Local Matters

Community Sponsors

Howard B. Owens's blog

September 30, 2020 - 10:33pm
Video Sponsor

Press release from the Governor's Office:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the start of construction for a $1.1 million redevelopment project in the City of Batavia. This project, awarded through Batavia’s DRI Building Improvement Fund, will rehabilitate a three-story, 7,500 sq. ft. building built in 1865, in downtown Batavia. Batavia’s downtown area is a mixed-use, affordable neighborhood with access to jobs, anchor businesses, and city and county services.

“The Downtown Revitalization Initiative in Batavia is driving strategic investments and helping bring new mixed-use development to the area to benefit the entire region,” Governor Cuomo said. "This historic building will be preserved to continue with Batavia's rich history and character and will be the propeller of future growth not only for Batavia but for the entire region.”

“Our Downtown Revitalization Initiative is transforming communities statewide by empowering local stakeholders to put forward their best ideas on economic development based on collaboration and shared purpose,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Batavia is uniquely positioned between two major urban areas but has carved out its own identity with projects like 99 Main Street. These projects will attract new people with a new life, energy, and sense of pride, and help New York build back better for a post-pandemic future.”​

The renovation and redevelopment of this historic building will include a new storefront, façade, and reconstruction of the existing three floors.  A dental practice will reside on the first floor with the second floor being developed for commercial office space.  The third floor will include 2 two-bedroom market-rate apartments.

The redevelopment of this historic building is part of the DRI award for the Building Improvement Fund, which provided the city with the resources to award building improvement projects in the downtown.  The award from the Fund is $137,600 with a total estimated project cost of $1,165,000. The Fund is operated locally by the Batavia Development Corporation and administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The Genesee County Economic Development Center also supported the redevelopment through mortgage and sales tax incentives of $63,500. Neppalli Holdings, LLC will also invest nearly $1 million to renovate the building as part of the public-private partnerships for DRI.

Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The Batavia’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative is becoming a reality and it will bring a new look and way of life for residents to live, work and play in their business district.  The Building Improvement Fund award provides an opportunity for economic investments in Batavia through the redevelopment of its business district, attracting a new generation of social and commercial enterprises to the city. This project is a testament that hard work and dedication, even in these unprecedented times, can yield progress and a bright future.”

NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Through Governor Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we are working directly with communities across the state to implement targeted economic development projects like this one that expand housing opportunities, enhance the downtown streetscape, and create a more lively and walkable commercial district. Batavia’s Building Improvement Fund will utilize $138,000 in DRI funds to transform this historic property at 99 Main Street into a beautiful mixed-use building with new office space and two apartments on the third floor. By supporting local efforts to strategically improve downtown districts with state resources, we are breathing new life into Batavia, the Finger Lakes Region, and beyond.”

Senator Michael Ranzenhofer said, “I am very happy that Batavia was chosen for this project.  Investing in our Upstate communities is extremely important and this funding will help further the growth and redevelopment we have seen in Batavia.”

Assemblyman Stephen Hawley said, “Thanks to smart and expansive developments, Batavia will grow into an even greater destination and hub for Western New York than ever before. From the addition of a new performing arts center to the revitalization and renovation of a commercial hub to the continued development and upgrading of downtown, Batavia is poised to be a bastion of community and comfort for the area. This investment will go a long way towards the continued fostering of community and cooperation for years to come.”

Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski, Jr said, “The DRI award is critically important in our efforts to revitalize downtown Batavia. It’s vital that we continue working with our partners at the state and local level to continue the momentum of the private and public sector investment in the county’s urban core.”

Batavia Development Corporation Board President Lori Aratari said, “The Building Improvement Fund created through the DRI provides grant funding for applicants to implement interior and exterior building improvements in Batavia’s Business Improvement District (BID) for commercial and mixed-use structures. This project exemplifies how we are using this fund to fill vacant and under-utilized structures in the city.”

