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November 23, 2021 - 10:37am

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Larry Friedman rattled off a few one-liners Monday night as he accepted a proclamation from the City of Batavia in recognition of his 40-year career with the Genesee County District Attorney’s Office.

“I've been in the DAs office so long that when I started Eugene Jankowski was a young patrolman, and we both had a full head of hair,” said the retiring county DA, looking at the City Council president who had just presented him with the certificate. “And (former sheriff) Gary Maha was the chief deputy in the sheriff's office.”

Maha was among those in the audience honoring both Friedman and Rose Mary Christian, who has retired after 29-plus years as a City Council member.

Friedman served as the DA for six consecutive four-year terms – all unopposed. He prosecuted 140 felony trials, including high profile cases in the city.

The proclamation stated:

“Larry’s acumen as a trial attorney helped bring about justice for countless crime victims and help to fortify the integrity of the DA office. Larry served the citizens of the City of Batavia and the residents of Genesee County with expertise and a commitment to improve the safety, healing and access to justice for all.

“Therefore, in true spirit of appreciation to 40 years of dedicated service to the City of Batavia and Genesee County, the City Council of the City of Batavia does hereby make this proclamation to sincerely thank Larry Friedman for his dedicated service to our community and to wish him well in his retirement.”

In his brief acceptance speech, Friedman noted his “great working relationship” with City Council, city management and City Attorney George Van Nest, and also with the Batavia Police Department’s Detective Bureau.

“As was mentioned, I prosecuted many felony cases arising out of the city of Batavia. And every time I've had one that went to trial, I knew I could look to members of the Batavia Police Department Detective Bureau to give me the assistance I needed in doing the things that need to be done right up until the time of and even during the trial,” he said.

Friedman said he was “grateful to my staff members” and joked, “I'm kind of sorry that they have nothing better to do on a Monday night -- as a number of people from my staff are here.”

He also drew a laugh when he mentioned that Christian told him that her grandson had just graduated from law school and is taking the New York bar exam in February.

“So, I gave her my card and wrote Kevin Finnell’s (his successor as DA, who also was in attendance) name on it … and told her to send his resume to Kevin because we’re always looking for good people.”

In closing, he thanked those who “are here to support me as opposed to just having the cookies and coffee (that were put out for the reception for Christian). I really do appreciate this.”

Photo: Larry Friedman and Eugene Jankowski Jr. at Monday night's City Council meeting. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Comments
November 8, 2021 - 9:58pm

The City of Batavia’s police force needs to be at full strength because “it’s getting terrible out there,” a longtime civil servant said tonight at what looks as though will be her last meeting as a member of City Council.

Sixth Ward Council member Rose Mary Christian, when she heard that three officers have left the Batavia PD for policing jobs in other communities, asked City Manager Rachael Tabelski for the reasons surrounding their departure. Then, at the end several minutes of discussion, she encouraged city leaders to do what they could to hire and retain new recruits.

“I hope my colleagues will give a raise to hire more police … they do deserve it,” Christian said.

While providing Council with a list of updates from Batavia Ice Arena door replacements to the opening of bids for renovation of Jackson Squarer to software updates for utility and tax collection, Tabelski mentioned that the police department is close to evaluating Civil Service test results to hopefully fill the open spots.

(By the way, the city is looking to hire four firefighters as well, and in both instances, navigating through the Civil Service process.)

That touched a nerve with Christian, a staunch advocate for the police and fire departments.

When Christian asked why they left, Tabelski replied that is was for “multiple reasons,” including more money and benefits and the ability to be closer to their families. The city manager did note that Batavia police officers do not receive lifetime healthcare – something that was a benefit in years past.

Tabelski said that once Civil Service test scores are published, Police Chief Shawn Heubusch will be able to determine the number of qualified candidates.

Council member John Canale said he agreed with Christian, but suggested that the board work with Tabelski to look at the current pay and benefits package, and compare that to other similar size cities. He noted that metropolitan cities are a “completely different environment.”

Christian responded by saying that she believed “the majority of (criminals) are coming from Buffalo and Rochester” and blasted the current bail reform law as “ridiculous.”

Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. asked if the city would be able to recoup any of the money it spent on the training, including enrollment in the police academy, for those who left the department.

Heubusch explained that if someone was hired as a lateral transfer that would apply and, in this case, one of the three fit into that category. He said he has made a request for reimbursement from the Town of Greece and is waiting for a response. The other two were hired off the Civil Service list, so there is no option for any return of city expenses.

Following the meeting, Heubusch said the Civil Service “bureaucracy” actually restricts the hiring of potentially successful officers. He said that of the about 120 who signed up for the most recent test, he’ll be fortunate to get one or two that complete the process of testing well, and passing the physical agility, psychological and other tests.

