said. "I will work tirelessly to keep the people of Onondaga County safe."

Current Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh is expected to announce his retirement soon after serving 20 years. Walsh has already indicated if he does retire, he would throw support behind his right hand man, Chief John Balloni. Balloni has been holding fundraisers in anticipation of his election campaign.

Sheriff Walsh has been criticized for over-spending and alleged mistreatment of inmates at the Onondaga County Justice Center. When asked how he would respond, Conway replied, "it begins and ends with accountability." He says he would make sure under his leadership "there would be proper oversight and holding people accountable."

As DeWitt Police Chief, Conway ordered his officers to not use cell phones while driving. He says he would have that same requirement for sheriffs deputies. "I will not be hypocritical," Conway said. "We must set examples."