Genesee County Legislature Chair Shelley Stein said, “The Genesee County Legislature recognizes the importance of the economic vitality of the city of Batavia for our county and region. I am especially pleased to see all levels of government working so closely in our efforts to bring private sector investment to the city.”

Genesee County Economic Development Center President and CEO Steve Hyde said, “To have so much support from so many leaders in the community gives me confidence that our project will be a great success and I hope will encourage others in the private sector to seek investment opportunities in Batavia. I want to thank all of our government partners for their continued support and collaboration in our collective efforts to encourage private sector leaders such as Dr. Neppalli to invest in Batavia.”

Batavia was named a DRI Round 2 winner. The downtown area is a mixed-use, affordable neighborhood with access to jobs, anchor businesses, and city and county services. The area has an excellent foundation upon which to continue its revitalization, including amenities such as recreational sites, healthcare facilities, food markets, a library, and various retail and restaurant venues in a walkable environment.

The Strategic Investment Plan for downtown Batavia is working closely with private partners and local assets to implement the other eight projects awarded. These projects alongside all of the projects that will be awarded through the DRI Building Improvement Fund will create opportunities for economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community's vision for downtown revitalization and that are ready for implementation. The downtown Batavia Strategic Investment Plan is guiding the investment of DRI grant funds in revitalization projects that advance the community's vision for its downtown and that can leverage and expand upon the state's $10 million investment.

September 30, 2020 - 7:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, video, Stafford.
Video Sponsor

The initial call for an accident on Fotch Road in Stafford indicated a driver was unconscious and not breathing but shortly after first-responders arrived, the man was awake and alert.

By that time, Mercy Flight was already on the ground. 

The driver, the sole occupant of the pickup truck, did not require further medical attention.

After medics finished with him by the side of his vehicle, sitting on its wheels in a field of soybeans, the driver accompanied a deputy back to the roadway and upon riching the shoulder he told the deputy, "I don't even know where I am."

Following a field sobriety test, the driver was taken into custody.

The Sheriff's Office is expected to release a report later tonight or in the morning with further information.

UPDATE 9:40 p.m.: In the accident report, the driver is identified as James M. Caccamise, 31, of Byron.  he was driving a 1999 GMC pickup owned by Phyllis J. Caccamise. According to the report, Caccamise was northbound on Fotoch Road when he failed to negotiate a curve in the road and struck a road sign before heading over an embankment. Charges are pending an investigation and the results of a blood test but the report indicated deputies believe Caccamise was under the influence of a narcotic analgesic. The accident was investigated by Deputy Eric Andre.

September 30, 2020 - 5:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

  • Genesee County received 1 new positive case of COVID-19 for a total of 309 positive cases
    • The new positive case resides in Elba.
    • The individual is in their 40’s.
    • The individual was on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • 15 new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
    • One of the positive individuals is hospitalized.
       
  • Orleans County received 0 new positive cases of COVID-19 maintaining a total of 317 positive cases
    • One of the previous positive individuals has recovered and has been released from isolation.
    • 6 new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
September 30, 2020 - 5:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
September 30, 2020 - 1:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

img-2666.jpg

A motor vehicle accident is reported in the area of 7665 Bank Street Road, Batavia.

There' smoke coming from the vehicle. Two utility poles, next to each other, are involved.  One injury, no extrication needed.

No wires are down. The poles are upright and intact.  A chief is requesting National Grid respond to inspect the poles.

Town of Batavia Fire responding along with Mercy EMS.

UPDATE 1:50 p.m.: Town of Batavia back in service. The roadway is reopened.

Reader-submitted photos.

img-2667.jpg

September 29, 2020 - 10:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Donald Trump, corfu, pembroke, news.

Overnight, President Donald Trump shared with his more than 86 million Twitter followers a video of the five "Trump Trailers" that were painted "Trump 2020" by local residents and paraded more than a week ago on routes 33, 77 and 5 on the west side of Genesee County.

The tweet has been retweeted 19,000 times and liked more than 84,000 times. The video now has more than one million views.

