Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts recently recognized Chief Deputy Stephen Sklenar on his 45th anniversary of service to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.
Sklenar joined the Sheriff’s Office on April 1, 1974, as a deputy sheriff when recruited by incoming Sheriff Richard Kise. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant by Sheriff Paul Byork in 1981, and maintained the position of shift commander in the patrol division until transferring to the civil division as its commander in 2004, replacing retiring Lt. Ronald Fillmore.
In 2007, he was promoted to lieutenant by Sheriff Richard Pisciotti. On May 23, 2017, Virts promoted Sklenar to the rank of chief deputy as the third ranking command member of the Sheriff’s Office overseeing the police services division, as well as the civil and records offices.
Sklenar, who graduated as valedictorian of his police academy class, has been active with the Finger Lakes Law Enforcement Academy since 1978, teaching firearms and accident investigations. He is an instructor and instructor evaluator in general and special topics.
Sklenar was an instructor for nearly every law enforcement officer currently employed in the Finger Lakes Law Enforcement Association training region comprised of Cayuga, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties. He coordinated this agency’s transition from revolvers to semi-automatic pistols in 1990.
He was an original member of the underwater search and recovery team for 24 years, working his way up to dive team leader. Under Pisciotti, Sklenar assembled and founded the emergency response team, serving as operator, sniper and ultimately commander, a role he’s held since 1988.
Sklenar is an active member of the crash reconstruction team and currently serves as its commander. He was a guest instructor at the Mohawk Valley Police Academy, assisting in reconstruction classes, and holds a current certificate of accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Accident Reconstruction.
Sklenar instructed classes on county-related topics such as workplace violence and active shooter. He is an active member of the Wayne County Historical Society, where he lectures on sheriff-related topics and co-authored “A Jail Among Us” with director Larry Ann Evans.