Cecilia DowdJan 13, 2018, 2:17 amJan 15, 2018, 1:34 pm

Suffolk’s first African-American sheriff says he’s ready to tackle gangs, opioid crisis

Errol Toulon Jr. is sworn in, breaking racial barrier in the county

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BRENTWOOD — Suffolk County’s new sheriff was sworn in Friday, breaking a racial barrier. After 25 years with New York City’s Dept. of Corrections, Errol Toulon Jr. worked in Suffolk County and now leads the sheriff's department.

Toulon was sworn in by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Despite entering the race less than two months before Election Day, Toulon pulled off a win and made history as Suffolk's first African-American Sheriff.

Before he was sworn in, Toulon discussed his goals with FiOS1 News. His priorities include gangs, combatting opioid addiction and working on a re-entry program for those returning to their communities after being behind bars. Of those, he says gangs are top priority

“First would be gangs. I think that’s where the core of any correctional facility can gather intelligence. We identify gang members in our facilities and we can get information that we can use to assist us in working on stopping crimes or solving crimes,” Toulon said.

Toulon grew up in the South Bronx and in his address, spoke fondly of his parents, who have been married 56 years, and his brother.

As far as Toulon's personal life, he's married, has two children, and he says he's a two-time cancer survivor.

Toulon enters the department less than two years after retired Lt. Ed Walsh, who was head of Suffolk's Conservative Party, was found guilty of theft of government services and wire fraud. The charges and ultimate conviction put him at odds with former Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, who wasn't backed by his party and didn't run again. DeMarco was on the stage Friday.

Toulon enters office at a time where Long Island has been plagued with allegations of corruption.

Toulon also explained how politics would impact him now in the role of sheriff.

“From my standpoint, I had politics influence my position when I worked in New York City. It's to really clearly promote and promote a culture of fairness and equity among the staff and also when we look to promote individuals into various ranks and/or move them into certain positions as investigators, then it's done in a fair and equitable way.”

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