Tag Archives: police

A Chat With Buffalo’s Mounted Police

24 Apr

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Proactivity & Broken Windows

9 Feb

Lowell, Massachusetts gave it a shot, and it paid off:

The year was 2005 and Lowell was being turned into a real life crime-fighting laboratory.

Researchers, working with police, identified 34 crime hot spots. In half of them, authorities set to work – clearing trash from the sidewalks, fixing street lights, and sending loiterers scurrying. Abandoned buildings were secured, businesses forced to meet code, and more arrests made for misdemeanors. Mental health services and homeless aid referrals expanded.

In the remaining hot spots, normal policing and services continued.

Then researchers from Harvard and Suffolk University sat back and watched, meticulously recording criminal incidents in each of the hot spots.

The results, just now circulating in law enforcement circles, are striking: A 20 percent plunge in calls to police from the parts of town that received extra attention. It is seen as strong scientific evidence that the long-debated “bro ken windows” theory really works – that disorderly conditions breed bad behavior, and that fixing them can help prevent crime.

“In traditional policing, you went from call to call, and that was it – you’re chasing your tail,” said Lowell patrol officer Karen Witts on a recent drive past a boarded up house that was once a bullet-pocked trouble spot. Now, she says, there appears to be a solid basis for a policing strategy that preemptively addresses the conditions that promote crime.

Opaque Transparency

6 Aug

Seems the story has legs, and what’s really sort of significant from my perspective is the fact that Jim Heaney didn’t break the news in the paper – he broke it on his blog. Good for him for doing that.

The paper’s version of the story appeared today on the front page.

In Chicago, you can search for crime information by street, by precinct, by crime committed, by date, etc. When you do, up pops a map showing the location, time, date, and manner of crime. Pick a random date (say, 7/27), and up pops a list of every crime reported that day. With a map. You can track where crimes are taking place and what kinds. It’s easy to use, easy to access, and provides useful information.

Buffalo needs something like that, and Joe Golombek has proposed it, but it won’t be implemented by an administration in which secrecy trumps transparency and fealty trumps merit.

Heaney was also interviewed by 103.3 the EDGE’s Shredd & Ragan, and the audio can be heard below (thanks to Shredd & Ragan and producer . I also heard Police spokesman Mike DeGeorge refer to Ragan as “sir” one too many times, and his “sensitive information” defense of why the police department withholds information was disingenuous, at best.

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Heaney will be on with Scott Leffler Thursday morning on WECK 1230, and he took my slot on the live chat at Buffalo.com, and you can read the transcript here at Buffalo.com.

Every. Penny. Counts.

20 Jul

This story in today’s Buffalo News featured a repeat of an excuse for take-home vehicles that Buffalo Police union capo Bob Meegan made last week. Setting aside for a moment the fact that patrol vehicles are generally in crappier shape than the brass’ take-home Tahoes (free of insurance, gas, and maintenance requirements, naturally). Sheriff Tim Howard says,

He believes every take-home vehicle can be justified. For example, Doyle, his administrative chief, often works weekends or late into the evening and should not be expected to tie up a personal car that his family might need

So, how is it that people who work in the dreaded private sector and are on-call or have unusual hours are able to cope by using a personal car for the commute and for business travel? Who among us doesn’t technically “tie up a personal car” when we’re at work?

• Howard wants to be able to call his appointees to work when needed.

“If I ever say, meet me at the office, I don’t have to hear, well, my wife has the car,” he said.

Really? Maybe they only own one car because they don’t need a second one, since the boss gives them one. Take away the take-home car, and I’m willing to bet there’s be some extra money in the pockets of Mssrs. Campbell, DeLacy, and Paddock pretty darn quick.

• The superintendent of his Holding Center, Robert Koch, and Correctional Facility, Donald Livingston, often go to their facilities at odd hours, “either because of emergencies or to make checks,” Howard said.

Wouldn’t their personal car get them there?

“It would,” the sheriff said, “but would it be fair to expect them to do that?”

Why, yes. Yes it would. Since the people are paying for that car, and for its maintenance, and for its gas, and insuring it, it would be perfectly reasonable to get it off the road and save a few of the people’s dollars.

Here’s a handy tip for all of the take-home hacks out there: the IRS reimbursement rate is now 50.5 cents. Start tracking your mileage and give the public coffers a break.

Every. Penny. Counts.

Abolish Take-Home Cars, oppress the Proletariat

16 Jul

The city is trying to take away take-home cars from several high-ranking police officials because it would save a lot of money. Seems pretty simple, right? I mean, I use my own car to get to and from work. You probably use your own car to get to and from work. If I use my car for work, I submit for mileage reimbursement and get a check cut at the end of the month.

Both the News and Channel 2 report that fifteen of the twenty affected police officials live outside city limits. Since there’s no rule requiring them to live inside city limits, it’s a big “so what” with a side of “if you don’t like it, Albany has to change it.”

One officer makes a 70-mile roundtrip trek from a home in Springville each day and drives a city-owned Chevrolet Blazer.

Chevy Blazer? Nowadays? For a 70-mile commute? I can’t imagine a dopier use of taxpayer money. That thing gets what – 22 MPG highway?

But if there’s one constant here in Western New York, it’s that in a time of crisis, the leaders of our public sector unions can be called upon – and invariably will – say something inflammatory.

