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City of Batavia Police Department

December 2, 2020 - 4:29pm

Press release:

The City of Batavia and the Batavia Police Department are asking city residents to participate in an online survey the results of which will be used in formulating the department’s response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 203, which requires police departments across New York State to submit reform plans to the state by April 1.

The online survey can be accessed here. It is anticipated that filling out the survey will take approximately five minutes.

The survey is just one component of the various outreach and engagement efforts being conducted by the Batavia Police Advisory Collaboration Stakeholder Group. The Stakeholder Group has met several times with the next meeting scheduled for Dec. 10th at a venue still to be determined because of concerns about the increasing COVID-19 infection rates.  

“Community feedback and input is a critical component of our efforts in developing our plan,” said City of Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch. “We realize that not every resident has reliable online access so various members of the stakeholder group are going to assist residents to fill out the survey.”

The survey asks residents to answer various questions, including: the nature of their last interaction with the police department and how they would rate that experience; a series of questions based on a 1-5 rating as to whether they strongly agree or strongly disagree with various statements about the police department; a list of options as far as what the police department should be prioritizing; whether or not assigning non-law-enforcement professionals should respond to certain 9-1-1 calls; and, various demographic information among others.

November 8, 2020 - 3:09pm

As a Williamsville architectural firm conducts a feasibility study on the construction of a new Batavia Police Department headquarters on the parking lot at Alva Place and Bank Street, a representative of the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market continues to seek an “open dialogue” with City Council on the future of the seasonal produce business.

In 2020, the privately owned market, which has been at several locations over the past 15 years, conducted business on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from June 5 through Oct. 30 on the Downtown lot across the street from the City Centre Mall.

The market has been a hot topic of discussion in recent days following Market Manager Elizabeth “Betty” Carr’s public comments at City Council’s Oct. 26 meeting. At the meeting, Carr asked city leaders to reconsider its decision to build a new police station on the Alva Place parking lot.

Since then, although no formal meeting between farmers’ market board members and City Council has taken place, the open dialogue that Carr was hoping for has come in the form of remarks on the website of The Batavian and its Facebook page.

On one side, there is City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. consistently stating the municipality’s position that since the city already owns the Alva Place lot – which was deemed the No. 2 choice by a police facility task force that met in 2015 – erecting a new police facility there would result in a significant cost savings.

The first choice, a parcel on Swan Street, was not a city-owned property. When city leaders inquired about its availability, they were told it was not for sale.

While no official budgetary figures have been released (that will happen at the conclusion of the feasibility study by Architecture Unlimited LLC, of Williamsville), previous cost estimates were in the $9 million to $12 million range. City officials are hopeful that the building they are proposing will cost less than that based on similar completed projects in the Town of Clarence and Town of Greece.

Jankowski: City Saves Money as Property Owner

“Here’s the thing about the farmers’ market,” Jankowski said. “We’re saving $500,000 by building the station on our own property. The farmers’ market manager in her emails and in her comments on Facebook, which some of them were out of line, is expecting us to just give them a $500,000 value or more lot in the middle of town. We’ve already been given a walkability study that says we have too many parking lots. Those lots were designed for buildings to be put there.”

Jankowski said Carr is advocating for the city give to the market taxpayer-funded property at no charge.

“And I don’t know who is going to pay for the building they want to put on there. I’m thinking she expects the city to pay for the building as well,” he said. “She wants us to build and give her a piece of property, and then we need to go buy another piece of property, take that off the tax rolls and build our police station on some third, fourth or fifth choice that we can come up with so she can have the farmers’ market there.”

On the other side is Carr, who said she is simply looking for City Council to allow directors of the farmers’ market to present pertinent information about the markets’ customer base and nutritional needs in an era of COVID-19.

“Mr. Jankowski says we are taking a hard line? The only hard line is that this was dictated to us,” she said. “We were never in agreement and we were never asked to have a conversation. We were told from day one that we would have to move.”

Carr said that Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski informed market officials that they could stay in their current location through 2021.

“It always was with the intent that we would have to move, which is why I spoke in front of City Council and asked for open dialogue, so we could talk about this,” Carr said. “And I was shocked at how Mr. Jankowski handled himself the next day. He printed lies. He said that we’re trying to steal property from the city and that we were already in agreement to this move.”

