Brendan Keany

Concerned Community Gathers to Discuss New Shifts for City Narcotics Detectives

"I feel that I am safe, and I want to stay safe."

January 10, 2019 - 1:10 am

BUFFALO (WBEN) - Southside Elementary in South Buffalo hosted a town meeting Wednesday night for residents that reside in the city's A-District, which encompasses all of South Buffalo, as well as parts of the Lovejoy and Fillmore Districts. 

Many people, including local politicians, aren't too pleased with the Buffalo Police Department's decision to move all narcotics detectives to the day shift, and deciding to call officers in when needed during the night.

"Why would you change now, and all of the sudden, put them all on days, and then say 'Okay, we'll call somebody up when the crime happens,'" said one concerned attendant. "I'm sorry, that doesn't work for me and not for everybody else, because I feel that I am safe, and I want to stay safe."

Others in attendance, such as Bob Stotz, were more worried about how the change could negatively impact their livelihoods. 

"I work for the Olmsted Parks and something like this really will affect how the parks are maintained," said Stotz. "We're concerned about more vandalism if there's a lack of police force in the parks."

City councilmembers Chris Scanlon, Richard Fontana and David Franczyk all spoke at the meeting and explained that they are as confused and worried about the decision as the public.

"Based on conversations I've had, the two things the police department was looking to do was remove an A-District captain and also move all detectives to day shift," said Scanlon. "I was informed that a lot of these decisions were based on statistics, and I informed him that, regardless of what your statistics are showing you, I know what it feels like in the neighborhoods, all three neighborhoods, and crime does not feel like it's going down."

There was some good news that came out of the meeting, however.

"After conversations I had with Commissioner Lockwood last Friday, and with members of the administration early this week, they've agreed to not remove that captain from A-District," said Scanlon. "As far as the detectives, the PBA has agreed to that, and that's going to arbitration, and that will take place in April. So, we have some time here; we have another few months to try and work that out in the meantime."

The councilmembers invited the public to come to the Common Council meeting this upcoming Tuesday at 2 p.m., where the issue will be discussed, and they invited police department officials to come and explain their logic and reasoning behind the switch.

Hear more from Scanlon below:

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