Sheriff Ron Spike has been working in law enforcement his entire career. Ever since he graduated from Monroe Community College immediately following high school.
Even then, Sheriff Spike – then a deputy with the Yates County Sheriff’s Office – knew his career and life would be spent in law enforcement.
“I grew up in the jail,” he joked before cameras began rolling on Inside the FLX.
His appearance in the FingerLakes1.com Studio at North Park was to discuss his career, as well as the growing challenges associated with law enforcement.
Spike’s father, George served as Yates County Sheriff from 1958 through 1981, which meant he grew up in the residence attached to the original Yates County Jail – built in 1904.
“It was an interesting experience,” Spike explained. At 9-years-old Spike moved in, along with his brothers, mother, and father to the residence. At the time, the expectation was that the Sheriff’s Wife take care of the female inmates, as well as provide meals for all the inmates. “It was a different time,” he added.
Spike started as a youth officer in 1970, moved up to criminal investigator in 1973, and was elected Sheriff in 1991. His first term as Sheriff began in 1992.
His experience includes graduation from the FBI National Academy, which is something Sheriff Spike is fondly recalls.
He noted that his time as Sheriff has been his fondest duties. “I knew law enforcement was in my blood,” Spike explained before the podcast began. “There are challenges associated with law enforcement – recruitment is one of them.”
While law enforcement as a career option has taken a beating nationally – he says that encouraging young people to get involved in law enforcement is a part of the territory. “I always tell young people to consider it. Especially with the focus on technology. Being an effective communicator is important, but it’s a great career.”
The biggest challenge facing law enforcement is the continued growth of the heroin epidemic. “I never thought I’d be standing in my own high school auditorium – filled with 300 people – leading a discussion on heroin,” Spike explained.
He said that the Sheriff’s Office has been encouraged by some of the things they’ve seen. “We went three months to start the year without an overdose – then had several in the last two,” Spike added.
Recently, an 18-year-old lost her life from a heroin overdose. Spike says that people would be hearing about a lot more overdoses if it weren’t for NARCAN. “Our deputies are trained to utilize NARCAN whenever necessary,” he explained. “It’s been a great help in fighting this heroin epidemic.”
He said that the addition of treatment options for those suffering from substance abuse has also been a great help. Spike described one individual, who had battled with addiction, but due to the non-narcotic treatment options had been clean for seven months. “There’s help out there for those who want it.”
While the challenges make law enforcement difficult at times – Spike has neither lost interest, nor desire to serve Yates County.
Watch the entire podcast in the video window above.