Carr Takes Exception to Facebook Post

She also said that Jankowski insulted (Farmers’ Market Treasurer) Sharon Brent, posting a Facebook comment that read “How can anyone buy from this woman?”

“We have no idea how that has hurt her business, and she has been in her business for 45 years,” Carr said.

A review of the numerous statements on The Batavian’s Facebook page reveals that Jankowski’s actual post was as follows: “The market is now demanding the city turn over that property to them for permanent use for free. It’s very disappointing that the market is trying to steal a piece of property from the taxpayers valued at over $500,000. After this behavior who would want to do business with them at this point?”

Carr admitted that the farmers’ market has no right to dictate city policy, but at least should be respected enough -- considering that it does bring people and revenue to Batavia – to be invited to the table to talk about its fate.

“The city has never had any conversation with us,” she said. “We are a bunch of farmers. I’m new to the market. Who are we to say we want the city to build a building for us? Who is saying that? We are not.”

As far as the feasibility study is concerned, Public Works Director Matt Worth said he has sent utility and survey information, and boundaries and dimensions of the Alva Place lot to the architectural firm, while architects have made some on-site visits and are reviewing operations of the existing police facility – the 165-year-old former Brisbane Mansion at 10 W. Main St.

“We’re pretty much on the front end of it. We’re in the information gathering process, I would say at this point,” said Worth, who expects the study to take another six months or so.

Worth: Feasibility Study is Determining Factor

Worth said the feasibility study will determine the configuration of the facility – one- or two-story, shape, provisions for parking, etc. – and is anticipating a price point that fits within the city’s plans to finance it over a 20- to 30-year period.

“We’ll have a really good idea once this is done. The original task force numbers were very conceptual and we didn’t have a lot of confidence that it was going to be that costly,” he said. “And that’s really where we made the connection with Architecture Unlimited. They were involved with a state police/sheriff’s facility that was built in the Town of Clarence, and so we were able to get some numbers that they had for that as well as the new police facility that was built in the Town of Greece.

“Looking at those and how the building could be configured, it became apparent that it seemed like it could be done for quite a bit less than that and make it more affordable.”

Worth said the feasibility study is costing the city $41,200.

Carr, when advised that the feasibility study was underway, said that was “new information” to her and questioned if Batavia residents were on board with such a long-term financial commitment.

“I’m not sure if the citizens want a police station there or if they really want a police station,” she offered. “It could be that citizens want to revisit how they’re tax dollars are to be used … and judging from comments on Facebook and The Batavian comments, about the location of the police department and if it is necessary.”

She then asked how city leaders set their priorities.

“Then I would ask of the city, during this feasibility study, what’s their measurement of success? In other words, who are they serving? Are they going to do something that’s going to ... how do they determine what best serves the citizens? They’ve got the farmers’ market.”

Would Relocation Affect Business?

Carr did agree that the current police headquarters is inadequate, but said that placing a new one would on the Alva Place lot would devastate the farmers’ market.

“If the market moved to Angotti’s (Beverage Corp.) parking lot on School Street … well, 73 percent of our customers walk or bike and (right now) no one crosses Main Street or Ellicott Street. You might as well put us on an island, all by ourselves,” she said.

“Seventy-three percent of our customers may not come because they’d have to cross those busy streets. Senior citizens with their walkers and motorized scooters – they’re not going to cross those busy streets. And we’d be that much farther removed from other customers we currently serve, such as the employees of the hospital and the YMCA.”

Jankowski said a new headquarters for the Batavia Police Department is long overdue.

“The facility is not proper right now – we know that – and it’s falling apart,” he said. “We need a building on our own property and we need a building where we can save money.”

The retired City of Batavia police officer then pointed out some of the problems with the current police station.

“Who is going to benefit from it? People in the community that are arrested. They’ll have a better facility to be housed in temporarily when they’re interviewed – in a proper area,” Jankowski said. “Evidence will be stored in a proper safe facility and not contaminating people with the fumes coming off it. You’ve got blood evidence, you’ve got drug evidence. That stuff is locked in an old safe now; there’s no ventilation in there. When those guys (police officers) walk in there, they’re taking a breath and inhaling that stuff. It can’t be healthy.”

Current Police Station is Lacking

Jankowski said the city has to meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements.

“We’re not making this stuff up,” he said. “When you’re a victim of a crime or domestic abuse, we have a safe place to go and you’re not being yelled at by your abuser because you’re in the same room and there’s a door there and he’s yelling through the window at you.”

