Incoming Columbia County sheriff seeks to improve community relations, increase deputy training

[anvplayer video=”5068734″ station=”998132″]

Don Krapf is about to become Columbia County’s next sheriff in January, and when people see him, or a deputy, out in the community he wants them to know this.

"I want them to have pride, and I want them to feel they know each and every deputy, and that they can call us, and we’re going to be there," Krapf told NewsChannel 13.

Krapf has served in the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office for 23 years. He ran as an independent but earned the backing of many Democrats in the area. He defeated incumbent Republican David Bartlett, who has held the position of sheriff for the past eight years. He won the election by nine points.

NewsChannel 13’s Sam Hesler caught up with Krapf in Kinderhook after his win.

"It’s unheard of that a sergeant is going to run against a seated sheriff, and by no means was it a separate personal issue," he said.

Bartlett faced some criticism for his handling of the Harold Handy case. Handy, a local mechanic, was allegedly beaten at the home of a deputy back in July of 2020.

The case is awaiting trial, but Krapf says if a similar situation were to happen while he was in charge, he would want to address the public quickly and bring in other agencies.

"Bring in outside resources, state police, automatically to show that good faith, to show that we are actually taking this situation seriously," Krapf explained.

Looking ahead to the next four years of his administration, Krapf is focused on being transparent, building community relations and partnering with others to provide important trainings on things like implicit bias and mental health.

"Let’s face it everything doesn’t always need to end in arrest," he said. "We need to have the training to allow our deputies to recognize persons in crisis."

When Krapf takes office in January, he’ll be appointing Jacqueline Salvatore as his undersheriff. Salvatore will be making history in the county.