Rensselaer County Sheriff Jack Mahar is encouraging everyone to use caution and be safe during this 4th of July season.

Tips for Planning a Safe and Healthy 4th Of July

  • Do not purchase, use or sell illegal fireworks – ever
  • Be aware of what the rules/regulations are where you live – and stay within the legal parameters
  • Always read the directions that come with legal fireworks
  • Always use legal fireworks outside and have a bucket of water nearby in case of an emergency
  • NEVER LET CHILDREN PLAY WITH FIREWORKS (lit or unlit—even sparklers are extremely dangerous)
  • Wear eye protection when lighting anything
  • Keep pets away from all fireworks
  • Place extinguished ones in a bucket of water

In New York State fireworks— such as M-80's and fire crackers — are illegal. The new redefined novelty fireworks called "sparkler devices"— are now considered legal throughout Rensselaer County. In the greater Capital Region, only eight counties have “opted in” on the legalization of the sale, use and possession of “sparkler devices”.

In accordance with the new law, “sparkler devices” are all ground-based, fountain sparklers -- nothing that will launch into the air.  

Retailers must have a permit to sell “sparkler devices” and shoppers must be 18 years old to buy them. They are only permitted on the shelves twice a year- June 1 to July 5 for Independence Day and Dec. 26 to Jan. 2 for the New Year.

The new state law redefines fireworks to better distinguish between dangerous fireworks and novelty devices, such as sparklers and noisemakers. Fireworks still require a permit and are illegal for use in Rensselaer County.

Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education)
Session 2 graduation ceremony at Berlin Elementary School, NY.
The D.A.R.E. program teaches students good decision-making skills to help those lead safe and responsible lives. D.A.R.E.’s new curriculum (Define, Assess, Respond, Evaluate) focuses on decision-making and how to apply that to any aspect of life.

Front row "Essay Winners" L-R is Katie Delaurentis, Jack Caruso, and Ascha Bray. Second row Students of the Year, Deputy Russo, Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino, Bailey Catlin, Rhiannon Dawes, Jim Gordon, Undersheriff Pat Russo


Lansingburgh School D.A.R.E. 2015

Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.E. Session 2 graduation ceremony at Rensselaer Park Lansingburgh NY. 

(Photo) First Row“Essay Winners”: Tyina Thomas, Kem Cummins, Pranav Woody, Olivia Hepp, Karlita Karczewski, and Undersheriff Pat Russo

Second Row” Students of the Year”:  Deputy Russo, Brianna Holley, John Bullock, Aniya Coleman, Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino and Jim Gordon.


Rensselaer County Sheriff's Color Guard

Sheriff Jack Mahar reports that Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office Color Guard, Officers and Undersheriff Pat Russo marched in the 48th Troy Flag Day Parade on Sunday, June 14, 2015 in honor of the American Flag. The Parade ran along 4th Street beginning in South Troy at 4th & Main Street and ended at Federal Street.

Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office Participates in LEADership Project
to help combat gang involvement in TroyLEADershiip Program combating gangs

May 21, 2015: Sheriff Jack Mahar reports – Rensselaer County Deputies Jeff Russo and Jim Phelps participated in the new LEADership Project, introduced by the U.S. Attorney and Troy leaders earlier this year, in an effort to combat gangs and keep students from joining them. 

Deputies Russo and Phelps visited 22 students in Ms. Colleen Denio’s fifth grade class at Carroll Hill School in Troy NY.  Their program was designed to educate students about the realities of gang life and the alternatives that exist to avoid gang affiliation or involvement. Deputy Russo stressed the importance of self-esteem - to give yourself value, and that the choices you make in life will follow you. Make constructive choices not destructive.

Students were encouraged to write down their goals- to look at them often, and make changes to them as time goes on in a positive way. They were encouraged to ask questions and share their thoughts on gangs and what steps they should take to stay out of them. Students who participated received a star and all received a certificate of completion at the end of the final class.

The Deputies answered questions and explained the role law enforcement plays in keeping communities safe from gang violence.  When asked what it was like to spend time in jail, Deputy Russo said, “jail is not a fun place at all-you lose your rights and your freedom”. He explained to the students the importance of establishing good friendships and to follow others involved in good social settings. He exposed the myths of gang life and how dangerous they really are.

