Sheriff Jack Mahar is currently serving his second term of office having first been elected Rensselaer County Sheriff in November of 2003. His career in law enforcement began when he joined the Troy Police Department in March of 1976, after serving 4 years in the United States Marine Corps. During his police department career, he served in and commanded all units within the Troy Police Department, was appointed to many posts in executive leadership and moved up the ranks to Captain. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College with a Bachelors Degree in Public Administration and is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, 182nd Session, the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association (LEEDA), as well as the National Sheriff’s Institute. Early in his career, Sheriff Mahar was chosen to be the New York State representative for a one-year fellowship with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington, DC. In 1999, he was selected by the FBI to serve an Executive Fellowship at FBI Headquarters, Safe Streets Unit.
During his 28 years with the Troy Police Department, Sheriff Mahar received numerous commendations. Recently, he was awarded the Champion for Children Award from the anti-crime group, "Fight Crime: Invest in Kids." Sheriff Mahar sits on numerous committees with the New York State and National Sheriff’s Associations.
Among his many specialties, Sheriff Mahar is recognized throughout New York State as a leader in K-9 programs and has developed in Rensselaer County one of the most successful K-9 units in the state. His K-9 teams are regularly called upon by law enforcement agencies throughout the Capital District region and the state to assist in narcotics detection, arson investigation, search and rescue and explosive detection among other missions. In addition to his K-9 responsibilities within the Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Mahar devotes his off-duty time to these special “deputies” and currently owns five German Shepherds.
In 2011, Sheriff Mahar was elected by his peers, the sheriffs of New York State’s 61 other counties, to serve as President of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association. As head of this statewide Association, Sheriff Mahar oversees a range of committees and works closely with the Executive Board on many ad hoc issues of importance to sheriffs throughout the state. In this role, he meets with representatives of state agencies, such as the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the State Commission of Correction, as well as various other state agencies to advocate for the priorities of local law enforcement and public safety; and serves as the top liaison between local sheriffs and legislative leaders on issues such as counter-terrorism, drug crimes, vehicle and traffic law, jails, EMS and 9-1-1 to name a few, and works to propose legislation to ensure that county governments receive all the assistance that is available to them.
Sheriff Mahar has built a reputation as a champion of victims’ rights, children and his fellow veterans. A member of the Lansingburgh Veterans and the United States Marine Corps League, the Sheriff’s efforts on behalf of local veterans have been recognized by the Veterans of Stephentown and the United States Air Force.
Sheriff Mahar has received numerous awards including the Project Child Safe and Project Safe Neighborhoods award in recognition of his work to promote firearms safety education for young people. He regularly visits with students at local schools, often bringing the K-9s with him and discussing numerous safety and law enforcement issues with children of all ages.
In addition, Sheriff Mahar is a participant in TRIAD, a partnership between area senior citizens, law enforcement agencies and community groups that work together to reduce the criminal victimization of senior citizens and makes law enforcement services more readily available to Rensselaer County's elderly population.
The City of Troy presented Sheriff Mahar with its notable Service Award in recognition of his 25 years of loyal and distinguished service as a City of Troy police officer. The Troy City Council, through the City of Troy, awarded Sheriff Mahar with a special commendation for “Exemplary Conduct During a Traffic Situation.” He was named “Man of the Year” by the New York State Parole Officers’ Emerald Society.
Sheriff Mahar has also been honored by the Rensselaer County Legislature for creating a program which has certified all thirty-one of his Sheriff’s Deputies as Emergency Medical Technicians, making the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office the only law enforcement agency in the State of New York where all sworn employees are certified EMT’s.
A native of Troy, New York, Sheriff Mahar currently resides in Pittstown with his wife, Selina, and has three children and one grandchild. He enjoys aviation and possesses his private pilot’s license. Included among his other hobbies is riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle to many rallies throughout the country.
Rensselaer County serves a population of approximately 155,000 and covers an area of 665 Miles.