To the editor: I am a retired supervisor and master instructor from the New York Office of Public Safety.

The mission of OPS is to reduce crime and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of law enforcement, public safety and security organizations, and to increase public confidence by promoting professionalism through standardized training and support. During every academy class I instructed, before each statewide meeting I attended, and when I testified in court on behalf of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office or the New York Attorney General, I proudly introduced myself as a former sworn member of the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office Jail and House of Correction.

I never worked under Sheriff Bowler but knew him as an outstanding narcotics detective with the Pittsfield Police Department. Twenty-five years ago, he recognized the untapped resources located at the county jail. Occasionally exchanging intelligence information with him, I developed a deep level of trust for a man who embodied integrity, leadership and hard work.

Virtually every staff member I ever hired at OPS, regardless of civil service title, was required to attend a tour of the houses of correction on Cheshire Road and Second Street as part of their professional development. Eventually, other supervisors and program managers asked for their new hires to be included. Experience tells me the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction is the gold standard for providing care and custody in a correctional facility. The education and rehabilitative programs are collaborative and continue post-release. Sheriff Bowler’s administrative team, support and line staff are fair, bright, compassionate and courageous. OPS members were better served in their professional and private lives after meeting, speaking with, and learning from Sheriff Bowler and his dedicated staff.

I well remember sheriff candidate Alf Barbalunga working a summer or two on community service from my days at Second Street. Today, he enjoys smiling for the cameras while casting aspersions. Being a sheriff is serious business requiring self-discipline; lives are at stake. Complex decisions must be thoughtful, crafted for the long term and carefully structured. If maturity was the sole characteristic you were looking for in a candidate, I suggest reelecting Tom Bowler as sheriff of Berkshire County.

Thomas Patrick Canning, Alford