Police union chief Bob Meegan is this month’s provocateur, suggesting to Channel 2 that taking away take-home cars from these people will sacrifice public safety. Because, apparently, they’re too poor to afford a car.

How would you like to be laying in the street with a bullet all over your head or in your body and a homicide detective [says], “sorry I won’t show up till tomorrow morning because I don’t have a car until my wife comes home from work?”

But the News reports that the average pay for the affected officers is $106,143. I’m pretty sure you can afford to buy your own car if you earn that kind of money in Buffalo.

Had Meegan just stuck to the point – the city shouldn’t try to implement this stuff without negotiating with the union – he’d be just fine. Pleading poverty is absolutely ridiculous and insulting.

Give up the cars and show that you’re mindful of the fact that the city needs to be as frugal, for once. Maybe we’ll get rush-hour registration checkpoints out of it.

Been There, Done That

29 Apr

I accidentally stumbled on this:

In the 1860s an Act of the State Legislature created the Niagara Frontier Police District, which encompassed Buffalo and Tonawanda in Erie County and Wheatfield in Niagara County.

Six to eight constables comprised the early membership of the Buffalo Police Department around the late 1830s. It was not until 1855 that the first police chief was appointed. Officers first received uniforms in the 1860s. During this period the State

Legislature created the Niagara Frontier Police District, which encompassed Buffalo and Tonawanda in Erie County and Wheatfield in Niagara County. This new organization included a board of commissioners, a superintendent, captains, detectives, and over one hundred patrolmen. In 1870 the district was divided and the City of Buffalo has been served by a single police district ever since.

So, when Giambra and other proponents of consolidation propose consolidation of police services, note that it had been done before, 140 years ago. The City’s own police department as it exists today was created in 1871 as the city’s population grew.

Ontario’s Niagara Regional Police District is the model.

EVERYBODY PANIC!

26 Mar

The Buffalo Police Commissioner is warning that a nasty Central American gang has gained a foothold in WNY, and that its initiation rite is to rear-end cars and then assault and rob the motorist. Or worse.

It sounds very urban legend-y to me, but Gipson called an “emergency” news conference, so I figure this is for reals.

In the age of the internet, this is pretty stunning:

Gipson wouldn’t provide the name of the gang so as not to give the gang “notoriety.”

I prefer to know who these guys are. It’s a gang called MS-13.

Now you know. Thanks, Google.

Most references to MS-13 indicates that there are three primary initiation methods, and none of them involve rear-ending or harming random people. But other scares have arisen in the past with little evidence of the acts being perpetrated.

All I can say is, wow.

Dennis Delano is a Buffalo Hero

1 Mar

Dennis Delano is one of three Buffalo cold-case detectives, and he is the most recognizable law enforcement officer behind the recent release and exoneration of Anthony Capozzi and Lynn DeJac; two individuals who had been wrongly convicted of crimes they hadn’t committed. Delano looked at the evidence again, and followed up on leads that once led nowhere. Finally, and most significantly, evidence that was still being preserved was sent for DNA testing – something that didn’t exist in its present form in the 80s or 90s.

The DeJac saga has been a very difficult once to watch. First and foremost, a young girl with what seemed like a bright future was apparently brutally murdered. Between the accusations surrounding DeJac’s parenting, to the possible culpability of the immunized David Donahue, it is a sad story indeed.

Last week, Delano, who is not only convinced of DeJac’s innocence, but also of Donahue’s guilt, took crime scene video to Channel 2; something that he had apparently been forbidden to do. He spent a lot of his own time and money trying to clear innocent people’s names, and he doesn’t buy the “revised” autopsy report which lists the causes of death as a cocaine overdose and a head injury.

Scott Brown took some of the evidence to some forensic scientists to get their take on the case, and showed them the video Delano had obtained. Delano even took a day off to accompany Brown to Washington to meet with the scientists. This is a guy who wants to get to the truth.

For his efforts and his excellence and his openness, he has been suspended without pay.

Suspended by a secretive city administration that demands a freedom of information request for the most routine and insignificant of public records. Suspended by a criminal justice system that seems to want to squelch any inquiry whatsoever into the DeJac case.

WBEN has been hammering this story to high heaven the last few days, because Delano’s daughter called in to Sandy Beach’s show on Thursday to break the story, and Delano himself called in yesterday. Some suggest that it’s part of a cover-up, and that Delano has stepped on too many toes. Others suggest that Delano is not above the rules and must obey direct orders from his superiors.

Either way, this dedicated public servant deserves the benefit of a million doubts, and should be reinstated as soon as possible so that he can hopefully find still more innocent people to free.

Sign the petition to reinstate Delano, and to re-open the Crystallynn Girard case here.

What a Novel Concept!

22 Jan

An increased police presence, including officers actually walking along the sidewalk rather than driving by in a car, helped improve safety on Chippewa this past weekend?

Well, not just that:

In addition to making six arrests, police also impounded three vehicles and issued 25 vehicle and traffic summonses, and about 110 parking tickets.

Gee, I wonder if cops walking a beat – especially in more crime-prone areas – might improve the lives of people throughout the city and region?

Buffalopundit PSA

5 Dec

If you’re on your way to the police office to run an errand, it’s best not to carjack someone on the way there.