The council president said he has received no complaints from the public until “Ms. Carr gets hired by the farmers’ market and now she is demanding that we turn over this lot to them at no charge and create a permanent place for the market.”

“I love the market … but nobody said it was a permanent deal. It was land that was not being used and we said, ‘Sure, you can use it temporarily.’ I do know that when they were moved there, it was not my impression that they were moved there permanently.”

Jankowski said the city would like to help them find another location, preferably close to downtown. He also said the farmers’ market has the option to purchase city-owned property at the fair market rate and erect its own structure, adding that nonprofits such as Genesee/Orleans Council on Substance Abuse and Alcoholism and YMCA invest their own money to construct their own buildings.

He suggested moving it behind the YMCA.

“They’re going to be having a big wellness thing there (Healthy Living campus) and maybe the best place is to move across the street and be right behind the Y,” he said. “We’re trying to help them find a location, but from what I’m told, they want the place they’re at now and nothing we offer is acceptable to them at this point. Personally, the way they’re acting, I have lost interest in the farmers’ market being there even another year.”

Who are the Bullies in This Situation?

While Jankowski contends the farmers’ market is trying to “bully” the city, Carr said it is the other way around.

“We are being bullies by asking for conversation? A bully is someone who dictates terms and that’s what the city is doing to us. We’re in a totally reactive position. We have no clout,” she said.

Carr said she seeks to inform Council members of information that needs to be considered.

“I’m bringing to their attention a New York State Field & Fork survey that shows groundswell that that area is the perfect location for the market – as 73 percent of the customers are able to walk and bike (to get there),” she said. “In addition, in 2018 across the nation was the beginning of a movement (that) everyone wants more local produce from their farmers’ markets. And just recently, USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) issued an RFI (request for information) stating that by the year 2050, 40 percent of all locally grown produce must come from locally grown in order to reduce the carbon footprint by 50 percent.”

She also said that people need to be educated on the relationship between COVID-19 and healthy eating.

“How can you make decisions with such game-changing facts in front of you based on data that’s five years out of date?” she asked. “COVID is the game-changer here. It’s a known fact that eating more produce increases your immunity and it’s from only your locally grown produce where you get optimal nutrition. These changes are taking place and they have been going on for quite a while and you’ve missed this data.”

Carr said directors of the farmers’ market plan to meet on Nov. 16 to discuss their options, mentioning that she has reached out to Congressman Chris Jacobs to see if he could assist in helping them to locate some funding independent of the city.

“As far as the farmers’ market and the reception that the farmers’ market received, including Mr. Jankowski slamming our lead farmer, why wouldn’t we just pack up and move to Batavia Downs or get someone to underwrite us and go elsewhere?” she asked. “What’s the point in staying Downtown because the city doesn’t want us there? They’ve been kicking us around, year to year, going on the 12th time in the course of 15 years, without conversation. Does that seem right?”

Previously: Farmers' market treasurer provides information in response to City Council's queries

Previously: Farmers' Market manager asks Council to reconsider placing new police station on Alva Place lot

Previously: Placement of 'nomadic' Genesee Country Farmers' Market is up in the air once more

August 8, 2020 - 10:22am

In compliance with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order on policing reform, the City of Batavia has set the wheels in motion to form a 15-member Batavia Police Collaboration Advisory Stakeholder Group that will assist in drafting a plan based on community input by April 1, 2021.

The executive order, “New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative,” stipulates that police departments must adopt a plan by the April date to be eligible for future state funding.

The topic is on both the Conference and Business agendas of Monday night’s City Council meeting at City Hall Council Chambers. The Conference meeting will begin at 7 o’clock.

Acting City Manager Rachael Tabelski, in a July 30 memo to City Council, wrote that the governor’s mandate is in “direct response to incidents involving law enforcement officials whereby actions of particular officer(s) resulted in the death of unarmed citizens.”

“The City of Batavia stands in deep sadness and grief over the actions of a few officers who have contributed to a culture of mistrust and divisiveness,” she wrote. “No one deserves to be abused, or treated unfairly, by members of their community and especially not by law enforcement officials.”

In boldface type: “All individuals should be held to the same standard, with no one above the law – whether civilian, law enforcement or government official and those that break the law should be held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent.”