The chief mentioned that all police agencies across the state called for an overhaul of Civil Service during their work with community partners on former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NYS Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative initiative.

Currently, the Batavia PD has 29 officers with the three vacancies and one position frozen as a result of negotiations with the union.

September 11, 2021 - 12:01pm

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This morning’s 9/11 remembrance at the Veness-Strollo Post 1602 VFW grounds included speeches from Det. Sgt. Matt Lutey (at right in photo above) of the Batavia Police Department and Lt. Dave Green of the Batavia Fire Department – both of whom said the events of that tragic day prompted them to enlist or re-enlist, respectively, in the military.

Here are their speeches:

Det. Sgt. Matt Lutey

It truly is an honor to be here among fellow service men and women who have served and those who continue to serve, and I would just like to take a moment to say thanks for what you do.

I just came across an article the other day that compared the two biggest military recruitment surges as Pearl Harbor and 9/11. The unique aspect of this is that those who enlisted after these events knew what they were signing up for.

It wasn’t for free college tuition and it wasn’t for pay or any other benefit. It was to step forward and fight for our country. I was in high school when 9/11 happened.

I’ll never forget the events of that day. I’ll never forget how I felt. I will never forget driving around after school and seeing everyone putting up American flags.

I will never forget the pride I felt for our country after that tragic day. I will never forget the images of first responders running toward the World Trade Center towers to help people while the majority of people were running away.

I will never forget the images of the men and women in the armed forces bringing the fight to the enemy who had the audacity to attack us on our soil that day.

I will never forget coming home to my dad on the phone with an Army recruiter, only to be turned down because he was too old to join.

The events of 9/11 and our country responses shaped the better part of my life. I was one of many of the post-9/11 military recruitment surge as I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after I graduated from high school in 2003.

I served six years as a TACP (Tactical Air Control Party Officer) calling in air strikes for my Army counterparts. I completed three tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After I was honorable discharged, I knew that I wanted to continue to serve but in a capacity that was more personal to me.

I was fortunate enough to join the Batavia Police Department where I have had the privilege of serving my community for the past 11 years. In no way do I share this story for personal accolades. I share it because I believe it our duty to educate the next generation about duty, service and sacrifice.

Lt. Dave Green

I had been discharged from the Army National Guard just a couple of years before that. I went to work that morning, met up with my partner on the ambulance, and we went to work – met up with the other ambulance crew for the day and had just gotten some breakfast at the hospital that morning.

It’s strange but I remember details of that morning but the rest of the day was a blur. After seeing the planes hit the towers and the other locations, and the continuous news reports, I can remember feeling helpless and feeling a need to do something.

In the hours that passed, we sat and watched our world change. I’m proud to say that the City of Batavia Fire Department stepped up and sent crews to New York City as soon as we were able. However, I was not in that response.

So, for me, there still a feeling I needed to do something. After a discussion with my wife, I decided to get back in the military in a reserve capacity. As time passed, I still felt the draw and eventually got my time to serve.

I eventually deployed on three separate occasions to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The City of Batavia supported my efforts and allowed me to keep my medical coverage for my family while I was serving overseas.

I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve my country and to be able to serve the community where I live. On this anniversary of this tragedy I’m drawn to a memory of one of my deployments, where a sign hung that said, “Today is September 12th.”

For me that means a chance to help pick up the pieces; to show that we are stronger than that event. I’m proud to be a veteran, a firefighter and a member of this community.

July 13, 2021 - 8:23am

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A frequent contributor to the Batavia City Council scene is suggesting that a package deal combining the current Batavia Police Department headquarters and Genesee County Jail parcels may be the ticket to attracting a potential developer in light of the city’s intention to build a new police station at Alva Place and Bank Street.

City resident John Roach, during the public comments portion of the board’s Conference Meeting on Monday night at the City Centre, asked if anyone was talking to Genesee County leaders about their plan for the jail at the corner of West Main Street and Porter Avenue.

The county is exploring its options as it faces a state mandate to build a new jail, with a site near County Building 2 on West Main Street Road as the proposed location.

“You might get a better deal as a combined parcel,” Roach said. “Find out what they’re going to do and it could have an impact on what to do with the Brisbane building.”

The Brisbane building that he referred to is the former Brisbane Mansion at 10 W. Main St. that sits next door to the county jail. That building -- which may be eligible for classification as a historic landmark -- has housed city police for many years but has deteriorated considerably.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski, responding to Roach’s inquiry, said she thought it was a “great idea to speak with the county and understand their plans.”

