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DeWitt Police Chief Seeks GOP Nomination for Onondaga County Sheriff

Scott Willis

DeWitt Police Chief Gene Conway made it official Thursday and declared his candidacy for Onondaga County Sheriff.  About 60 supporters packed into Tony's Restaurant on Burnet Ave. for the announcement. 

His law enforcement career spans 37 years, the last 12 in DeWitt.  Conway is a Republican who started in North Syracuse, followed by 24 years in various roles in the sheriff’s department.

Conway’s announcement comes before current Sheriff Kevin Walsh has yet to announce his plans.  A news conference is scheduled for Monday.  Walsh has said he would support his Chief John Balloni, who's been raising money and is seeking the Republican nomination.  Whether Walsh tries for a sixth term, or Balloni seeks the post, it could set up a GOP primary.  Conway says his decision to run is not based on anyone else’s plans, and that he’s actually been thinking about running for sheriff since he left the department 12 years ago to become DeWitt chief.  Two Democrats have also expressed interest in the office.  Retired deputy Toby Shelley is giving it a second shot, and current sheriff’s sergeant Crayg Dykes also wants the nomination.  

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at