Warren County Sheriff reflects on 43-year law enforcement career

October 10, 2019 07:56 PM

QUEENSBURY - Good thing Bud York was a standout basketball player, because he's not cut out for poker.

"I'm honest. What you see is what you get."


After three terms as sheriff and 31 years with the state police before that, York is retiring.

"I'm just a person, a police officer who cared about their victims and tried to solve crimes."

York was in his early 20s, playing semi-pro ball and married with a son on the way when a friend suggested he take the trooper test.

He says he finished 21 out of field of 35,000 candidates statewide.

He started as a trooper in 1977, patrolling Troop K, near Poughkeepsie.

Soon he was an investigator solving crimes in Clifton Park, Saratoga, Wilton, and Queensbury.

He became a part of the elite Major Crimes Unit in 1993, working on the area's highest profile crimes, including 75 homicides.

"We got 74 of our guys. We had a never say die attitude, never give up. You remember those days. You were down there, I remember as a young reporter," York said to this reporter.

A lot has changed since those days when everything was written by hand. Technology and social media have made it easier to track down suspects. York was a young in, remembers first hearing about faxes.

"I hear my boss talking on the phone and yelling to somebody, 'Hey, tell them to send me the fax.' I didn't know what the hell a fax was."

A father of seven and grandfather of 20, York says he's most proud of arresting people who harm children.

"Anything involving kids," he said Thursday afternoon. "If you have that care about victims, you're not going to quit."

York's passion for helping children is only matched by his aversion to campaigning and the political process.

"I hate politics."

He says he's proud of the men and women in the department he'll leave behind, naming the narcotics unit and the Project Lifesaver program as two initiatives that have served the county particularly well.

As for his immediate plans when he walks out of the sheriff's office at the end of December, the 68-year-old jokes, "Welcome to Walmart."

York is a candidate for federal marshal for the Northern District of New York. He says he has the backing of Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, so it's possible he won't be retiring after all.


Mark Mulholland

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