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November 20, 2018 - 4:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pawn king, pawn law, pawn shops, crime, law enforcement, news, notify.

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Local law enforcement is backing a new proposed county law to more tightly regulate pawnbrokers but the draft legislation may have a spill-over impact on other local businesses.

At least one county legislator, Andrew Young, is opposed to passing the new law.

A public hearing on the proposed law has been set for 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 12 in the Old County Courthouse. (Download PDF of proposed local law).

The purpose of the law is to help local law enforcement find stolen property, recover stolen property, and apprehend the criminals who pilfer other people's property. 

“Basically, our interest in doing this is an interest in not only being able to prosecute people who steal this property and take it to pawn shops to be sold, but also making it possible to make things right for victims of these burglaries," said District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, who drafted the proposed law at the request of Sheriff's Office.

Friedman, as well as Undersheriff Gregory Walker and Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster, were clear however, there's really only one business in Genesee County that is the target of the law and that is Pawn King, 4140 Veterans Memorial Drive.

"I worked with Jerry from the start five years ago," Friedman said. "The request came from local law enforcement because of a problem primarily with residential burglaries and that proceeds from these burglaries were primarily going to pawn shops and primarily one local pawn shop," Friedman told members of the Public Service Committee at a meeting Monday.

The Legislature considered a similar law five years ago but after opposition from scrap metal dealers at a public hearing, where they raised concerns about the logistical difficulty in tracking where scrap metal came from, the proposed law lost support among legislators.

County Attorney Kevin Earl has modified the bill to remove regulation of scrap metal dealers.

During his presentation in support of the proposed law, Friedman recalled two recent incidents he said illustrates the need for the law.

If you read the local news, Friedman told legislators, you know about a recent incident where a suspect pulled into the driveway of County Manager Jay Gsell and allegedly threw a stolen gun from the car. That case is linked, Friedman said, to a recent string of burglaries in the area and one of the suspects allegedly used a fake ID to pawn stolen items at Pawn King.

"That's a big problem," Friedman said. "That's one example of something that goes on here on a regular basis."

Friedman also said the assistant district attorney for the Town of Batavia Court recently took an affidavit from a witness who said he saw a person wheel an entire shopping cart full of merchandise from Walmart to Pawn King across the street and pawn all of the items.

"That's the kind of thing we're dealing with," Friedman said.

Brewster said the proposed law would make his job, and the job of all local criminal investigators, easier.

"It will make it harder to get away with illegal activity and make it easier to prosecute those who are breaking the law," Brewster said.

Friedman said when he wrote the law five years ago, he patterned it after a law already passed in Monroe County as well as ones in other jurisdictions.

There are similar other laws in other jurisdictions, including other states, and some of them have run into legal challenges over the implication in the laws of warrantless searches, which violate the Fourth Amendment.

Under the terms of these laws, including the law proposed in Genesee County, police officers can enter the place of business of a secondhand dealer without notice and inspect the property and demand to inspect the mandated records kept by the business.

In California, GameStop is suing over a pawn shop law.

In this law journal article, the author says that in New York, courts have found, specifically in People v. Keta, that the state has a greater interest in stopping chop shops from trafficking in stolen parts than chop shop owners have a right to privacy. The Supreme Court has ruled that records inspections of closely regulated businesses, which includes pawn shops, are permissible.

However, Onondaga County paid a $15,000 settlement in 2015 after a court ruled his business was the victim of a warrantless search under that county's pawn shop law. Also in New York, a New York City law that required law enforcement inspections of pawn shop records was struck down by a judge there.

Last night, The Batavian emailed Friedman and Earl and asked them how these New York cases, which are more relevant than cases in other states, differ from the proposed local law and we haven't received a response.

Young said Cattaraugus County passed a similar law and later repealed it. We couldn't find any news coverage of such a repeal, but we did find a story about the City of Salamanca deciding to repeal its pawn shop law after local antique dealers objected to the law.

While the proposed law does target pawn shops, the definition of secondhand dealers includes any business, with a couple of exceptions, that acquires previously used items for the purpose of resale to the public.

This would seem to include antique dealers, junk dealers, non-charitable thrift stores and secondhand shops, and used record stores.

Exceptions are written into the law for clothing and books but no other items.

Jewelry stores and coin dealers with sales of less than 15 percent of sales from used items are also exempt from the law. Also exempt, antique dealers who sell exclusively at trade shows and licensed auctioneers.

The law also covers the resale of gift cards. This seems to apply to the resale of gift cards from other businesses, which is common in local businesses, such as Tops Market, Walmart, and Target, as well as The Batavian.

Earl told legislators those type of gift cards, even though they are acquired from the issuer for resale to a third party, are not covered by the law.