“The front of the jail is certainly an amazing historic building that I hope would be preserved by the county through their transition, but I believe it hosts Genesee Justice and I don’t want to speak for the county and I’m not sure what they’re actually planning,” she said.

Tabelski also said she wasn’t sure if the timelines for a new county jail and new city police station would line up, but it was something worth looking into.

She pointed out the drawbacks with the Brisbane Mansion, notably that there is no American with Disabilities Act accessibility and there are problems with the layout that hinder the ability of the force to conduct day-to-day business.

“We went over the presentation two meetings ago and we looked at the timeline. The city has been wanting to address this for over 20 years,” she said. “We’ve come forward with a proposal and a feasibility study to use the parking lot at Alva and Bank Street.”

The city manager underscored the importance of finding a “reuse” for the building, adding that the city has no intention of moving staff into that structure.

“So, we’d like to pursue a path where we put it out for RFP to a developer to take that on and bring that on to the tax rolls,” she advised. “To do that in the best manner possible, you want to make your property attractive to the marketplace and by understanding all of the historical elements inside the building, and having technical assistance reports done of the structure itself and the historical elements …”

For those reasons, she forwarded a resolution – which was later passed by Council – to allow the Batavia Development Corp. to apply for a 2021 Consolidated Funding grant under the New York Main Street technical assistance program.

“I think it is City Council’s wish and I know it is the certainly the wish of many in our community to preserve that building as a historical element in our downtown,” she said. “… if (the grant is) awarded, we would go ahead and do that study. We had a plan to reuse the building at the time we move the police department.”

Tabelski said that the grant-funded study would uncover whether the building would qualify as a historic landmark.

If so, that could open the door for a NY Main Street grant, which the city has been successful in obtaining for the Eli Fish Brewing Co. building on Main Street and Theater 56 at the City Centre.

On another topic, Roach asked about the status of a road project to rehabilitate Harvester and Richmond avenues, which is scheduled for the summer of 2022.

Maintenance Supervisor Ray Tourt said it is currently in the design phase.

In May 2020, City Council appointed the engineering firm of T.Y. Lin International Group of Rochester to provide preliminary and advanced designs with the expectation that they would be completed by the summer of this year.

T.Y. Lin International Group was involved in the city’s Walnut Street Reconstruction Project, the Ellicott Street streetscape project and all of the Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District streetscape initiatives.

Batavian Robert Radley, PE, is the company’s senior vice president and U.S. East Region director.

Plans call for renovation of Richmond Avenue from State Street to Oak Street and for the entire length of Harvester Avenue (from East Main Street to Ellicott Street). City officials previously reported that 95 percent of the $2 million project will be covered by CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program) and Marchiselli Funding* streams.

Tabelski also reported that Jill Wiedrick, the new assistant city manager, will be starting on July 21, and the city is advertising for a permanent Department of Public Works director.

*Given the significant backlog of preservation, rehabilitation and replacement of transportation infrastructure needs that exist at the local level, NYSDOT has initiated a process with metropolitan planning areas and municipalities to revise and align local transportation planning and project selection processes with engineering and economic-based preservation strategies. As part of this initiative, NYSDOT will provide priority consideration for State matching funds, under the Marchiselli program, to federal-aid projects that embrace the Department’s asset management based preservation strategy. Municipally sponsored federal-aid projects considered to be beyond preservation treatments may be considered for Marchiselli funding on a case by case basis. Municipal requests for projects that are considered beyond preservation will be reviewed by NYSDOT’s Comprehensive Program Team (CPT).

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Photo at top: Batavia Police Department station (former Brisbane Mansion); Photo at bottom: Front of Genesee County Jail, which currently houses Genesee Justice.

July 11, 2021 - 6:38pm

With it looking more and more as though a new City of Batavia Police Department headquarters will be constructed on the parking lot at Alva Place and Bank Street, city leaders are trying to figure out the best course of action for the current station at 10 W. Main St.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski, in a memo dated July 2, is recommending that City Council pass a resolution to support the Batavia Development Corp.’s submission for a 2021 Consolidate Funding Application under the New York Main Street technical assistance program.

The item is part of the agenda for Monday night’s City Council Conference and Business Meetings at the City Hall Council Board Room, starting at 7 o’clock.

Tabelski wrote that the grant, if received, would be used to hire a design firm “to prepare building reuse analysis, renderings and cost estimates for the reuse and rehabilitation of the historic former Brisbane Mansion.” That report would set the stage for the application of a future NY Main Street building renovation grant.

Per the memo, the BDC is interested in helping ensure proper historical renovation and restoration of the building,

CLICK HERE for a history of the Brisbane Mansion written in 2015 by Larry Barnes, city historian. Relocating the police force has been a topic of discussion even before that year.

