Bert D. Dunn, a 12-year veteran of the Erie County Sheriff's Office and a community and business leader, announced Tuesday that he is running for Erie County sheriff.
Surrounded by family and friends, Dunn launched his campaign at the original location of Bert's Bikes and Sports, a business founded by his parents in 1972. Dunn noted the vital role that the business has played in his development as a leader in the public and private sectors.
"I learned from an early age what hard work was and the tremendous responsibility of being a business owner, where the needs of your customers and your employees take precedence over your own personal needs," Dunn said. "This is the building where I first learned the management and leadership skills that the Erie County Sheriff's Office desperately needs."
Dunn is a lifelong resident of Erie County, and graduated from Orchard Park High School in 1988. He continued his education at the University of Buffalo, earning a bachelor's degree in business administration, and at Canisius College, where he earned an MBA. He has been married to his wife Michelle for 18 years, and their three children Bert Jr., Brian and Rachel attend Orchard Park schools.
Dunn has worked for the sheriff's office since 2001, working his way through the ranks as a deputy, sergeant and his current rank of lieutenant. He is the day watch commander of the A Platoon for the Erie County Sheriff's Office Police Services. All of his positions have been earned through civil service examination.
During his career in law enforcement, Dunn has also run a successful business. He was the senior buyer and sales manager for Bert's Bikes & Fitness from 1990 through 2004, and has been president of the company since 2004. He noted that Bert's, "has flourished under my leadership and is well known throughout the community. Our success is the community's stamp of approval. We have to work hard to provide the facilities, policies, trained employees and products that our customers want."
Dunn says that his experience in the public and private sectors has helped to form his approach to achieving the best from large organizations.
"In my early years of law enforcement, I developed a philosophy that would allow me to continue my dream of being a police officer and still fulfill my obligations to my family and employees. That philosophy centers on empowering strong employees to do the jobs they are trained to do. Running a successful bricks-and-mortar business in today's competitive and challenging environment makes me uniquely qualified in the law enforcement community. My executive level experience spans over 20 years and has prepared me to run a large-scale operation that is dependent on people to be successful."
"The people of Erie County deserve a sheriff who leads from the front, is passionate about the sheriff's office, who is skilled in crafting budgets and delivering quality services, holds people accountable, understands and embraces technology and plans for the future," said Dunn, who believes that employee development is critical to the success of the agency. "Good training, job enrichment, and a good work environment go a long way in increasing morale and motivation. High morale and motivated employees achieve great things. Quite simply, it is the responsibility of the leadership to provide the necessary tools and resources that the employees need to be successful."
Dunn looks forward to a spirited campaign.
"The sheriff is the chief law enforcement office in the county. It is the only police job in which the people get a voice in deciding who gets hired. Every four years, there is a job interview and the people get to make a choice of who they think will best represent them and protect them. Over the next seven months I plan on convincing the voters of Erie County that I am the right man for the job."