OGDENSBURG — Republican City Court Judge candidate Gary R. Alford has picked up an endorsement from the Ogdensburg Police Benevolent Association.
Mr. Alford, currently the city’s part-time judge, is one of four people seeking the full-time judge position being vacated by Judge William R. Small.
Mr. Small is stepping down because he has reached the mandatory state retirement age of 70.
Republican Keith Massey and Democrats Marcia LeMay and Ramona A. Breen are also seeking election to the seat.
The Ogdensburg PBA confirmed its endorsement of Mr. Alford in a press statement Wednesday. OPBA President Joshua Vine said the reason is the job performance Mr. Alford has already displayed as the city’s assistant judge.
Ogdensburg has two judge positions — the full-time elected position currently occupied by Mr. Small and a part-time appointed judgeship currently held by Mr. Alford.
“The union’s support acknowledges Judge Alford’s commitment to the community, and the job, including his ready availability to law enforcement day and night, seven days a week, for warrants and arraignments,” Mr. Vine said in the release. “Over the past four and one-half years, Judge Alford has demonstrated a strong work ethic, the knowledge and temperament fitting our city court judge. We look forward to a continuing effective, efficient and respectful working relationship with Judge Alford.”
Mr. Alford graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh in 1973 and received his juris doctorate from the University at Buffalo Law School in 1998.
During his 4½ years as assistant judge, Mr. Alford said, he has learned that many of the people facing criminal charges in court have an underlying issue with drugs or alcohol.
He has vowed that whenever possible he will seek to hold criminals responsible for their actions, but he will also work with other officials — including through the city’s drug court program — to make sure individuals and families get the help they need to deal with substance abuse.