Tabelski wrote that the goal is to find a private developer to purchase the property, rehabilitate it and eventually return it to the tax rolls.

Deadline for the CFA grant submission is the end of this month.

Phone calls to Sharon Burkel, chair of the City Historic Preservation Committee, for comment were not returned by the time of the posting of this story.

In a related development, replacement of the current police station’s flat roof is moving forward in the form of a resolution that, although not complete, provides City Council with an update on the project.

According to a memo from Maintenance Superintendent Ray Tourt to Tabelski dated July 1, the roof sections over the 1960s addition and over the rear vestibule have deteriorated to the point that the roof is no longer waterproof and the insulation has become saturated.

Last month, Council approved the use of $100,000 from the facility reserve fund to replace these sections.

Tourt advised that the Department of Public Works is in the bidding process and will recommend a contractor in the near future.

The resolution would authorize Council to award the contract to the responsible low bidder.

Other agenda items:

  • Resolutions accepting a pair of awards from Genesee County STOP-DWI to the Batavia Police Department – one for $32,981 to fund enforcement nights, training, equipment/supplies and calibration/repairs related to driving while intoxicated enforcement and the other for $2,400 to fund high visibility checkpoints during the July 4 (which has passed) and Labor Day (Aug. 20 through Sept. 6) holiday periods.
  • A public hearing concerning the application of a Community Development Block Grant to help fund an estimated $1.36 million project to replace 4- and 6-inch water lines on Jackson Street with 2,250 linear feet of 8-inch water main. Tabelski previously indicated that the grant, if received, could fund up to 90 percent of the project cost. Council is expected to vote on the resolution during the Business Meeting.
  • A resolution to set a public hearing for Aug. 9 to formally (and finally) approve the rezoning of the 211 and 211 ½ E. Main St. parcels from P-2 (Planned Development) to C-3 (Commercial) to accommodate the Healthy Living campus project of the GLOW YMCA and United Memorial Medical Center. The City Planning & Development Committee recommended the rezoning for both properties on May 18 and June 15, respectively, stating that the C-3 designation is consistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2017.
  • A request from Batavia Brewing Co./Eli Fish Brewing Co. for an Oktoberfest celebration on Sept. 18, starting at 4 p.m., at Jackson Square. A 20- by 20-foot tent with a dozen picnic tables will be set up for the event, which will feature food, beverages and the sounds of The Frankfurters, (photo below), a German music band out of Buffalo that also is known as “The Best of the Wurst."

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Comments
June 28, 2021 - 3:19pm

Genesee County’s director of mental health and community services apparently swung for the fences and hit a home run last week when she learned that the New York State Office of Mental Health approved the county’s application to participate in the Mobile Access Program with three law enforcement agencies.

The Mobile Access Program (MAP) is a pilot initiative that connects residents in distress with mental health clinicians utilizing iPads (via Zoom for Healthcare, a secure teleconferencing software program) when law enforcement officers request assistance.

Mental health staff then will conduct an evaluation remotely to help plan for an appropriate disposition.

“They (NYSOMH officials) really wanted one law enforcement agency but we kind of took a gamble and chose three. We asked for a lot,” said Lynda Battaglia, who heads up the county’s mental health department.

The three police departments that have agreed to partner with Genesee County are the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police and Village of Le Roy Police.

Battaglia said heads of the three law enforcement agencies watched a webinar about the program and all expressed an interest in participating.

“I asked each police department to provide information specific to their line of work – how many devices they would need for each shift; bandwidth, accessibility in different areas; how many officers would need iPads and the number of calls related to mental health issues they receive,” Battaglia offered.

She then took that data and coupled it with mental health information and sent the application to the NYSOMH. Not only was Genesee County approved, but requests from all other counties as well.

“We received notice that since there was such a great response … they were able to accommodate all the applicants,” she noted.

Calling it a “telehealth program,” Battaglia said the state will give iPads to all three police departments and to the mental health clinic. The state also will provide training and support services.

She said that the objective is to increase accessibility to those having mental health issues and cut down the time it takes to deliver essential mental health consultations.

“Let’s say police receive a call to go out and talk with somebody – and it’s a mental health call,” she said. “One of the goals is to decrease unnecessary transport to the hospital, under Mental Health Law 9.41.”

Mental Health Law Section 9.41 give powers to peace officers and police officers to admit individuals in emergency situations for immediate observation, care, and treatment.

Battaglia explained that if an officer is interacting with someone who doesn’t need to be transported to a hospital (or to jail), they will ask that person if they wish to have a telehealth emergency visit with the mental health person on call.