He quoted from Section 2, paragraph F:

"Secondhand Article" means any article or object, with the exception of clothing and books, that has previously been bought or sold at retail and/or which has been previously used and/or is not in a new condition.  This shall include any “gift card” .... 

Earl argued that the law only covers gift cards that are considered "used" even though once a gift card is used, it loses its value.

The purpose of including gift cards is to deal with criminals who shoplift from stores such as Walmart and then return the items. Since they don't have a receipt, they are given a gift card. Brewster said, for example, they might get a $100 gift card and then walk over to Pawn King and sell it for $50.

When questioned after the meeting about clarity on the gift card provision, Friedman reiterated it was not the intention of the law to cover gift cards sold by The Batavian or retail outlets such as Tops. He said it would be up to the Legislature to refine the law if they thought such clarity was necessary.

"I guess what I'm going to say is we drafted it as we thought was appropriate," Freidman said. "This is not the end. You know there's going to be a public hearing and everyone is going to have an opportunity to be heard about that. And presumably, there could be further refinements made to it just like we did after the last public hearing."

The law as proposed requires secondhand dealers to acquire a license. There is a $150 annual fee for the license. Licenses could be denied to anybody with a criminal conviction and potentially to businesses with employees who have criminal convictions for property crimes.

Secondhand dealers would be required to keep written records of all transactions -- both buying and selling -- in their shops as well as enter data into LeadsOnline, a private business that law enforcement can contract with to track the acquisition of used merchandise by dealers. LeadsOnline is free to participating businesses.

Dealers would be required to obtain photo identification of every person, and make a photocopy of the ID, of every seller or buyer of merchandise.

Section 12, paragraph B:

Prior to acquiring or disposing of any secondhand article covered by this local law, every Secondhand Dealer shall request Identification from the seller or purchaser and shall verify the identity of such individual by comparing the individual to the photographic image contained on said Identification. The Secondhand Dealer shall record the individual’s name, date of birth and address (or current address if different than that listed on the Identification), and the Identification number (e.g., motorist ID number) listed on the Identification. The Secondhand Dealer shall make a photocopy of the front of the Identification.

Failure to comply with the law is a Class B misdemeanor.

The law also covered dealers who transact business online, such as eBay resellers, if they're based in Genesee County.

It's not clear how online retailers would comply with the requirement to obtain a physical ID of buyers and sellers.

License dealers must also allow local law enforcement and code enforcement to inspect their place of business prior to receiving a license and at any time upon request once the license is issued.

Young made the point that many Web-based businesses operate out of the owners' homes and he asked if such owners would be expected to make their homes subject to inspection by law enforcement.

None of the advocates for the law provided an answer to the question.

Young compared the law to code enforcement and health inspection laws, which usually involve an appointment with the inspector.

"Not only is an appointment made," Young said, "the consequences are you're not serving the lunch next day. In this case, you go to jail."

Earl said, as a Class B misdemeanor, there is no jail term. It's more like a traffic ticket.

The proposed law was first discussed in the Public Service Committee. Young is not a member of the Public Service Committee but he was given an opportunity to voice his concerns.

The Public Service Committee unanimously recommended approving a public hearing on the proposed law.

The Ways and Means Committee met immediately after the first meeting. Young does serve on that committee and Ways and Means was also asked to vote on approval of a public hearing.

Young again raised objections to the proposed law, which prompted another discussion.

There isn't a need for the law, Young suggested, because Pawn King is already entering its transactions in LeadsOnline. Young said he spoke with the manager of the local Pawn King.

"It’s not true," Walker said. "He may say that but he’s not doing it."

During Public Service, Friedman hinted but didn't outright say, that Pawn King conducts some transactions after regular business hours.

Young voted no to send the proposed law to a public hearing. He thinks the bill should go back to the lawyers to clarify key points.

"There are too many unanswered questions," he said.

Chairwoman Marianne Clattenburg suggested that the bill could go to public hearing and the Legislature could then better determine how to amend the law after hearing from the public.

Ways and Means approved sending the proposed law to a public hearing on a 4-1 vote.

Much of Young's objection to the proposed law is that it creates a new regulatory scheme for businesses, which he thinks runs counter to the county's effort to try and attract new business.

"This is an unprecedented law in this county," Young said. "In this county, we don't have too many local laws and they've usually been reserved for things that are really important. Monroe County has a different governing body and they think differently than ours, but we're taking one of their laws and making it even more restrictive."

Young argued that the problem in Genesee County doesn't rise to the level of passing new laws.

Friedman said there is a pressing need for the law.

“I have to disagree with the statement that there is no problem here," Friedman said. "There is absolutely a problem here.”

Photo: Public Service Committee meeting.

