CANTON — St. Lawrence County Sheriff-elect Brooks J. Bigwarfe has chosen his right-hand man — someone whom he said would not be a yes man, but who brings determination and motivation to the position — to serve as undersheriff.
Mr. Bigwarfe has been the undersheriff for the last three-and-a-half years and he said he knows what comes with the job: dedication; hard work; work ethic; efficiency and professionalism, all traits displayed by Det. Sean P. O’Brien.
“I’ve never seen a more highly motivated individual,” Mr. Bigwarfe said. “When he is tasked something, he is all in, 100 percent. He does everything he can and he is probably the most outstanding employee I’ve worked with in my time here.”
A 2002 graduate from the SUNY Canton criminal justice program, Det. O’Brien has been with the sheriff’s office for 15 years, serving the last three as a detective in the major crimes unit. Among his other duties, Mr. Bigwarfe said Det. O’Brien also serves on the Drug Task Force, Federal Task Force with the Department of Homeland Security as an intelligence officer and instructor at the St. Lawrence County-David Sullivan Law Enforcement Academy at SUNY Canton.
He is also a former planning board member, small business owner, former volunteer with the Ogdensburg Rescue Squad and former union president of the St. Lawrence County Deputies Association.
He lives in Ogdensburg with his wife, Jill, and their three children, Claire, Colt and Cruz.
“Ever since I was a child I always wanted to be a sheriff,” Det. O’Brien said. “It’s just been a dream of mine to serve people and like the sheriff-elect said, I don’t stop and maybe that is one of my fall backs, is I have to sit down and say, you’re moving too fast, trying to get too many things done, but that’s just in my blood.”
But it’s just another challenge he said he was ready to take on.
Among his duties as undersheriff, Det. O’Brien will run the road patrol and be second in the chain of command.
Sheriff-elect Bigwarfe said the job entails organization, supporting the sheriff, being loyal to the sheriff and working for the citizens of St. Lawrence County.
“He checks all of the boxes and he has been working hard the last 15 years at the sheriff’s office,” Mr. Bigwarfe said. “I’ve seen him grow. I was actually on the hiring board for him and recommended highly for him to be hired when he first came here. I have the utmost confidence that he will do a great job for the sheriff’s office and the citizens of St. Lawrence County.”
And since that hiring interview, Det. O’Brien said he has worked to get to the role of undersheriff and now the two men said they are looking ahead to respect the “tradition, heritage and professionalism” sheriffs from year’s past have established for the county.
“I am humbled, I’m honored and I’m thankful for Sheriff-elect Bigwarfe in having his confidence in me to lead the great employes of this office,” Det. O’Brien said. “They work very hard every day. They’re efficient, professional and that’s what we march to every day when we walk through that door.”
Sheriff-elect Bigwarfe will be taking over the office from Sheriff Kevin M. Wells on Jan. 1, when Det. O’Brien assumes the undersheriff’s position.