Previously: Photos: Five trailers supporting Trump's reelection put on display in western part of Genesee County

September 29, 2020 - 10:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
September 28, 2020 - 5:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, Nate McMurray, notify.

In a social media post, Nate McMurray, candidate for the NY-27 seat in the Nov. 3 General Election, accused his opponent Chris Jacobs of participating in a rally in Hamburg where Gov. Andrew Cuomo was, in McMurray's words, subjected to a "mock trial and lynching."

Except that even the heavily edited video McMurray posted shows the puppet hanging marionette-like from a crossbar, much like a puppeteer would operate. 

Jacobs denied being at the rally at the time the life-sized puppet was brought onto the stage.

A spokesman for Jacobs issued the following statement:

“Rep. Jacobs spoke at the beginning of the event and left immediately after his remarks to attend another event in Monroe County. The puppet was not on display during his remarks.”

A person who was at the rally with Jacobs said Jacobs was at the event only long enough to speak, about five minutes, and left at least an hour before the puppet was brought out.

This afternoon, McMurray issued a press release accusing Jacobs of "hitting a new low."

“This district has a history of political climbers like Bill Paxon, Tom Reynolds, Chris Lee, and Chris Collins who used the communities and families of NY-27 for personal gain,” McMurray said. “But the hatefulness on display Saturday is a disgraceful new low. Chris Jacobs and his comrades have fully embraced the worst of Trumpism in Western New York.”

The rally was sponsored by the 1791 Society, a pro-Second Amendment group, and billed as an Anti-Cuomo event. 

According to the Buffalo News, the marionette was brought to the rally by Melbourne Sann, of Rome, N.Y., who conducted a mock trial of Cuomo.

Sann, wearing a Revolutionary War uniform, asked for verdicts from the crowd on Cuomo's policies, ranging from abortion rights to bail reform. As the crowd yelled "guilty," a spectator struck the suspended figure in the lower back with a folded metal chair.

September 28, 2020 - 4:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fall, news.

img_2667.jpg

Photo submitted by JoAnne Meiser.

September 28, 2020 - 2:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
September 27, 2020 - 3:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in DeWitt Recreation Area, batavia, outdoors, news.

justinpikedewitt.jpg

Justin Gugel shared this photo of himself and a 34-inch, 11-pound pike he caught yesterday at the DeWitt Recreation Area.

September 27, 2020 - 2:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news.

img_2661joanne.jpg

JoAnne Meiser shared these photos of last evening's sunset and the reflection of the moon on a pond.

img_2660joanne.jpg

September 27, 2020 - 2:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in M&T Bank, corfu, business.

The M&T Bank branch at 1 E. Main St., in the Village of Corfu, is closing its lobby and offices but keeping its ATM, according to a spokeswoman for the company.

Customers were informed on Friday, according to Julia Berchou, VP, public relations for M&T.

"We have no plans to close any other branches in Genesee, Orleans or Wyoming County," Berchou said.

Customers can also bank by phone (1-800-724-2440), online at www.mtb.com, and via Apple and Android mobile apps.

Berchou said bank staff at other nearby branches are available for virtual meetings with customers.

In addition, team members at nearby branches are also available to meet virtually with customers.

The decision to close the branch was difficult, Berchou said but the closure will help improve efficiency and help the bank serve customers where they are located.

"From banking online or by phone to scheduling branch appointments—customers have greater access to the bank than ever before," Berchou said. "And because our customers’ needs and the ways they bank with us constantly change, we continually evaluate where our branches are located and how we can deliver the best value and convenience to our customers."

September 27, 2020 - 2:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
September 26, 2020 - 8:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Alabama.

A Jeep has reportedly hit a tree in the area of 215 Bloomingdale Road, Basom.

One person reportedly has a head injury.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 9:26 p.m.: Alabama back in service. The scene is turned over to State Police.

September 26, 2020 - 2:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

img_2656savealot.jpg

Photo taken yesterday evening on Ellicott Street in Batavia behind the Save-A-Lot.

September 26, 2020 - 2:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, news.