“There will be arrangements made to have the officer connect with his or her iPad with our on-call person with their iPad, and the mental health person will conduct a telehealth session with that individual in crisis,” she said.

She did acknowledge that the program won’t work in all cases, specifically if someone is under the influence of alcohol or substances – “for clinical reasons you won’t get an accurate assessment,” she said – or if a person is extremely agitated or at very high risk.

“We’re hoping to have it where the mental health professionals make that determination (which is allowed under MHL Section 9.45 -- emergency admissions for immediate observation, care, and treatment under the authority of directors of community services or authorized designees).

Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron reported that mental health calls continue to increase.

“I would say we average at least one a day – and some days, more than others,” he said. “That’s why it’s important to get the proper treatment to these individuals in a timely fashion, and reduce the amount of police involvement in the process.”

Sheron said law enforcement is “working hand-in-hand with mental health to more directly address the needs of people who have mental health crises.”

“This will expedite that. It may not be appropriate for all cases, but I think for the majority of them, it will be very beneficial. The last thing we want to do is having law enforcement take some kind of criminal action against somebody when they really need the services of mental health professionals.”

Battaglia said she expects it to take a few months for state mental health officials to provide training and to implement the program. She said is hoping that this turns out to be a win-win situation for all.

“We have a crisis plan in place (contracting with SpectrumHealth for a mobile response team), and I think that it is a plan that has been OK. But, with this opportunity and moving into the future, we can make the crisis plan a little more connected,” she said.

“It will definitely prove how law enforcement and mental health officials can work together. It will build relationships. It will help the people in the community.”

June 26, 2021 - 12:41pm

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department announced Friday that it has joined the nationwide OffenderWatch sex offender registry network. This enables collaboration on investigations and sharing of critical information involving registered sex offenders with more than 4,000 other local law enforcement agencies across the country.

In addition, residents of Batavia can use the Batavia Police Department’s website to search for sex offenders residing in their neighborhood and subscribe to receive email alerts from the Batavia Police Department.

OffenderWatch is the nation's leading sex offender registration solution, with law enforcement agencies in 39 states using the technology and more than 15,000 users.

Local and state agencies use the software to keep track of registered offenders across jurisdictions, collaborate on interagency operations, and automatically notify the community through the Genesee County website and email alerts.

The public is encouraged to subscribe to free email alerts from the police department.

THE HOPE IS FOR FEWER VICTIMS

“The Batavia Police Department is pleased to join the coast-to-coast OffenderWatch network in order to better share information with the community, coordinate investigations, and collaborate on sex offenders,” said Police Chief Shawn Heubusch. “When a registered offender moves from outside the city into Batavia, officers save countless hours researching and re-entering data because the offender record is seamlessly shared from one agency to the other.

"OffenderWatch builds a history of the data we have on file, and this facilitates registry staff, investigators and others working together. So, our officers can be more proactive in offender management and keeping the community aware.”

There are more than 900,000 registered sex offenders in the United States, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. However, agencies often use disparate systems for managing sex offenders. OffenderWatch allows different law enforcement agencies to collaborate on a single offender record, improving accuracy and aiding in public safety.

“We believe data shared between law enforcement agencies leads to better investigations and safer cities and counties,” said Mike Cormaci, president, and cofounder of OffenderWatch. “With the Batavia Police Department joining our network, OffenderWatch now has most of the nation's children covered by our reach — hopefully leading to fewer victims.”

OffenderWatch allows the police department to better collaborate on investigations with the U.S. Marshals, Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) teams and other investigators. Further, the citizens of the City of Batavia now have at their disposal the OffenderWatch page for searching and real-time email alerting of sex offender movement within their community.

To learn more about OffenderWatch and sign up for email alerts on offenders, visit http://www.offenderwatch.com.

June 8, 2021 - 3:38pm

Press release:

The City of Batavia Police Department would like to remind residents of our Camera Registry Program.

Many investigations are solved due, in part, to cooperation from homeowners, landlords and business owners sharing video from their private camera surveillance system.

In order to streamline the investigative process we ask anyone with a camera surveillance system to register it with us.

You can register your system on CrimeWatch by clicking this link.

May 13, 2021 - 11:05am

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Genesee County Undersheriff Brad Mazur and City of Batavia Police Department Chief Shawn Heubusch hold proclamations designating May 9-15 as National Police Week while standing next to Legislator Gary Maha on Wednesday at a meeting of the Genesee County Legislature.

Mazur said he thanks those "who put their lives on the line to protect our citizens" and asked "to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice."

Heubusch credited law enforcement personnel for their "steadfast dedication to their craft."

National Police Week was started in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy.

Photo by Mike Pettinella.

