posted on June 13, 2011 14:37
Outgoing County Jail Superintendent Ron Greer is demonstrating how the jail’s new door system works, when a friend walks by and sees the WBTA microphone.
“Are you going to be famous?” she asks him.
“Yeah,” says Greer, with a laugh that implies he’s not being serious. But that’s the way Ron Greer prefers it. In 30 years on the job, his aim has never been to be well-known in the community.
“What I wanted to do here was keep this jail operating efficiently with as little cost as possible,” Greer said in his office today. “And I wanted to keep my position low-profile, as I like to keep myself low-profile.”
Greer began his job in March of 1981, as a corrections officer in the very same jail. He was the first officer hired specifically for jail duty.
“Prior to that, they hired strictly deputies, who would start in this facility for a few months, and then proceed on to road duty,” Greer says. “Sheriff (Douglas) Call and Undersheriff (Robert) Hallman decided that the jail needed to be staffed by people who would stay within the facility.” So Greer was hired at age 25, after having served three years in the military.
Since then, times have changed. Greer says the biggest shift has been in technology, where computers and large inmate files have replaced “just a few sheets of paper.” He also says corrections officers themselves have changed over the past three decades. With an onset of volunteers, especially from religious ministries, the guards no longer play the part of counselor or confidant. What they do now is much more program-based work within the jail, according to Greer.
Greer was promoted to the superintendent’s position in 1999. In 12 years on the job, he believes he’s been successful in meeting goals for the county jail.
“We’ve had an excellent relationship with the Commission of Corrections,” says Greer, referring to the state division that oversees all of New York’s jail operations. There was also a recent restructuring inside the jail building, which radically altered the layout of the communications and offices portion of the building. In addition, Greer estimates that the size of the county jail has doubled over the span of his career.
On a personal level, Greer is once again very low-profile as he reflects on his years of service. “It’s hard to say what I’m leaving behind,” he says. “Hopefully I didn’t make too many enemies. Hopefully people will look back and say, ‘He did the best he could.’”
Greer's last day on the job will be June 28th. He says he has plans to have no plans for retirement. He also says he has “a lot of faith” in his replacement Ed Minardo, who begins training with Greer later this week.