ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Acting Chemung County Sheriff Bill Schrom responded to comments made by Chemung County Sheriff candidate Art Laurey alleging a lack of transparency following four inmate suicides at the Chemung County Jail in the last 18 months.
“He’s very misinformed and grossly misrepresents the information he has obtained, however he obtained it,” said Schrom.
Schrom confirmed that from July 2018 through June 2019 there were four suicides, three by hanging and one by accidental overdose, while inmates were in the custody of the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office.
In February 2018 inmate Leo Disbrow died in a hospital after ingesting narcotics while in custody.
Schrom took over as Acting Chemung County Sheriff in 2019 after Christopher Moss was elected Chemung County Executive.
Laurey, who made the comments while declaring his candidacy for Sheriff on Coleman and Company with Dr. Stephen Coleman, served in the sheriff’s office for 27 years after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.
“When we have any death in our community, our citizens should be made aware of it,” said Laurey.
“Anytime there’s an in-custody death, especially within a correctional facility, there’s a governing body that oversees all correctional facilities in New York State,” said Schrom. “They come in and do an extensive, independent, impartial investigation.”
Schrom says that the governing body who oversees the investigations has praised the work of his officers and “exonerated” them. Body cameras and other cameras within the facility have captured the work of officers after the inmate suicides.
The private investigation has been concluded in three of four suicides, and the latest from June 2019 is still being investigated.