PUTNAM COUNTY, N.Y. -- Robert Langley will find out if he's officially the Sheriff-Elect of Putnam County Tuesday afternoon.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Langley leads longtime incumbent Sheriff Don Smith 11,732 votes to 11,397 votes, 50 percent to 48 percent. A write-in candidate received two percent of the vote.
Smith is yet to concede, waiting for the Putnam County Board of Elections to count the 1,160 absentee and affidavit ballots, which will begin Tuesday at 5 p.m. Smith would need to receive about 71percent of absentee ballots to be declared the winner.
"It was time for a change," Langley said. "Voters wanted someone with a different perspective of how they can address certain issues that are affecting our country."
Langley said he wasn't concerned about running as a Democrat in a heavily red county.
"The people of Putnam County were going to pick the better of the two candidates," Langley said. "It's never been about party lines, it's always been about the right candidate for the job.
As Putnam County Sheriff, Langley said he intends to address the opioid crisis. He said there are too many addicts incarcerated that are not getting the treatment they need. He said the county needs to establish a drug court in lower level courts.
Langley said he would also like to implement community policing in Putnam.
"I want police to develop open relationships," Langley said. "I want them to get out of their car and be a part of the community. It makes everyone safer."
As sheriff, Smith touted the county's low crime. Putnam was ranked the safest county in New York the last seven years and has the lowest property crime rate, violent and overall crime rate in the state the last three years.
"The crime numbers are self-reported by the sheriff," Langley said. "So I don't know how accurate they are. My goal is to keep Putnam as the safest county in New York."
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