Tabelski continued, praising the Batavia police force as “a world-class police department comprised of men and women who take the job of protecting and serving our community very seriously. The Batavia Police Department has and will continue to uphold a high standard of professionalism in themselves and those that serve with.”

According to the resolution to be considered by Council, the advisory group will consist of the following:

  • City manager;
  • Police chief;
  • Assistant police chief;
  • City attorney;
  • One City Council member;
  • Two citizen representatives;
  • Batavia Housing Authority director;
  • Director of a not-for-profit that serves human interests (i.e. YWCA);
  • District attorney representative;
  • Public defender representative;
  • Batavia Police Benevolent Association representative;
  • Batavia City School District superintendent;
  • Community religious leader;
  • Business leader representative.

The role of the advisory group, per the memo, is to review current police department policies, procedures and training initiatives, and to recommend improvements in areas such as community policing, response, crime prevention through environmental design and training enhancements.

“The goal of the Group will be to build upon the current policies adopted by the Department, that meet or exceed industry standards and best practices, and to build further relationships within the community,” Tabelski wrote.

According to supporting documentation for Monday’s meeting, the Batavia Police Department has already met or exceeded about a dozen standards or initiatives spelled out in Cuomo’s executive order.

Those include updates of use of force policy, standards of conduct/community relations/biased based policing and training, law enforcement diversion programs, restorative justice practices, community outreach, hot-spot policing, focused deterrence (specialized patrols) and violence prevention, and the department is in the process of being accepted into the NYS Accreditation Program.

The timetable for advisory group activities lists Sept. 1st as the deadline for the committee’s formation (applications will be accepted at the city manager’s office), schedule regular meetings beginning in September, draft presentation of the plan to Council in January, public comments in February and final version of the plan in March.

In other developments, Tabelski:

-- Will share details of a July 29 memo to Council that projects a $1.18 million loss to the City of Batavia due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown in the state. That number is significantly less than the April projection of a $2.5 million loss in sales tax and other revenue sources.

“(After the first quarter) sales tax and property tax losses were not as severe as originally forecasted,” she reported.

The memo indicates that the city has the potential to save $641,388 as a result of a spending freeze, layoffs and hiring freezes that began in April and the potential to gain $185,524 in revenue when considering Video Lottery Terminal funds ($352,631) and other sources ($79,000) which “will assist in offsetting the anticipated reduction in AIM (Aid and Incentives to Municipalities) aid in the amount of $246,107.”

Subtracting the potential receipts from the $1.18 million in projected revenue loss, the current shortfall comes to $357,585.

-- Will recommend paying $750 per month stipends, effective July 1, to Dawn Fairbanks, human resource specialist; Lisa Neary, director of finance, and Lisa Casey, confidential secretary to the city manager, for additional duties they have taken on since the departure of former City Manager Martin Moore.

Tabelski moved from Assistant City Manager into the Acting City Manager role on June 22.

As a result, she wrote in a memo dated July 30, Fairbanks, Neary and Casey assumed some of the duties assigned to the assistant manager, including implementation and management of projects pertaining to software applications, information technology, fiber network connections, flood zone communications, risk management and Bond Anticipation Notes for future capital projects.

August 6, 2020 - 2:55pm

From City of Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch:

Effective Sept. 1, officers will begin ticketing vehicles parked overnight on City streets in accordance with section 178-13 of the City of Batavia Municipal Code:

§ 178-13 All-night parking.
The parking of vehicles is hereby prohibited on all highways within the City of Batavia between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Officers have been and will continue to issue warnings during the month of August in an effort to remind residents of the enforcement. The practice of issuing overnight parking tickets had been suspended during the coronavirus pandemic.

If you have a hardship and need to park a vehicle in the street overnight due to driveway paving, construction or similar issue you may contact the dispatch center at 345-6350 and ask to speak with the on-duty supervisor to discuss the hardship. If you have any questions regarding this policy please contact the on-duty supervisor.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation.

June 17, 2020 - 9:25am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, City of Batavia Police Department.

A statement issued today by City of Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch in response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order mandating that all New York police agencies must revise their policies and procedures by April 2021 or risk losing state and/or federal funding:

“The Batavia Police Department is working towards New York State accreditation and follows all of the most current policies and procedures from the Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Municipal Police Training Council (MPTC) with regards to Use of Force and other policies governing police services.

