News center
Deep expertise in sales and manufacturing strategies

Rensselaer County sheriff candidates hope to succeed retiring Sheriff Russo

Apr 26, 2023

A primary this month kicks off the race for Rensselaer County Sheriff with three candidates looking to succeed retiring Sheriff Patrick Russo.

With 18 years of law enforcement under his belt, from a local police officer in Troy to a position in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Jason Stocklas says with his experience, including 20 years as a volunteer firefighter, he's more than ready.

"I've had the opportunity to work nationwide in various capacities and seen the way that law enforcement has done in other parts of the country. And I've seen what works and what doesn't," Stocklas said.

Stocklas says public safety is all about investigation, enforcement and peacekeeping. His rival in this month's Republican primary is Kyle Bourgalt, a Rensselaer County Sheriff's deputy recently promoted to Sergeant. Bourgalt, who could not be reached for an interview, has Sheriff Russo's backing.

"I believe I'm the stronger candidate," said Stocklas. "I don't take it on a personal level. I have drawn tremendous support from folks in the community that encouraged me to run my grassroots effort and to continue on, even after I didn't receive Mr. Russo's endorsement."

Stocklas says if elected he'll expand the department's paramedic program, champion "officer wellness" and try to work beyond partisan associations to provide services to those incarcerated in the county jail.

Former Troy Police Chief Brian Owens also faces Bourgault in the Conservative Party primary. Owens has served 24 years in law enforcement, first as a Corrections Officer with the Rensselaer County Sheriff's Office then over 23 years with the Troy Police Department where he rose from patrolman to ultimately serve as chief before retiring in July 2021.

"And I was at natural point in my career where I was able to retire and it worked out well for me," said Owens. "Looking forward to the opportunity running for sheriff. The job would certainly be stressful. As I said, it's demanding profession. Anytime you're in charge of people and you're responsible for their welfare, their safety, their well-being along with the community that you were hoping to serve."

Owens sees the opioid crisis as the biggest challenge facing local law enforcement today. He says if elected he’ll also be looking to boost school safety.

"At Troy police, were able to bring back the school resource officer program. That's a great program. I know the County Sheriff's Department has that as well in place, I'd like to expand on that," said Owens.

Owens has been endorsed the Rensselaer County Democratic Party, and will be on the November ballot regardless of what happens primary day, June 27th.