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Finger Lakes

Livingston County Sheriff Announces Retirement And Looks Back

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Rochester: Livingston County Sheriff Announces Retirement And Looks Back
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One of the state's longest-serving Sheriffs is hanging up his badge. Livingston County Sheriff John York says he'll retire.

In life, without exception, time always wins.

"To be frank with you, time stands still for nobody."

A fact not lost on John York; a key factor in the longtime Livingston County Sheriff's decision to retire.

"We all know when it's time."

York joined the Livingston County Sheriff's Office in January of 1969, working first in the jail, then on the road patrol before becoming an investigator. He's been the county Sheriff for 24 years.

"When I first ran, I ran because I didn't like the other person that sought the office, and I'm sure people would feel that about me."

Over 44 years, you gather a lot of memories.

"Some good, some not so good. But that's with every job."

Many line the walls of the conference room next to his office in Geneseo. Photos of the many, many people he's met. Reminders of the the fights fought.

"I've never walked away from a fight in my life."

And mementos from the countless cases solved under his watch.

We take great pride in the commitment we make with our partners in the law enforcement community to bring closure to crime, and we're proud of our success rate."

York says he came to his decision to call it a career last year. He still has his health, and wants to enjoy what's left of his time.

A career as long as Sheriff York's is marked by many successes. It is also dotted by failures, like the three unsolved murders which took place during his time in the Sheriffs Office. One in particular stands out.

"We've spent 32 years running this case down."

A stone at Dansville's Greenmount Cemetery marks the final resting spot of a woman. Nobody knows her name. She was found shot to death in a Caledonia cornfield in 1979. Her killing remains a mystery.

"Certainly the most difficult part."

It's the kind of case that sticks with lawmen. York's investigators have spent countless hours trying to solve it, to no avail.

"We've found other bodies, solved other homicides and still can't give a name to our victim."

York, in announcing his retirement, has also endorsed a possible successor: his Undersheriff, Jim Szczesniak.

"You clearly see in Sheriff York the passion he has for the people of Livingston County and New York State, and I think that's what brings success," Szczesniak said.

York says he'll spend time with his wife, kids and grandkids. And there's fishing.

"I catch a lot of fish. That's one thing I'm noted for. Catching a lot of fish."

He's not sure if he'll stay until the end of the year, or leave sometime before. Time will tell.

"Spent 44 years of my life here. Three years in the military. It's time." ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP