Errol Toulon Jr. was sworn in as the 67th Sheriff of Suffolk County in a ceremony yesterday at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. Gov. Andrew Cuomo administered the oath of office on the stage of the packed Van Nostrand Theater auditorium.
Toulon is the first African-American ever to hold the post of Suffolk County sheriff.
He has 30 years of criminal justice experience, most recently as deputy commissioner of operations for the New York City Department of Correction.
In his speech following the oath yesterday, Toulon pledged to devote considerable resources to upgrading technology, equipment and training for staff. He stressed the importance of sharing information and intelligence-gathering to rid the county of gang violence and the drug epidemic.
Toulon outlined his priorities, some of which he has already initiated since taking office Jan. 1. Among them:
• A collaboration with one of the county’s largest health providers to address the growing number of addicts cycling in and out of the county correctional facility;
• Strengthening discharge planning for those who are 60 days from re-entering our communities;
• The creation of a task force to find ways to prevent people with chronic mental illness from cycling in and out of the jail by connecting them to case management services prior to their release;
• A program to help the business community better protect themselves, their businesses, and their employees from robberies fueled by the escalating opioid epidemic.
The Rev. Charles Coverdale, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in Riverhead gave the closing remarks.
The new sheriff will be the guest of honor tomorrow at the East End Voters Coalition Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Riverhead Free Library beginning at 3 p.m.