September 24, 2018 - 1:18pm

Submitted photo and press release from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office:

Early this year, Genesee County was selected to be the recipient of technical assistance and funding to develop a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program with resources made available through the NYS Senate and allocated to the NYS Office of Mental Health.

The Office of Mental Health (OMH), Division of Forensic Services, is managing the crisis intervention services initiative.

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training is a program that has been developed to help police officers in situations involving individuals with mental illness. The concept of CIT began in Memphis, Tenn., in 1988, and has become nationally known as the “Memphis Model” of pre-arrest jail diversion for those in a mental health crisis. 

A Crisis Intervention Team is a group of experienced police officers who volunteer to receive an additional, one-week training in mental health-related issues.

Last week, local law enforcement officers from the Genesee and Wyoming County sheriff's offices, the City of Batavia Police Department, Village of Le Roy Police Department, Village of Attica Police Department, and Genesee and Wyoming county probation offices participated in training.

The training will prepare officers so that when they are the first responders to an incident, they have the knowledge, skills and support to de-escalate situations and divert individuals from the criminal and juvenile justice systems, when it’s appropriate to do so.

Among the goals of CIT programs are to reduce the number of arrests of individuals with mental illness, refer them to treatment facilities or other support services, and eliminate adverse incidents between law enforcement and those with mental illness. CIT programs involve ongoing collaboration and partnerships between, and among, law enforcement, the mental health system, and consumer and advocacy groups.

Photo: Local law enforcement officers from the Genesee and Wyoming County sheriff's offices, the City of Batavia Police Department, Village of Le Roy Police Department, Village of Attica Police Department, and Genesee and Wyoming county probation offices who participated in CIT training.

June 23, 2018 - 3:08pm

Genesee County Human Resources Department announces an open competitive examination for Deputy Sheriff, O.C. #65-623.

SALARY

Genesee County -- $28.43 – $31.42 per hour (2018)

VACANCY

This examination is being held to establish an eligible list to fill future vacancies, which may occur during the life of the eligible list.

An eligible may receive only one permanent appointment from this list. Once appointed, there will be a Probationary Period of 8-78 weeks based on performance of duties. During this probationary period the Department Head has the ability to terminate employment, without cause.

Residency Requirement to Participate in the Examination

Candidates must have been legal residents of Genesee County at the time of examination and for at least two months prior to the date of the examination.

Residency Requirement for Appointment

Candidates must be residents of Genesee County at the time of appointment.

LAST FILING DATE --- JULY 18, 2018

EXAMINATION DATE --- SEPT. 15, 2018

To find out about the minimum qualifications, education, filing fees and other requirements, see the full Deputy Sheriff listing here.

NOTE: ANY CHANGE TO A SCHEDULED EXAM, WHETHER A CANCELLATION RELATED TO A WEATHER EMERGENCY OR OTHER CONDITION, WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON RADIO STATION WBTA AM 1490 THE MORNING OF THE EXAM. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICE.

June 20, 2018 - 5:29pm

The Genesee County Human Resources Department announces an open competitive examination for Police Officer, O.C. #65-746.

SALARY

City of Batavia -- $49,654 to $63,057, annually (2018)

Village of Le Roy -- $22.80 per hour full-time, $21 per hour part-time (2018)

Village of Corfu -- $16 per hour (2018)

VACANCY

This examination is being held to establish an eligible list to fill future vacancies as they occur. An eligible applicant may receive only one permanent appointment from this list. Once appointed, there will be a probationary period of 8 to 78 weeks based on performance of duties. During this probationary period the department head has the ability to terminate employment without cause.

Residency Requirements to Participate in the Examination

Candidates must be legal residents of Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans or Wyoming county at the time of the examination and for at least two months prior to the date of the examination.

Preference in Certification for Residents for Apppointment -- Section 23(4-a) of the Civil Service Law

When preference in certification is given to residents of a municiplaity pursuant to subdivision 4-1 of Section 23 of the Civil Service Law, an eligible applicant must have been at least two months prior to the date of the certification, a resident of the City of Batavia, the Village of Le Roy or the Village of Corfu in order to be included in a certification as a resident of such municipality.

Last Filing Date --- July 18, 2018

Examination Date --- Sept. 15, 2018

To find out about the minimum qualifications, filing fees and other requirements, see the full Police Officer listing here.

NOTE: ANY CHANGE TO A SCHEDULED EXAM, WHETHER A CANCELLATION RELATED TO A WEATHER EMERGENCY OR OTHER CONDITION, WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON RADIO STATION WBTA AM 1490 THE MORNING OF THE EXAM.  PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICE.

April 9, 2018 - 3:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in law enforcement, batavia.

