Capt. Chris Campanelli, third in command at the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, is running for sheriff in this year’s municipal election.
Campanelli, a Democrat, has been in the Sheriff’s Office for 25 years, working his way up through the ranks as a part-time deputy, full-time deputy, lieutenant and captain.
Campanelli said he has the endorsement of the current officeholder, Sheriff John Loomis. They’ve worked together in the Office for 25 years. Campanelli said he was made lieutenant when Loomis was elected sheriff in 2014.
Campanelli attributes his rise through the ranks to his traditional, old-school work ethic, which he learned from his father, Salvatore Campanelli, an Italian immigrant.
Campanelli was born and raised in Erie.
Other than the four years, from 1991 to 1995, when he was in the U.S. Marine Corps, he has never left the area.
“I’ve been a public servant my whole life, and I wouldn’t want to be anything else,” Campanelli said.
Community relations is at the top of Campanelli’s priorities, he said, noting that community leaders must come together and find common ground.
“We have to stop looking at each other as enemies, and we have to do whatever it takes,” he said. “It’s paramount.”
Campanelli believes people must try to come together and walk in each other’s shoes, and, he said, he has the experience, qualifications and drive to be a leader in that effort, in addition to the complete support of the outgoing sheriff.
The Sheriff’s Office oversees a number of functions. The sheriff’s department, within the Sheriff’s Office, provides school resource officers — including for Corry Area School District — handles sheriff’s property sales and firearms licensing and helps search for Erie County’s Most Wanted criminals.
The Sheriff’s Office is also responsible for security at the Erie County Courthouse. Deputies also handle prisoner transport and custody.
Other divisions of the Office include the Civil Division, the Special Emergency Response Team, the Scuba Team and the Mounted Posse, according to the Sheriff’s Office website under www.eriecountypa.gov.