SCHENECTADY — The superintendent of the county jail has been tapped as the new undersheriff.
Superintendent James J. Barrett will take over for outgoing Undersheriff Gordon R. Pollard, who is retiring Aug. 1.
Barrett has been with the Schenectady County Sheriff's Department for 26 years. He started as a corrections officer in 1993, rising through the ranks until being promoted to captain in 2009 and jail superintendent in 2011.
County Sheriff Dominic Dagostino hailed Barrett’s “well-rounded experience and dedication” in his announcement on Monday.
Dagostino said he has “total confidence" in Barrett’s leadership abilities, internal knowledge of the office and his organizational skills, making Barrett “the perfect candidate” for the position.
Barrett has also served as a supervising field training officer and tactical team commander, and has spent the past decade working as a state Sheriff’s Association Accreditation assessor.
Pollard is the longest-serving employee in the history of the department, serving since 1981, Dagostino said, and as undersheriff since 1999.
Barrett came under scrutiny by the state Commission on Correction in 2014, who investigated the department's handling of drugs discovered on an incoming inmate.
The superintendent was accused of ordering the substance destroyed as a favor to a friend. But an internal investigation cleared Barrett of wrongdoing and found a guard had lied during the investigation. The guard was fired.
As a result of the incident, the department was required to develop written policies and standards concerning handling contraband on incoming inmates.