May 12, 2021 - 8:25am
posted by Press Release in crime, news, batavia, batavia police department.

From the Batavia Police Department:

The Batavia Police Department has recently been investigating a plethora of larcenies from vehicles in the city. These larcenies have been occurring mainly in the overnight hours, and from (unfortunately) unlocked motor vehicles.

Patrols remain vigilant in the overnight hours, and we are asking for assistance from the public in reducing the amount of these incidents.

Please remember: ALWAYS lock your car doors. Leave exterior lighting on if possible.

ALWAYS lock your car doors. Remove valuables from your vehicle.

ALWAYS lock your car doors. Theft prevention starts with you, and it starts before you even leave your vehicle.

As always, if you notice anything suspicious around your property, please do not hesitate to the contact the police department.

April 17, 2021 - 11:13am
posted by Press Release in batavia police department, news, DoorDash, accidents, batavia.

From the City of Batavia Police Department:

Batavia police are looking for assistance identifying a DoorDash delivery driver involved in an accident that occurred on Wednesday, March 17 at about 8:30 p.m. on Norris Avenue in the City of Batavia.

(Norris is east of State Street and runs north and south between Hart Street and Fairmont Avenue.)

The operator was driving a dark-colored, older-model compact truck.

Anyone with information, please email Officer Perkins at:  [email protected], or contact the Batavia Police Department at (585) 345-6444. 

April 14, 2021 - 10:18pm

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The City of Batavia this week honored a longtime police officer who recently retired and recognized the contributions of Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center personnel.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski and Council Member Jeremy Karas, at Monday night's Business Meeting, read proclamations honoring Police Officer Jason Davis and designating the week of April 11-17 as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, respectively.

Davis retired on March 30 after nearly 22 years with the Batavia Police Department. Previously, he worked for the Village of Le Roy PD and Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office.

The proclamation noted his many roles, including the emergency response team, crime intervention officer, field training officer, general topics instructor, de-escalation instructor and, most recently, school resource officer at the Batavia City School District.

He also was a Boy Scout Troop leader for many years.

Per the proclamation, Officer Davis “served his department with professionalism and compassion, and has been a positive role model and mentor to other officers and many more in the community."

Davis thanked all those with the city for giving him the opportunity in 1999 when he transferred to Batavia. 

Karas, after reading the proclamation that outlined the various ways communications staff and dispatchers are vital to public safety, introduced Genesee County Undersheriff Brad Mazur (at right in photo below)  and Communications Assistant Director Frank Riccobono (at left in photo below).

Mazur thanked City Council for acknowledging the dispatchers' "hard work, dedication and true professionalism."

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Photos by Mike Pettinella.

April 13, 2021 - 5:01pm

From the City of Batavia Police Department:

On Saturday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Batavia Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will provide the public the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

Bring your pills for disposal to the Alva Place parking lot across the street from Batavia Showtime (located in the Genesee Country Mall). Sharps will also be accepted at this location, as the United Memorial Medical Center will have staff on hand.

The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.

To keep everyone safe, collection sites will follow local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations, which include masks for citizens dropping off medication.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.

In addition to DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, there are many other ways to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs every day, including the 11,000 authorized collectors that are available all year long.

The Batavia Police Department Headquarters has one for everyday collection of drugs and sharps located in the rear vestibule at 10 W. Main St., Batavia.

The FDA also provides information on how to properly dispose of prescription drugs. More information is available here:

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 24 Take Back Day event, click here.

April 12, 2021 - 11:19pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia City Council, batavia police department.

The Batavia City Council tonight asked City Manager Rachael Tabelski to look into getting a police report of a vehicle-pedestrian incident last Thursday afternoon involving a Batavia woman and her grandchildren.

Council Member Rose Mary Christian made that request on behalf of the board, calling it an “unfortunate” situation.

“I would ask that the individual involved be the one that we release information to,” said Tabelski, following Mary Ellen Wilber’s account of what happened to her sister and her three grandchildren at the intersection of Main and Ross streets.

Wilber, an Attica resident who grew up in the city, was speaking at Council's Business Meeting on behalf of her sister, Batavian Michelle Gaylord.

Gaylord was walking on the north side of Main Street with her 15- and 11-year-old grandsons and 11-month-old granddaughter, who was in a stroller. They were en route to Gaylord’s home on Fisher Park around 3:30 p.m. after spending time at the mammoth sale at Resurrection Parish.

According to Wilber, a woman driving an SUV on Ross Street, heading south, approached the intersection and made a right turn onto Main Street while Gaylord and the children were in the intersection. The vehicle struck the buggy, knocking the 71-year-old Gaylord to the ground.