The officers showed students the human face of the law and lead sessions on topics like victim impact and understanding the judicial system. Their focus was to build a relationship between our youth and law enforcement, while developing mutual understanding and trust.

K-9 Emergency Medical Course For Law Enforcement 
“How To Care For Your Canine Partner”

 Troy- Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office hosted a Canine First Aid and Trauma Training class Friday that attracted K9 Handlers from seven different law enforcement agencies across the Capital Region. The class was specifically designed for professional “working dog” handlers and emergency rescue personnel who may respond to canine health emergencies while in the field.

Veterinarian David Stone, of Bloomingrove Veterinary Hospital, in North Greenbush NY volunteered his professional expertise.  The 4 hour presentation focused on teaching handlers the skills needed when service dogs are injured in the line of duty.

Dr. Stone demonstrated how to splint legs and bandage “wounds” on Officer Sandy Blodgett’s K-9, a black lab named Obie. The doctor performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the life-saving procedure used to help dogs that have stopped breathing and/or lost a heart beat on a canine CPR training manikin. He explained that the CPR performed on dogs is very similar to the procedure used on humans: the technique involves clearing the airway, administering artificial breaths, and maintaining circulation of blood to the heart. Dr. Stone also taught handlers how to administer life saving medications, such as Narcan, the reversal drug used if a dog on duty accidentally inhales an opioid.

The seminar also covered non emergency topics. 

Dr. Stone covered best practices in maintaining overall good canine health including nutrition, diet and exercise. The course stressed the importance of annual medical check-ups and how to recognizing illnesses and the warning signs for diseases.  Lyme, which is a tick born disease and Bloat, a deadly gastric dilatation where the stomach becomes distended with gas and fluids are more common diseases found amongst dogs today.

This training program was developed to provide K-9 handlers with the know how to handle emergency medical care for sick or injured dogs. Officers in attendance came from the Sheriff’s Offices of Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga, Washington, Fulton Counties as well as the Guilderland Police Department. Participants were all honored and grateful to have Dr. Stone provide such valuable information and training.

Hudson Valley Community College Student Is Awarded
New York State Sheriff’s Association Institute, Inc. Criminal Justice Scholarship
Rensselaer County Undersheriff Pat Russo presented Matt Hopper, a criminal justice major at Hudson Valley Community College, the New York State Sheriff’s Association (NYSSA) Institute’s 2015 Criminal Justice Scholarship.

Every year NYSSA awards academically outstanding full-time students majoring in criminal justice or police science a $250 scholarship while attending a community college in New York State. 

“I want to thank NYSSA for supporting these students and HVCC for the opportunity to meet Matt Hopper,” said Undersheriff Pat Russo.  “Matt is very enthusiastic about his future, his focus and hard work will take him a long way in law enforcement. While speaking to him he expressed his intent to continue his education and to pursue his career in criminal justice.”

(photo left to right)

Professor Shawna Addison
HVCC, chair of Awards Committee,
Matt Hopper
Rensselaer County Undersheriff Pat Russo





Sheriff Jack Mahar

On behalf of the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office it is my pleasure to welcome you to our website. This website has been designed to provide a comprehensive guide to our agency’s many services and responsibilities performed here. Our mission is to provide our citizens with one of the best law enforcement offices in New York State. We will continue to update and make changes to this site in an effort to better keep the residents in our county informed.

We invite you to explore our site and learn more about us.
We hope you find the information useful and informative,

Thank you for visiting! Jack Mahar
Sheriff Jack Mahar
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Remote Video Visitation

Inmates now have the option to use a
new remote video visitation system to
speak with family, friends or professionals
via the internet. Remote video visitation
eliminates time and stress associated
with travel to and from the correctional
facility by reserving a visit on-line.

Reservations must be paid either by
credit card or prepaid money card.
Cost is $9.00 per 20 minute visit. 

Scheduling and paying for a video
visit using the internet is extremely
simple and user-friendly with e-mail
confirmations of visit times and charges.

To enroll and to request a
Reservation Code go to