On Friday, we published a story about the active threat training going on at the NYS School for the Blind in one of the vacant buildings. Batavia PD shared with us this video taken using an instructor's body cam of one of the force-on-force drills.

April 6, 2018 - 1:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in law enforcement, Batavia PD, batavia, news, notify.

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Dealing with active threats is the focus of two weeks of training hosted by Batavia PD in a vacant building at the NYS School for the Blind.

Officers from Batavia PD, the Sheriff's Office, State Police, and Probation are participating.

It's unfortunate, said Chief Shawn Heubusch, that these days, officers have to be ever ready, either on their own or as part of a team, to deal with somebody who is threatening the lives of other people.

"We learned a lot from the situation at Columbine," Heubusch said. "It used to be, surround, create a perimeter, wait for the cavalry to arrive, and then go in. That is no longer the norm. If there is an active shooter or active threat going on, you may be the first officer there, you may be the only officer there, but you’re going in and you’re going to take care of that threat to the best of your ability.

"That thinking has changed dramatically from the early or late '90s when these situations, unfortunately, became more prevalent."

The purpose of multi-agency training is to ensure all officers who respond to an active threat situation have gone through the same training because in a small county where law enforcement resources are limited, officers from agencies will be working together.

"We’re not a big huge department," Heubusch said. "We don’t have a 100 cops on the force. We don’t have 50 cops on the street at any given time. There may not be even 50 officers in the county, or less than that, at any given time, so you’re going to get what shows up."

In the training scenarios, officers from different agencies are working side by side as much as possible so they're learning the same tactics at the same pace.

"You just never know who is going to be available in a given situation and you’ve got to be familiar with tactics and on the same page," said Officer Marc Lawrence.

The training consists of classroom instruction followed by walk-throughs of techniques using simulated weapons and then "force-on-force" training, where offices are using weapons with clips filled with paintballs.

That's perhaps the most valuable training both Heubusch and Lawrence said and something officers don't get often through the normal course of training.

"When you go through the academy or you go to the range, it’s kind of a static environment," Heubusch said. "You’re shooting for the seven-yard line or the 15-yard line or something like that. This puts you in a real-life scenario situation where your energy is up, your adrenaline might be pumping a little bit. (Force-on-force) gives you more of a real-life look at things."

There's a price to pay, which keeps you on an edge, when there are real projectiles flying, Lawrence said.

"You may get shot with a simulation round," Lawrence said. "They hurt. They leave welts. And you get shot if you don’t do your job as a police officer. If you don’t clear a room properly, you may get shot."

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April 2, 2018 - 11:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia PD, law enforcement, news, batavia.

Press release:

Starting on April 2nd, the Batavia Police Department will be hosting two weeks of multi-agency Active Shooter Response Training with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Genesee County Probation Department, Leroy Police Department and the New York State Police – Troop A.

The training will be held at the New York State School for the Blind, Hamilton Hall building located at 2A Richmond Ave. in the City of Batavia.

The training will emphasize multi-officer and single officer tactical responses used to make entry into buildings and address the threats. Training instructors from all four agencies will be teaching during this multi-agency event.

The Departments wish to thank the NYS School for the Blind for providing the space for the departments to complete this important training.

February 25, 2018 - 7:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in mental health, law enforcement, news, notify.

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Local leaders in law enforcement, fire services, mental health and other crisis intervention professionals met at the Fire Training Center on Friday to help map out what services and resources the county has available to people with mental health issues.

The goal is to find ways to get people in the midst of a mental health crisis help before it becomes a law enforcement issue, and when a mental health issue does involve police officers, those officers have the training and resources to deal with it effectively.

Don Kamin, director of the Institute for Police, Mental Health & Community Collaboration in Rochester, along with Martin Giuliano, led the discussion.

Kamin's program is four years old and was created and funded by the State Senate. Both Monroe County and Erie County already have such programs in place, and it's now Genesee County's turn for organizing the program and providing training. 

In a couple of months, Kamin and his team and his team will return to start training a group of officers in local law enforcement who will be part of a Crisis Intervention Team. They will undergo 40 hours of training, on top of the 15 they've already received in their law enforcement academy, in dealing with subjects suffering from mental health issues.

"Number one, we want to train them on how to recognize mental illness and other disorders and then how to de-escalate that," Kamin said. "Also, just as important, give them more knowledge of the local system."

There are a number of mental resources available in Genesee County that could assist officers in the field but knowledge about those resources isn't evenly distributed through local law enforcement. One of the program's goals is to map out all of those resources and provide officers with the information.