20200925_191019.jpg

Frank Capuano shared this photo of last night's sunset that he took in Stafford.

September 26, 2020 - 1:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
September 25, 2020 - 2:23pm

firstmeetingpolicestakeholders-3.jpg

The first meeting of Batavia's Police Collaboration Advisory Stakeholder Group was largely informational, with most of the conversation led by Police Chief Shawn Heubusch on the history of policing, police training, and an introduction to the department's use of force policy.

Some members of the group asked questions or offered a short comment.

City Attorney George Van Ness led off the discussion with an overview of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order mandating such review committees -- called "stakeholder groups" -- for all municipalities in the state that operate a police agency.

The group is charged with reviewing all local police policies and procedures and making suggestions for possible revisions. The plan that comes out of the group's work will be forwarded to the City Council. The plan will be subject then to public input and comment. The council will be expected to review and potentially approve the plan. Once certified, the plan will be sent to the state's Office of Management and Budget.

The executive order states municipalities that fail to follow through by April 1 could lose state funding.

For more on the composition of the group, which is comprised of city officials, community members, and subject-area experts, click here.

The Evolution of Policing

Recalling policing's evolution, Heubusch started with officers walking the beat on night patrol in big cities checking that buildings were secure and dealing with vagrants and drunks. Soon, officers took on the job of investigating crimes. Then when cars became common, police officers were charged with traffic enforcement, with a later emphasis catching people driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

In the 1990s, there was a big push for officers to deal with domestic violence, including mandatory arrests in some situations. Modern departments also employ officers to deal with juveniles. In the late 1990s, the war on drugs started and officers put more emphasis on finding people selling or taking drugs and arresting them. Now, officers put more emphasis on getting drug users into rehabilitation.

In Genesee County, police officers assist Genesee Justice with curfew checks.

Community policing has always been a part of a police officer's job, Heubusch said. Since he became chief in 2014, he started a community outreach committee in the department that looks for ways to connect police officers with community members. Programs include shop-with-a-cop, coffee-with-a-cop, and foot patrols.

Police officers also need training in dealing with mental health issues and conflict de-escalation.

More recently, police officers are called on to enforce pandemic-related regulations and quarantine violations.

And nearly all those police activities have corresponding paperwork for the officer to complete.

"That's kind of what modern policing looks like," Heubusch said. "It's a lot. It's one of the reasons going through the academy these says is so long, because there's so much to learn."

Heubusch went through the academy more than 20 years ago when the required training took 600 hours. Now it's 800 hours.

Once an officer graduates from the academy, the officer is required to have 640 hours of field training.

Body Cams, Use of Force Policy, Job-related Stress

A member of the group asked about the use of body cams and Heubusch said since 2014 all officers are required to wear a body cam. Activating the device requires the officer to click a button twice and they are supposed to turn it on for every interaction with citizens with exceptions for emergencies that require quick action from the officer.

Asked if there is an issue with officers forgetting to activate the camera, Heubusch said there have been very few times where the department has needed to investigate a complaint or needed video footage for evidence and supervisors discovered the camera has not been activated.

The discussion then moved to the next agenda item, Batavia's policy on Use of Force (you can read it for yourself on the city's website (pdf)).

While the chief discussed the policy briefly, group members are asked to read it before the next meeting, which will feature an in-depth discussion of the policy.

Heubusch noted that decisions about use of force are often split-second at best and in that time the officer must assess the threat level and what the legally appropriate amount of force is necessary to neutralize the threat.

"They have to use reasonable force given the circumstances right in front of them at that moment in time," Heubusch said.

To help officers be better prepared in stressful situations, they go through from eight to 16 hours of reality-based training every month.

Batavia PD puts officers through more reality-based training than most small police departments, Heubusch said, because the training carries some small risk of officers getting injured since it's a physical activity.

Community member Billy Blackshear asked about stress levels police officers faced and where that factored into training.

Heubusch said in recent years, there's greater awareness about job-related stress in law enforcement. The things they see, the situations they deal with, can take a toll.

