The most prestigious award that the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute can give is the Sheriff Grover Cleveland Award.  It is given to a Sheriff who has been uncompromising in their commitment, dedication and fulfillment of the Office of Sheriff. You can’t be nominated for the award. It is not given annually. Though this year it’s being given in two consecutive years, it’s very possible it won’t be given again for several years.

 The first recipient of the Sheriff Grover Cleveland Award was Saratoga County Sheriff Jim Bowen. Sheriff Bowen is currently serving in his 41st year as an elected Sheriff. 

 The second recipient of the Sheriff Grover Cleveland Award is Sheriff John York of Livingston County.

Sheriff York has been a member of a Sheriffs’ Office for over 40 years. He has served as Sheriff for the last 20 years.

 “What Allen Nevins, the biographer of Grover Cleveland, said about Cleveland can without hesitation be said of Sheriff York. ‘He possessed honesty, courage, firmness, independence, and great common sense,’ “ said Yates County Sheriff and New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute Chairman Ron Spike, as he presented the award. “Through hard work, discipline and a refusal to accept anything but the absolute best, Sheriff York has built and maintained one of the finest sheriff’s offices in the United States,” Sheriff Spike continued.   

Sheriff  York has been a leader of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association.  Each year when new a class of Sheriffs is about to take Office he mentors them on the importance of the Office of Sheriff and the importance of making the Office stronger when they leave than when they first took office.

Sheriff York has lead the fights against state agencies, state legislators, county legislators, county executives and others who dared to propose negative changes to the Office of Sheriff. It is well known in New York State that you will pay a price if you attack the Office of Sheriff on his watch.

Sheriff Jim Bowen, right in photo, joined with Sheriff Ron Spike, left,  Chairman of the Sheriffs’ Institute in presenting the second Sheriff Grover Cleveland Award to Sheriff John York of Livingston County.