"It's a good opportunity for us to take a step back and see what other communities are doing so that when we bring the report back to the Genesee County we can say 'hey, over here in Monroe County, over in Westchester, or over in Albany County, they're looking at these practices. Have you considered moving in that direction?' " Giuliano said. "We can try to integrate the best practices throughout New York State and get them spread to all the different communities."

New York's program is part of a national trend toward providing police officers with additional mental issue crisis intervention training -- this year the state's law enforcement academies will require 20 hours of training -- and creating crisis intervention teams.

"The goal here is to divert people from the criminal justice system when at all possible and get them the support they need," Kamin said. "This isn't a get out of jail free card. If folks, regardless of the level of mental illness, commit a serious crime they're going to be arrested; they're going to 14 West Street, but many times they don't need to be sent there and we want to intervene."

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February 10, 2018 - 4:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, news, law enforcement.

Press release:

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office will be offering its first annual Teen Academy July 23 – 27 at the Byron-Bergen Central School.

“The Teen Academy is a one-week structured program which consists of instructional classes designed to provide high-school-aged students within our community an introduction to law enforcement training and gain an understanding of law enforcement’s role in their community," said Sheriff William Sheron. "It is our hope that teens will build confidence while learning good decision-making and leadership skills."

Academy instructors are experienced Deputy Sheriffs who will discuss day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s Office.

Participants will also:

  • visit the Jail, 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Dispatch Center, and Sheriff’s Office;
  • observe displays of the Emergency Response Team (ERT), Hostage Negotiation, SCUBA Team, K-9 Unit and Evidence Recovery;
  • be provided insight into motor-vehicle accident reconstruction;
  • participate in daily physical fitness runs, defensive tactics and team-building exercises;
  • participate in a classroom setting and learn about the  NYS Penal Laws and Vehicle & Traffic Laws;
  • participate in mock traffic stops and DWI procedures.

Qualified candidates will be selected for an interview screening process if they meet the following requirements:

  • must be entering grades 10-12;
  • must be in good academic standing with little to no disciplinary issues;
  • must be able to participate in physical fitness activities;
  • must have a positive attitude;
  • must have their parent’s permission.

“This is a unique and forward-thinking opportunity offered by Genesee County Sheriff Sheron and the Department; Teens are invited to immerse and be exposed to the real law enforcement experience," said the chair of the Public Service Committee.

"More than imagining, the academy opportunity is live, in-the-minute learning about today’s community policing needs of an exciting career in law enforcement. Students are encouraged to ‘try on’ a law enforcement career role.” 

There is no charge to attend the academy. Application deadline is March 30.

For more information, contact Deputy Matthew Butler at (585) 345-3000, ext. 3252, or (585) 494-1220, ext. 2304, or via e-mail at [email protected]

Visit http://www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/sheriff/index.php to learn more and download an application.

January 26, 2018 - 8:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, news, notify, law enforcement.

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Investigator Pete Welker, a longtime member of the Local Drug Task Force, was named Officer of the Year by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office during an awards ceremony and luncheon today.

Senior Corrections Officer Kevin D. Wolff received the Distinguished Service Award.

Press release:

Officer of the Year Award – Investigator Ronald “Pete” Welker
Investigator Ronald “Pete” Welker has distinguished himself in the performance of service to the citizens of Genesee County during 2017. His professional skill and devotion to duty has been epitomized in his unfailing dedication to detect and arrest those responsible for drug dealing; his ability to cooperatively work with other agencies, particularly the City of Batavia Police Department; his fundamental orientation to public service and his willingness to teach others.

Investigator Welker’s efforts have made a significant contribution to the overall success of the Genesee County Drug Task Force which, in 2017, has had its most successful year in terms of defendants arrested. During this year, Investigator Welker’s daily performance has been a major contribution to the effectiveness, success and esteem of the Sheriff’s Office.

Investigator Ronald “Pete” Welker has reflected great credit upon himself and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and most deserves to be named Officer of the Year.

Distinguished Service Award – Senior Correction Officer Kevin D. Wolff
Senior Correction Officer Kevin D. Wolff has distinguished himself as a member of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. Senior Correction Officer Wolff has been a positive force within the jail division. He has taken the lead in training new officers and monitoring the JTO program for the last four years. He has been instrumental in working with New York State Commission of Corrections staff during cycle evaluations and, thereby, helping to obtain and maintain good reviews and good rapport with them.

Kevin has, for the past three years, been working with the New York State Police within their Field Intelligence Officer Program and has provided excellent information both to them and to the department through that venue. Senior Correction Officer Wolff has also recently taken the lead in working with auditors from the New York State Sheriffs’ Association in accomplishing Accreditation of the Jail Division later this coming year.

Senior Correction Officer Wolff’s knowledge and attention to detail have proven to be a great asset to the Department, and through his work, he has distinguished himself and brought great credit upon himself and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

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Deputy Ryan Young received a Commendation.

