Figueroa sworn in as new Ulster sheriff

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Figueroa is beaming with pride after being sworn in on Friday

KINGSTON – Juan Figueroa took the oath of office to become Ulster County sheriff on Friday. The ceremony was held at the county courthouse in Kingston before a packed house.
Figueroa expressed his desire to get to work immediately and start implementing new, innovative ideas. In addition to focusing on reducing recidivism, combating the opioid crisis, improving community relations in tandem with increased community policing, as well as supporting the county’s Restorative Youth Justice Program, Figueroa said he already has new ideas he’s ready to put into practice immediately.
For instance, Figueroa said he will encourage patrolling deputies to meet with the residents on their relative beats, to hand out personal business cards and exchange contact information, solely for the purpose of having the first interaction between a resident and officer not be adversarial. He also declared that rather than immediately closing cases, as is the current practice, he will begin having 30-day and 60-day follow-ups with offenders to see how they’re making progress in their lives, or lack thereof.
In terms of utilizing the innovative Restorative Youth Justice Center and its programs, Figueroa said he will begin immediately getting involved with local chambers of commerce to encourage businesses to provide employment opportunities to offenders within the program in exchange for positive promotion of their businesses’ participation.
“There’s so many issues that we are facing in today’s world and we have to have a different approach to it – think outside the box, and I bring that to the table with my experience as a Marine, as a state trooper and now as a sheriff of this county,” said Figueroa. “It’s a tremendous privilege with tremendous responsibilities and I’m just waiting for that to start so I can get started with all this work.”
Newly appointed Undersheriff Eric Benjamin added that he has known Figueroa for a long time and feels completely aligned with the new sheriff’s vision. He said he too is excited to begin serving the county in this new capacity and on the department’s new trajectory.