ELIZABETHTOWN -- Richard Cutting was officially sworn in as Essex County sheriff Monday just before he announced his candidacy for the position.
Cutting resigned as undersheriff on Friday so County Judge Richard Meyer could appoint him sheriff.
He was named to the post following the death of Sheriff Henry Hommes and will serve until Dec. 31 in the appointed capacity.
The last three years of Hommes's term as sheriff will be on the ballot in the November general election, and Cutting said he believes he has the experience to do the job.
"I feel I'm very qualified -- I've been in the department for 33 years. The Sheriff's Department is the full gamut of the criminal-justice system."
The 55-year-old Cutting resides in Elizabethtown and graduated from Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School, then from North Country Community College with a criminal-justice degree.
He and his wife, Lauri, have a daughter, Krysta, who's a student at Ithaca College.
Except for a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, Cutting has resided in Essex County all his life.
Cutting said the sheriff's main duty is running the county's new 120-bed jail in Lewis.
"We transitioned into a phenomenal new building. We have a dedicated and professional staff. I look forward to a position to lead this agency."
After being sworn in earlier in the morning, Cutting addressed the County Board of Supervisors.
"It's such a tragic circumstance that brought me here. We're still operating (the Sheriff's Department) as we always have. There is no turmoil, as I've heard rumored in the community."
He said 85 inmates are housed in the County Jail now, along with 49 local people and 36 federal prisoners. Boarding inmates has brought the county $850,000 in revenue so far this year, he said.
Cutting, a Republican, is circulating independent petitions for sheriff now and said he plans to ask for endorsement from both Republican and Democratic county committees.
Hommes died July 30 from lung cancer after 13 years as sheriff and a lifelong career in law enforcement.
Because Hommes died after the deadline had passed for the post to be on the primary election ballot, the party committees can nominate candidates to be on the general election ballot.
Cutting said he'll have a booth at the Essex County Fair in Westport, which starts Wednesday, and looks forward to meeting citizens there.
"I welcome the opportunity to talk to people and let them see what I'm all about."
E-mail Lohr McKinstry at: firstname.lastname@example.org