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Among the dispatchers receiving commendations were Communications Coordinator Russell L. Lang Sr., Emergency Services Dispatcher Michael T. Sheflin, Emergency Services Dispatcher Nathan L. Fix, and Services Dispatcher Andrew Merkel.

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Meritorious Service awards went to deputies Eric Meyer, Kevin Forsyth, Michael Lute, Ryan DeLong.

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Meritorious service awards were given to several dispatchers Jason Holman, Steve Robinson, Jenna Bauer and Kelly Smith.

Members of the Local Drug Task Force were honored for their work in 2017, which set a record for arrests. Present were Emily McNamara, from Le Roy PD, Investigator Pete Welker and Sgt. Brad Mazur.

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Senior Correction Officer Kevin D. Wolff, center, with his family, Jail Superintendent William Zipfel, Sheriff William Sheron, and Undersheriff Gregory Walker.

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Pete Welker with his family and Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster, Sheriff William Sheron, and Undersheriff Gregory Walker.

Longevity awards were given to:

  • Correction Officer Michael A. Cox, 10 years
  • Animal Control Officer Agnes S. Jaroszewski, 15 years
  • Program Coordinator Catherine T. Uhly, 15 years
  • Correction Officer Michael F. Lindsley, 15 years
  • Sr. Emergency Services Dispatcher Robert H. Tripp, 15 years
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Beth A. Hynes, 15 years
  • Correction Officer Kelly P. Creegan, 15 years
  • Investigator Christopher A. Parker, 20 years
  • Deputy Sheriff Matthew R. Butler, 20 years
  • Deputy Sheriff Lonnie A. Nati, 25 years
  • Deputy Sheriff Dana J. Richardson, 25 years
  • Sergeant Thomas A. Sanfratello, 25 years
  • Undersheriff Gregory H. Walker, 30 years
  • Jail Superintendent William A. Zipfel, 35 years
  • Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr., 40 years

Certificates of Appreciation:

  • Batavia Police Detective James M. DeFreze
  • Le Roy Patrolman Emily J. McNamara
  • Batavia Patrolman Jason A. Davis
  • Batavia Patrolman Frank J. Klimjack
  • Batavia Patrolman Christopher J. Lindsay
  • Genesee County Assistant District Attorney Kevin T. Finnell

Commendations:

  • Deputy Sheriff Kyle D. Krzemien
  • Correction Officer Justin M. Gugel
  • Correction Officer Jason M. Buck
  • Deputy Sheriff James D. Stack
  • Deputy Sheriff Ryan W. Young
  • Deputy Sheriff Jeremy M. McClellan
  • Deputy Sheriff Mathew J. Clor
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Stephen R. Smelski
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Zackery W. Czudak
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Samantha L. Conibear
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Andrew Z. Mullen
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Frank A. Riccobono
  • Dog Control Officer Ann Marie Brade
  • Deputy Sheriff Dana J. Richardson
  • Deputy Sheriff Matthew R. Butler
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Andrew K. Merkel
  • Sergeant Bradley D. Mazur
  • Deputy Sheriff Howard O. Wilson
  • Sr. Emergency Services Dispatcher Michael T. Sheflin
  • Sr. Emergency Services Dispatcher John W. Spencer
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Nathan L. Fix
  • Correction Officer Vincent S. Maurer
  • Investigator James M. Diehl
  • Investigator Andrew B. Hale
  • Sergeant Eric K. Seppala
  • Communications Coordinator Russell L. Lang

Meritorious Awards:

  • Deputy Sheriff Eric J. Meyer
  • Deputy Sheriff Michael J. Lute
  • Deputy Sheriff Kevin P. Forsyth
  • Deputy Sheriff Ryan M. DeLong
  • Investigator Chad J. Minuto
  • Case Manager Nicole M. Easton
  • Financial Clerk-Typist Tracy L. Ranney
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Kelly E. Smith
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Beth A. Hynes
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Jenna L. Bauer
  • Sr. Emergency Services Dispatcher Jason W. Holman
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Peggy D. Richardson
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Steven L. Robinson
  • Principal Financial Clerk Margaret A. Sheelar
  • Sr. Correction Officer Robert W. Mattice
  • Sr. Emergency Services Dispatcher Robert H. Tripp
January 19, 2018 - 4:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in law enforcement, news.

Genesee County is receiving a $25,580 grant from the state for local law enforcement agencies to upgrade their video interrogation equipment.

This is the third time in the past decade the state has awarded such a grant to the County.

The money is awarded to the District Attorney's Office and will be distributed to the Sheriff's Office, Batavia PD, Le Roy PD, and Corfu PD.

