Surrounded by friends and more than 75 local elected officials, New York State Senator Fred Akshar announced his candidacy for Broome County Sheriff.

The election isn't until next year, but Akshar says he already has the support of nearly every town supervisor and village mayor, as well as members of the Broome County Legislature.

Akshar has been representing the 52nd Senate District in Binghamton since 2015. Prior to his time in office, he worked 15 years in local law enforcement, including 13 years with the Broome County Sheriff's Department. He was undersheriff before running for the Senate.

Akshar's decision to run for sheriff came after County Sheriff David Harder announced his intent to retire after his term ends at the end of 2022.

Akshar knows that these are challenging times for law enforcement. His priorities include increasing transparency and improving the relationship between law enforcement and the community.

"I think police play a very important role in society, but we are at a crossroads, not only in this state, but across the nation, in which you need a measured and a pragmatic who is willing to support the men and women of law enforcement, but also be willing to have a very difficult conversation with people in the community, whether it be advocates, special interest groups or others that have desires and thoughts about how to move the community forward."