“The reason I am here, correct me if I’m wrong … is when we took our road test and took our driver’s ed – please understand I am not trying to be facetious – as I recall that we all learned … we were told that drivers must have complete control of their vehicles at all times,” Wilber said. “It was the number one rule I was taught. And I took my course and I took driver’s ed, and ever since I’ve been driving for almost 50 years.

“We also were always told that pedestrians had the right of way, especially when they’re in the crosswalk. And we were always supposed to be cautious. My greatest fear was ever hitting a child. It scares the heck out of me, even now.”

Wilber went on to say that the Gaylord family waited for the light to turn red and began crossing Ross Street (which is marked at the intersection by a no right on red sign from Ross onto Main).

Showing a diagram that she had made as she spoke, Wilber said “a woman came to the stoplight, stopped for a second and proceeded to go through the light – striking my sister as she moved the – thank God it was an Eddie Bauer* -- stroller away because it had shock absorbers. She fell onto the road, the kids jumped back and the lady just, oh my goodness – she hit my sister.”

The driver, according to Wilber, asked Gaylord if she was OK and “proceeded to go on her merry way.”

She said people in two cars behind the driver in question saw the incident and called the police.

“My sister was so shaken, she was so worried about the kids; she waited on the side until her son, Joshua Gaylord, came to pick them up,” Wilber said. “Nevertheless, to say, the police in our City of Batavia chose not to ticket the woman who drove; chose not to believe my sister; chose not to believe the two witnesses; and chose not even to talk to the 11-year-old boy, who when he told his teacher at Robert Morris (actually the Middle School) today, confirmed – ‘Oh no, drivers are always supposed to be in control and you never, ever, ever hit a pedestrian and pedestrians always have the right of way.’ ”

Wilber said the boy has had nightmares over the incident.

She also said that the two witnesses called the police department and then Gaylord called and spoke to an officer “who said to her, there is no report, there were no damages, and you didn’t go to the hospital.”

“My sister, who has been a nurse and served this community for 35 years at the VA Hospital – helping veterans – and you all know me, I served the city on the City Charter Review Commission and as a Youth Board member for six years,” Wilber said.

She said that that the officer told Gaylord, that “we know your sister (Wilber). She called to speak to Chief (Shawn) Heubusch; he’s not going to talk to her anyway.”

“You see, there’s a resentment from what happened to my brother (the late David Zanghi, who was forced out of his Liberty Street apartment in November 2019 as a result of a police standoff with the upstairs tenant),” Wilber said, adding that Police Chief Shawn Heubusch looked down upon Zanghi, who had obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Wilber said her niece, who is an attorney in Livingston County and the baby’s mother, has tried to get an incident report but was told that she would have to file a Freedom of Information Law form to get it.

“Her daughter was involved in this accident – couldn’t get a report. My sister can’t get any information. Ridiculous. You know the law; drivers have to be in control of their cars. Pedestrians have the right of way. This woman was not given a ticket,” Wilber said.

“My family can’t do anything about finding any information. What is wrong with the police department in the City of Batavia? And why do kids not respect the police? Here is clear evidence. I don’t know. You tell me what is going on in the City of Batavia?”

Contacted by telephone later tonight, Gaylord corroborated Wilber’s account.

“The lady said ‘I didn’t even see you.’ Here I am, lying flat on the ground,” Gaylord said.

Gaylord said she asked the grandsons to call their dad to pick them up because she couldn’t walk as she was banged up.

“Even the lady who witnessed it was shook up, but before I could say anything, the driver said that I was all right and took off,” Gaylord said.  “She never looked our way, and out of the clear blue sky, she pulled out and started to turn right. She hit the front of the stroller. I pulled back and got it out of the way a little – in the crosswalk – and when I did, I fell and hit my head on the curb. The baby’s so tiny, just 18 pounds. I screamed because I was so scared for these kids.”

Gaylord said she contacted police, who had already learned about the incident from witnesses. She said she is disappointed that the driver wasn’t ticketed for making an illegal right turn on a red light or for striking pedestrians in a crosswalk.

“I don’t want to sue or anything, but I can’t believe she didn’t get a ticket,” Gaylord said. “When I asked for an accident report, the police said it is an accident only if there is $1,000 damage. What, people don’t count anymore?”

Chief Heubusch said he had no comment.

After the meeting, Christian called it “unfortunate what Mary Ellen said, that the police didn’t respond to her.”

“I did ask Rachael if she would have the police respond to her (Wilber) because she certainly does deserve that and so does her sister, and thank God nobody was killed.”

*Eddie Bauer is a retail sporting goods maker in business since 1920.