“The BPD remains dedicated to community involvement and community policing. The men and women in the BPD seek to identify and de-escalate problems as they arise among residents and they take their duty to protect and server seriously. The officers in the City of Batavia are dedicated, professional, public servants who serve the community every day to the best of their abilities.

“After reviewing the Governor’s new executive order with the City Manager’s Office, I feel that we as a department are well positioned to move forward to enhance our police services. We have most of the polices and “evidence-based policing strategies” in place here in our City.

The BPD will continue to seek community input and will look forward to working with City management, the City Attorney, City Council, City leaders, City residents and our collective associations in regards to the executive order.”

On Monday, The Batavian posted a statement from Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron in response to the Executive Order.

May 11, 2020 - 11:52am

Above, Village of Corfu Police Department Officer Scott Johnston.

Photos and press release from the Office of the Sheriff, Genesee County:

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as National Police Week.

Typically, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, D.C., to participate in a number of planned events which honor those officers that have paid the ultimate sacrifice during this week.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic these events have been cancelled this year.

Genesee County Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr., City of Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch, Village of Le Roy Police Chief Christopher Hayward, along with the Genesee County Legislature, recognize this week in honor of all those in the law enforcement profession for the countless hours each officer dedicates to the community in which they serve.

The Genesee County Legislature will be issuing a proclamation at its Wednesday night meeting recognizing May 10 – 16, 2020, as National Police Week. The lights on the Old County Courthouse cupola will be changed to blue to acknowledge this week.

Law enforcement officers are always prepared to respond and aid our residents, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“We commend the women and men of the law enforcement community for their selfless dedication to the protection of the citizens and communities they serve. May God bless them and their families. Please take a moment and join us in paying tribute to these tremendous individuals and remember those that have given the ultimate sacrifice,” said Sheriff Sheron, Chief Heubusch and Chief Hayward in a joint statement.

Above, Village of Le Roy Police Department, from left: Officer Adriano Medici, Detective John Condidorio, Officer Zachary Klafehn, Officer Chris Ford, Sergeant Greg Kellogg, Officer Curt Miller, Officer Steve Cappotelli, Officer Connor Denz.

Above, Genesee County Sheriff's Office, from left: Sergeant Michael J. Lute, Deputy Rachel M. Diehl, Investigator Joseph D. Loftus, Deputy Robert C. Henning, Deputy Travis M. DeMuth.

Above, City of Batavia Police Department, from left: Officer Austin Hedges, Officer Felicia DeGroot, Officer Josh Girvin, Officer Nicole McGinnis, Officer Sam Freeman.

April 3, 2020 - 10:29am

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Press release:

The Genesee County Health Department, Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, GOW Opioid Task Force and local police/public safety departments have come together to offer an innovative program for Genesee County residents dealing with substance use disorders.

The City of Batavia Police Department, Genesee County Sheriff’s Department, Village of Le Roy Police and, most recently, the City of Batavia Fire Department have signed on to participate in the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI).

This is a nationwide effort to provide support and resources to help law enforcement agencies create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery.

“We wholeheartedly believe in a ‘multiple pathways to recovery approach’ and PAARI is an important component in that philosophy,” said John Bennett, GCASA executive director. “The commitment of local law enforcement and now the Batavia City Fire Department to this program expands the spectrum to access services.”

The City of Batavia Fire Department is the first fire department in New York – and one of only a few in the nation -- to enlist in PAARI.

Fire Chief Stefano “Steve” Napolitano said he is proud to unite with the other Genesee County agencies already in the program.

“As a fire-based emergency medical services provider within the City of Batavia, we have firsthand knowledge of the opioid dilemma within our community,” he said. “In an effort to assist with this problem, we have designed an intake location within fire headquarters to provide a safe and judgment-free place where a person can come and seek assistance and interventional services. This, in turn, can prevent an overdose death and increase the safety of responding crews by having a safe setting in which to assist.”

Napolitano added that PAARI “aligns with our department’s mission to provide life safety services to all in need and, hopefully, our involvement acts as a catalyst for other fire departments to join in this endeavor.”

The foyer inside the public entrance to the fire headquarters on Evans Street has been renovated with funding from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation, a major sponsor of the GOW Opioid Task Force.

City of Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch, who chairs the law enforcement work group of the GOW Opioid Task Force, has been instrumental in making the PAARI program a reality in Genesee County.