The money will allow those agencies to replace worn out or outdated equipment.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said there is a protocol for when agencies record interrogations. The equipment is used in the case of serious felony offenses.

Genesee County received the largest grant in what the Governor's Office considers the Finger Lakes Region. Rochester PD received $24,283; Albion PD, $6,854; and Wyoming County, $5,282.

The Governor's Office announced a total of $650,000 in grants to help 28 local law enforcement agencies in 23 counties across the state.

January 17, 2018 - 2:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, law enforcement, news.

High school students in Genesee County are going to be offered an opportunity to learn about law enforcement through a new program in the Sheriff's Office called Teen Academy.

If the pilot is successful, it will become a regular program for the Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff William Sheron presented the idea to the Public Service Committee yesterday.

He said the idea was brought to him by the resource officer at the school, which he modeled after a program in Monroe County.

Each academy will be a week long and will include visits to the jail, the 911 Center, and the Sheriff's Office. Participants will get to see the emergency response team in action, learn about hostage negotiation, the K-9 program, and evidence recovery.

There will also be daily physical fitness runs, defensive tactics training, and team building exercises. The students will also receive classroom training in penal law and the state's traffic laws. Finally, students will participate in mock DWI stops and procedures.

The program is free to students selected to participate. There will be up to 15 students per academy.

Classes will be held at Byron-Bergen High School.

Eligible students are juniors or seniors in good academic standing with little or no disciplinary issues. They must be able to participate in physical fitness activities. Students need to have a positive attitude. Qualified students will be interviewed and screened.

"I think in today’s day and I age, I think we need to try to get our youth more involved with police officers to see what the role of law enforcement really is rather than what is depicted in the news media all too often," Sheron said. "It’s also a great recruiting tool."

CORRECTION: This story originally stated that the program would be available only to students at Byron-Bergen in the first class. That was incorrect. It will be open to students from all of the high schools in the county. Classes will be held at Byron-Bergen.

January 17, 2018 - 1:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, news, law enforcement.

Increasingly, police officers must deal with people who have mental health issues, so to help them do their jobs better, Sheriff William Sheron is seeking additional training for his deputies.

Sheron, along with Undersheriff Greg Walker, a sergeant, and a deputy chief, will meet with officials from the Mental Health Association next week to kick off a training program.

The goal is to have all the deputies receive some training and have several deputies on each shift who are part of a crisis intervention team.

Part of the program, Sheron told members of the Public Service Committee yesterday, will be identifying what resources are currently available and what services are missing or deficient.

One goal is to help reduce the number people with mental health issues who wind up in the jail.

Former Sheriff Gary Maha, now a legislator and member of the committee, said he certainly understands the need for the program.

"Sometimes we end up putting them in jail because we don’t know what else to do with them sometimes when it's only minor charges," Maha said. "If there is a way to steer a person to an option other than going to jail it’s certainly beneficial to all of us."

Sheron anticipates grant money being available for the training, especially for the crisis intervention team, so he will be coming back to the Public Service Committee at a later date with a request to accept such a grant.

August 9, 2017 - 10:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in law enforcement, news.

While there have been concerns in other parts of the nation about police officers suffering carbon monoxide poisoning while patrolling in Ford Explorer Police Interceptors, locally, there have been no complaints, local officials said.

Both Sheriff William Sheron and Batavia PD Chief Shawn Heubusch said neither agency has heard from officers about any exhaust-related problems within the patrol car fleets of both agencies.

National news reports say that there have been officers involved in serious accidents after passing out from exhaust fumes.

Investigators have recently started looking at holes in the vehicle that are used to outfit the vehicles with lights, sirens and other equipment, but Jeff Gillard, who has long outfitted patrol vehicles for the Sheriff's Office (and until recently, Batavia PD), said he doesn't think the problem is anything Ford is doing.

He suggested that in the locations where exhaust fumes have been a problem, some after-market modifications may be the cause of the problem.

"When I first heard about it, I thought something must be going on because those vehicles are closed up so tight you can't get wires through anything," Gillard said.

July 26, 2017 - 8:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in State Police, law enforcement, news.

edkennedytroopajuly2017.pngPress release:

New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II has appointed Major Edward J. Kennedy, of Buffalo, as the 24th Troop Commander of Troop A. Major Kennedy began his career in the State Police on Oct. 2, 1989 when he entered the New York State Police Academy. Major Kennedy has served most of his career in the Western New York area.
 
In 1999, he was promoted to Investigator and worked out of SP Wellsville. In October 2002, he was promoted to Senior Investigator and assigned to SP Jamestown.
 