"That's one reason 20 years is long enough to be on the job," Heubusch said. "That stuff compounds."

When officers are dealing with stress, either because of something that happened on the job or in their personal life, they are taken off of street patrol, Heubusch said.

The Rigors of the Hiring Process

In response to a group member's comment, Heubusch said because of retirements, the current police office is comprised of nearly half of the officers being hired in the past two years. Some of those officers had prior experience, but the average age of the force now is somewhere around 24 or 25 years old.

YWCA Executive Director Millie Tomidy-Pepper asked if officers are subjected to a background check before being hired. That started a long discussion about how officers are hired.

The state's civil service law will only allow the department to consider the people with the top three scores on the civil service exam.

There are exceptions that allow the department to consider a lower-scoring candidate, such as a candidate withdrawing an application, but those exceptions are few. Only in recent years has a police chief had the option of passing over a candidate who failed a psychological exam.

There is a criminal background check but only a felony conviction is disqualifying.

The candidate must complete a 28-page background check questionnaire. 

"You would be surprised how many candidates omit things that they don't think we'll find," Heubusch said.

A detective interviews each candidate. The background check includes contacting former employers and references as well as locating people the candidate didn't name as a reference. The neighborhoods where the officer once lived are canvassed for people who can share relevant information about the candidate. Former spouses and boyfriends or girlfriends are interviewed.

"Anybody we can speak to who can speak to the person's character, we want to talk with them," Heubusch said.

There is a credit history check and a social media check.

Then there is a psychological exam with a specialist in police officer duty in Rochester.

Then a panel interview.

Finally, the candidate must take a polygraph.

"If you don't pass the polygraph, you don't get a job offer," Heubusch said.

The whole process takes several weeks.

Victor Thomas, a community member and representative of Just Kings Social Club, said, "That sounds like a lot. It seems you almost have to be perfect to get a job." Then he got a laugh when he said, "I think you just explained to me why I didn't get in."

Heubusch said, "we're not looking for perfect people. We all have skeletons in our closets. What we're looking for are major issues."

The big problem with the process, Heubusch said, is the state law mandating the department to only consider the top three candidates from the civil service exam. There are often better candidates, including some from our local community, who are not among the top three scorers. He would like to see New York go to a system, like some other states, where the exam is "pass/fail," which would mean, perhaps, if 200 people took the exam, the police department could consider up to 100 candidates, including local candidates.

Community member Michael Henry asked if officers receive cultural awareness training. Heubusch said they do in the academy but he didn't have the curriculum with him.

Anibal Soler Jr., superintendent of Batavia City School District, noted that in none of the material provided to group members nor during the presentation was the issue of race mentioned and he suggested a discussion of race be included in any policy reform, training, and in hiring practices. 

City Church Pastor Marty Macdonald took exception to a comment by Heubusch that suggested past behavior was predictive of how a person might do as a police officer. He spoke at length about the ability of people grow, learn and reform.

Heubusch said he agreed and said his comment was meant to refer to references from former employers.

Blackshear commended the chief for his foresight, mentioning he met with Heubusch some years ago, in addressing community issues and trying to reach young people, including trying to recruit young people to a career in law enforcement.

Beyond Diversity -- Doing the Job Correctly with Accountability

Brandon Armstrong, a small business owner and also a member of Just Kings, said he was going to bring up what he thought would be an unpopular opinion: That the big issue was not the diversity of police departments, but the inability of police departments or the justice system to punish police officers who don't do their job the right way. He noted that there have been black police officers accused of acting just as bad as white police officers in other jurisdictions.

"We do need diversity but if somebody isn't doing the job right, they need to better held accountable for it," Armstrong said. "I don't care what color they are."

The opinion wasn't unpopular at all. Other group members said they agreed and nobody disagreed.

firstmeetingpolicestakeholders.jpg

Anibal Soler Jr.

firstmeetingpolicestakeholders-2.jpg

Shawn Heubusch

Video Sponsor

September 25, 2020 - 9:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]

Pages

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31
 

Copyright © 2008-2020 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button