“The City of Batavia and Batavia Police Department have taken a proactive approach to assisting with the opioid epidemic by becoming part of the county-wide PAARI program,” Heubusch said. “This allows those suffering from substance abuse disorder to come to the police station, anytime of the day or night, to ask for assistance. We will then, no questions asked, contact a peer support advocate and connect that individual.”

He added that his department is “proud to do our part to help stem the opioid crisis by getting those community members that are in need into services, and by helping reduce the stigma of substance abuse.”

 “It’s important that the community knows that this program is here and that recovery is possible,” said Christen Ferraro, GOW Opioid Task Force coordinator. “On behalf of our hundreds of task force stakeholders, I would like to thank law enforcement for participating in PAARI and other initiatives and, especially, the Greater Rochester Health Foundation for its continued support.”

Ferraro noted that peer advocates are currently available for telephone and internet support during the COVID-19 situation, with normal face-to-face interventions to resume as conditions warrant.

Photo: City of Batavia Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano stands next to the plaque designating fire headquarters on Evans Street as a Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative location.

Disclosure: Story and photo by Mike Pettinella, GCASA publicist.

March 24, 2020 - 3:56pm

Press release:

Effective Sunday, March 22, enforcement of overnight parking regulations in the City of Batavia were suspended until further notice. Overnight parking will be allowed to accommodate families and residents impacted by COVID-19.

We encourage residents who can still use their driveways for parking to do so, however we do not want to penalize families that might have extra vehicles at their residence at this time.

Please continue to lock your vehicle and always remove valuables to prevent theft.

In the event of an emergency, or your vehicle is blocking work for the Department of Public Works (i.e. snowplowing, water main break, etc.), you will be asked to move the vehicle or it may be towed.

All other parking regulations such as blocking a fire hydrant, parking in a fire lane or parking in a handicap zone will be strictly enforced. 

Also effective Sunday, March 22, City of Batavia Police officers will not provide courtesy unlock of vehicles, unless there are exigent circumstances such as a child or pet locked inside. 

Furthermore, Batavia Police officers will begin to take enhanced extra precautions when responding to calls for service. 

Callers to dispatch will need to answer screening questions to better aid in appropriate response from emergency personnel. City of Batavia Police Officers and other emergency personnel may wear respirator masks, protective gloves, clear safety glasses and other personal protective equipment when answering calls. 

These measures will ensure the safety of the community and first responders so that they can continue to serve residents in the best capacity possible.

Anyone with signs or symptoms consistent with the CDC guidelines for coronavirus should inform dispatchers, officers, and emergency personnel as soon as practicable.  

If you have any questions about these measures please feel free to contact Police Chief Shawn Heubusch at [email protected].

Thank you for your continued support and cooperation as we all work together to keep Batavia safe.

December 31, 2019 - 3:07pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, City of Batavia Police Department.

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Retiring Det. Sgt. Kevin Czora said he had to continually pinch himself as he performed his day-to-day tasks as a member of the Batavia City Police Department.

“Every day for the last 20 years, when I would pull into the parking lot, I would still get those chills like ‘I can’t believe that I’m actually coming here right now to work.’ And I’m thankful that I never lost that feeling,” Czora said during brief comments earlier today at a retirement party at police headquarters on West Main Street.

Czora continued by encouraging his colleagues, many of whom were in attendance, with some simple advice:

“Take care of each other and take care of yourselves,” he said. “There’s a lot of stress and a lot of hard times that come with the job, so make sure you take care of each other and enjoy your job. Don’t let the negative attitudes get to you. Love what you do.”

A feeling of togetherness filled the second-floor meeting room where lunch and a special cake were provided.

An Amherst High School graduate, Czora completed a 20-year stint with the Batavia PD, with his last day today. He received a plaque from the department and a unique wooden flag from Steven Robinson, Genesee County emergency services dispatcher.

Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said as soon as he met Czora in 2012, he realized that he would be someone he could count on.

“Right away I knew that Kevin was going to be a go-to guy. He was very knowledgeable and did not have any qualms about trying to do new things, try different techniques, different tactics,” Heubusch said. “Kevin has always been kind of an innovator when it comes to that.

Heubusch said Kevin displayed a positive attitude, and noted that the “professionalism and integrity that he brings to the department is bar none. He’s beyond reproach.”

Czora came to Batavia after working with the Federal Reserve as a protections officer.