In March of 2007, he was promoted to Lieutenant of the Bureau of Criminal Investigations and assigned to SP Farmingdale, Long Island. After seven months in Long Island he was reassigned to Professional Standards Bureau Western region, which covers Troops A, E. After a few months he was reassigned to SP Jamestown as the Uniform Lieutenant. In April of 2009, he was assigned to SP Batavia as the Lieutenant of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
 
In September of 2012, he was reassigned to acting Zone 3 Commander (Jamestown area) and in March of 2013 promoted to Captain of Zone 3, Troop A. In February 2014, he was reassigned to Troop T, SP Buffalo as Captain, which covers the Thruway from Rochester to the Erie, Pa., line.
 
Major Kennedy’s appointment to Troop A Commander was effective July 13, 2017. He replaces Major Steven Nigrelli who was promoted to Staff Inspector of Professional Standards Bureau - Western region. 
 
As the Troop A Commander, Kennedy will oversee the State Police operations in the eight counties of Western New York including Niagara, Orleans, Erie, Genesee, Wyoming, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany. More than 430 civilian and sworn members are under Major Kennedy’s command.
 
Major Kennedy grew up in the Buffalo area and is a 1985 graduate of Buffalo State College.  He is married and has three children.

May 16, 2017 - 4:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in State Police, Troop A, law enforcement, batavia, news.

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Members of Troop A, State Police, based in Batavia, honored the men and women who have died in the line of duty while serving and protecting the people of Western New York in a service at the Batavia Barracks today.

Troop A Commander, Major Steven Nigrelli, said: "The Fallen Troopers did not wear capes, hit walk off homeruns are defend Earth from aliens, those are Hollywood Heroes; These Troopers are real American Heroes.

"They simply died doing what they swore an oath to do, the service and defend the public -- even in the face of peril and personal danger."

(In photo above, Trooper Dean Nolte and K9 "Weltz.")

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To purchase prints, click here.

April 20, 2017 - 7:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, law enforcement, news.

parkerawardapril2017.jpgPress release:

Genesee County Investigator Christopher A. Parker was honored by Crime Stoppers Buffalo at its Annual Law Enforcement Recognition Reception held last night at Giancarlo’s Sicilian Steakhouse in Williamsville.   

Undersheriff Walker nominated Investigator Parker for this award based on his consistency as an officer who exemplifies professionalism, dependability, cooperation, fairness, integrity, loyalty and, more specifically, for his highly meritorious act on Sept. 13.

Then Deputy Parker was first on scene for a six-apartment fire in the Town of Pavilion. Without regard for his own safety and without any protective breathing apparatus or gear, he entered the first apartment to begin checking for residents and discovered an elderly man who was completely asleep as smoke crept into his bedroom. After assisting the man out of the building, Deputy Parker continued to check the other apartments until firefighters arrived. 

“Investigator Parker’s quick, fearless actions on that day most likely saved the elderly man’s life. He is most deserving of this recognition,” said Undersheriff Walker.

March 19, 2017 - 7:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, law enforcement, religion, batavia, news.

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This morning's service at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Batavia was dedicated to members of the law enforcement community, to pray for them and to encourage them and to thank them for their service to the community. There were representatives at the service from the Sheriff's Office, Batavia PD and the State Police.

Pastor Allen A. Werk officiated. He is also chaplain for the Sheriff's Office.

Pastor Werk read from Joshua 1:9: "Be Strong. Be courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

His message was that God promises to be with us in whatever challenges and difficulties we face, especially those who serve.

“God is your backup," Werk said. "He has your back in every situation you face. Every call out, every domestic, every accident, every traffic stop, every disturbance, every break-in, every rescue, every crisis, every disaster, God promises that he will be with you wherever you go.”

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December 25, 2016 - 9:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire services, law enforcement.

For the past four years on Christmas Day, we've posted a photo tribute to local firefighters, using the photos from the year as a retrospective on their service to the community.  This year we've added in photos specifically of local law enforcement.

We thank the men and women who often give up time with their families or away from their jobs, and who on a daily basis put in the long hours and the hard work, whether paid or volunteer, to keep our community secure and our friends and families safe.

UPDATE: I added some more pictures from the first two months or so of 2016 that I forgot were on another computer.

August 22, 2016 - 9:22am

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Country star Brad Paisley joins members of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office prior to his recent show at Darien Lake with a Badge of Honor bracelet in support of WNY's fallen members of law enforcement and their families. 

Pictured with Paisley are Sgt. Tom Sanfratello, Deputy Brad Mazur and Sgt. Greg Walker, who is the chapter president for the Badge of Honor Association.

The association provides support for families whose loved ones in law enforcement passed in the line of duty and assists officers seriously injured in the line of duty. 

The bracelets can be purchased on the association's website.

Photo courtesy the Badge of Honor Association.

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