Blair plays host to state’s sheriffs

Blair County Sheriff James Ott (left) and Pennsylvania Sheriffs Association executive director Ray Gerringer check out vendors’ offerings during the PSA 99th Annual Summer Conference held at the Blair County Convention Center on Friday. The five-day event concludes on Saturday. Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski

Sheriffs and chief deputies are getting a chance to see new cruisers, uniforms, outfitting equipment, ballistics protection and phone services this week.

Blair County is hosting the 99th annual Pennsylvania Sheriffs’ Convention through Saturday, bringing together sheriffs and chief deputies from all 67 counties.

Larry Wagner of Easton, who works for Koch 33 Auto, was on hand at the convention center to show new police cruisers, including the 2022 Ford Police Interceptor.

“It’s very exciting to be here,” Wagner said. “As vendors, we all feel welcomed and included here.”

Wagner described the new Ford cruiser as “a complete vehicle” with “all things that make a police car,” including new and improved lights and sirens.

In addition to seeing new items on the market, the convention includes meetings, training sessions and other events coupled with fun activities, such as trips to DelGrosso’s Park and the Altoona Curve.

“We really try to showcase our county,” Blair County Sheriff James Ott said. “We’re family oriented.”

This is the third time Blair County has hosted the convention.

Outgoing sheriffs association President Joe Groody of Schuylkill County said the event is a good means of professional development that serves him and his peers well.

“Events like this put us on the right path,” Groody said. “I never expected in my wildest dreams that I’d have been in office here. It’s a great, great association, and I’m very proud to be sheriff in my community.”

Retired sheriff Ray Gerringer of Montour County echoed Groody’s sentiment.

“They’ve done a phenomenal job and given us very good training,” Gerringer said. “It’s a top of the line conference.”

Ott said he enjoys making connections and promoting the community at the event.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to be able to host this,” Ott said. “We really have a responsibility to take care of things and people’s needs and illustrate to guests the scenery, layout and beauty of this county. We’ve had many compliments so far that we’re warm, friendly and comforting.”

Groody expressed gratitude for the organization, which he said is close to his heart.

“There’s no better organization,” Groody said of the sheriffs’ association. “I give a lot of credit to (Ott) and the staff for doing a great job, and Blair County is a great location.”

Groody will pass the group’s presidential torch onto Bobby Montgomery of Sullivan County at a Saturday evening dinner.

Mirror Staff Writer Andrew Mollenauer is at 814-946-7428.


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