“When I started here, I didn’t even know how to get to Batavia from the Buffalo area and knew nothing about the community or the department, or even the county,” he said. “Over the years, it has grown into my second home. I have a lot of passion not for just this department but for the community itself.”

He worked his way up from a police officer on the afternoon shift and then to the midnight shift. In time, he earned the rank of sergeant and then detective sergeant.

While he didn’t want to share any particular moments on the job, he did mention that the “camaraderie and the family atmosphere that this department creates has been the most memorable part of it.”

“There have been a number of situations, but as now-retired Detective Rich Schauf mentioned at his retirement, for every memory that you have, there’s a victim on the other side of it, and that’s something that you have to keep in mind and respect. So, even though I have some personal memories, I’m going to keep them personal.”

Czora resides in Amherst with his wife, Lisa, a school teacher, and their sons, Andrew, 20, who is in the Marines, and Evan, 18, who will be enlisting in the Army in July.

He said he has no immediate future plans, but will “take a little time off to recoup from the career, take a mental break and (eventually) I’ll find something to keep my hands busy.”

Czora said he plans to continue playing ice hockey (he’s been a goalie for the past 45 years) and will find time to do some boating.

Heubusch announced that Sgt. Matt Lutey will move into the detective sergeant position, replacing Czora, effective Jan. 7.

The chief said that Sgt. Chris Camp, a 12-year employee, will move into the Assistant Chief post, replacing Todd Crossett, who has accepted a police officer position with the VA Medical Center in Batavia. Camp also will be in charge of the emergency response team, and Officer Mitch Cowen will be promoted to sergeant on Jan. 31.

Photos from top -- Kevin Czora, right, and Chief Shawn Heubusch enjoy a story from retired Batavia Police Officer Pat Mooney at today's retirement party for Czora; Steve Robinson presents Czora with a commemorative flag; Czora and his fellow officers gather for a group picture. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

January 18, 2019 - 2:14pm

Press release from the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, forwarded this afternoon to The Batavian by City of Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch:

The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police representing more than 500 police chiefs, commissioners, superintendents and other command level police executives, stands in opposition of the State’s intention to propose legislation that would legalize regulated marijuana in New York State.

As police officers, we are sworn to enforce federal, state and municipal laws and to protect the public. Marijuana is illegal under federal law and is classified as a “Schedule 1,” drug which means that the federal government views cannabis as highly addictive with no medical value.

The New England Journal of Medicine reports that “The epidemiological and preclinical data suggests that the use of marijuana in adolescence could influence multiple addictive behaviors in adulthood.” New York State is currently battling an opioid epidemic with law enforcement and public health professionals on the frontline and it would be counterintuitive to condone the use of marijuana.

Aside from the numerous health-related issues with the use of marijuana, we are concerned with how the legalization will impact public safety. Of great concern is traffic safety. New York has been making great strides in lowering traffic fatalities to the lowest numbers on record. In comparing data in Colorado (which legalized marijuana in 2013), the first year that marijuana was legalized traffic fatalities increased 62 percent in that one year.

The detection of impairment by drugs on the roadside must be performed by a certified Drug Recognition Expert, which is a law enforcement officer that has undergone at least two weeks of classroom training and an additional one week of practical field training. It is anticipated that law enforcement would have to add approximately 650 new Drug Recognition experts to handle the necessity of the increase in suspected impaired drivers.

Most law enforcement agencies within New York State have 20 or less members. Without the appropriate funding from the state, the financial impact could be crippling to some municipalities.

In addition to the need for new DRE’s, legalizing regulated marijuana would necessitate retiring a large majority of Police K-9 dogs that are trained to detect marijuana, as their detection capabilities would no longer be admissible in court. The replacement of these K-9 officers could easily take five to seven years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There has not been ample time or studies conducted in order to see what pitfalls may arise should marijuana be legalized in the State of New York. Only after bringing all stakeholders together for meetings, studies and dialog can an educated, informed decision be made.

Once again, I must emphasize that the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police is in opposition to the legalization of marijuana. I urge the State to proceed cautiously, learning from other states that have already suffered the deleterious effects of this decision, before moving forward with legalization in New York State.

Jan. 17, 2019

New York State Association of Chiefs of Police Inc.

24 Century Hill Drive, Suite 002, Latham, NY 12110

Chief John C. Aresta (Malverne PD), President
Jeffrey F. Morris, Executive Director

www.nychiefs.org

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