Zacarese said his successful challenge of the party-backed candidate in the Republican primary shows he won’t be beholden to party leaders, if elected. He said his message against the political establishment “resonated with voters in the primary. I’m confident it will resonate with voters in the general election.” He said he would maintain current Suffolk jail policy of cooperation with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement when it wants the jail to hold prisoners who are living here illegally. Zacarese also said he will work to seek improved drug treatment of prisoners to provide a pathway to recovery and to reduce recidivism. He said the jail currently has fewer than three positions aimed at drug and alcohol addiction counseling and he would seek to add resources.
Zacarese, 42, of Kings Park, is running on the Republican and Reform party lines in his first run for public office. Zacarese is assistant chief of the Stony Brook University police and the university’s emergency management office, a post he has held for eight years. Earlier, he was an NYPD officer for a decade, serving at various times as a plainclothes anti-crime officer, a paramedic and a canine dog handler in the emergency services unit as well as a narcotics enforcement sergeant. Zacarese, a lawyer, holds a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology, a master’s in public administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a law degree from Touro Law Center. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He is an instructor at the Suffolk County Fire Academy and an adjunct instructor at Stony Brook University Graduate School of Professional Development. He is also an advanced life support paramedic for the Commack Volunteer Ambulance Corps. He is married, with four kids.