January 28, 2021 - 12:38pm

Submitted photos and press release:

Chief Shawn Heubusch is pleased to announce that Officer Stephen Quider and K-9 Batu have graduated their basic K-9 training in Monroe County.

K-9 Batu and Officer Quider are trained in tracking, narcotics detection and general patrol operations.

We wish to thank the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for hosting this essential training and allowing our handler and K-9 to attend free of charge.

“K-9 Batu and Officer Quider make a great team and will be an asset to the City of Batavia,” Chief Heubusch said.

 “Their specialized skills in tracking and narcotics detection will enhance the services the department already provides to the community. K-9 Batu and Officer Quider look forward to serving the residents of the City of Batavia.”

Officer Quider and K-9 Batu will be assigned to general road patrol duties and will be available for call-outs in the event there are calls for service requiring K-9 Batu’s special skill set to support investigations in the City and surrounding area.

The City was able to purchase K-9 Batu thanks to funding from the Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

The Department would like to thank the generous donors that have donated to the K-9 fund that ensures Batu has adequate health care and nutrition.

If anyone wishes to donate please contact Officer Quider at (585) 345-6350 to obtain information on how to become a Batavia Police K-9 supporter.

The Department looks forward to engaging with the community and having Batu visit our local businesses and schools once COVID-19 regulations allow for more social interactions.

October 28, 2020 - 12:25pm

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department has released an internet safety presentation for parents, guardians and community members today (Oct. 28).

The presentation is 46 minutes and 33 seconds in length and was made in conjunction with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and NetSmartz.org.

It features several tips for parents on how to help keep their children safe in the online world, and prevent sexting / cyberbullying.

The presentation can be found on YouTube here.

October 16, 2020 - 3:44pm
posted by Press Release in batavia, batavia police department, news, DEA, drug take back day.

Press release:

On Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Batavia Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will provide the public the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

Bring your pills for disposal to the Alva Place parking lot across the street from Batavia Showtime movie theater (located in the Genesee County Mall). Sharps will be accepted as well as prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office will be running their own drug take back that day at the Pembroke Town Hall located at routes 5 and 77. They will not be collecting sharps at that location.

This month's event is DEA’s 19th nationwide event since its inception 10 years ago.  

Last fall, Americans turned in nearly 883,000 pounds of prescription drugs at nearly 6,300 sites operated by the DEA and almost 5,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. DEA, along with its law enforcement partners, has now collected nearly 6,350 tons of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications since the inception of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative in 2010.

To keep everyone safe, collection sites will follow local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations, which includes masks for citizens dropping off medication. 

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.

In addition to DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, there are many other ways to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs every day, including the 11,000 authorized collectors that are available all year long. The Batavia Police Department Headquarters has one for everyday collection of drugs and sharps located in the rear vestibule at 10 W. Main St., Batavia.

For more information, visit DEA’s year-round collection site locator. 

The FDA also provides information on how to properly dispose of prescription drugs. More information is available here.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the Oct. 24 Take Back Day event, go to www.DEATakeBack.com.

September 19, 2020 - 10:28am

Owners of property in the City of Batavia identified as archery-only hunting zones in an approved deer management plan say they are either noncommittal or not willing to participate in any culling operation.

The Batavian contacted four residents and previously obtained comments from a fifth, Noah Majewski of Alexander Road, who spoke at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

At the meeting, Council members voted in favor of the City Deer Management Plan, a 25-page document that puts the Batavia Police Department in charge of selecting and registering hunters, forging cooperation agreements with landowners and other related responsibilities.

The plan is set up to mirror, to some degree, a deer management program run by the police department in the Town of Irondequoit, and came to fruition after eight months of work by a now defunct Council-appointed City Deer Management Plan Committee.

Police Chief Shawn Heubusch reported that he will be reaching out to citizens who own land near and around three of the five designated areas where deer congregate to see if they wish to permit hunting on their property.

Those areas are:

-- Unit 1: A parcel north of Clinton Street, owned by the Reinhart family.

-- Unit 2: About three acres at the end of Northern Boulevard stretching north of Evergreen Drive, owned by Assemblyman Stephen Hawley;

-- Unit 3: Five acres west of State Street (across from Batavia High School), with the majority owned by Duane Preston and another acre for hunting owned by Russell Nephew. (Nephew had served as spokesperson for the deer management committee that resigned last month over miscommunication involving changes to the plan).

The other two zones are city property:

-- Unit 4: Route 98, south of Walnut Street area near the Waste Water Treatment Plan, and adjacent to land owned by Majewski;

-- Unit 5: Law Street (about one and a half acres), east of the city’s Yard Waste Station going toward Tonawanda Creek.

The plan stipulates that city employees only will be permitted to hunt in Unit 4 and Unit 5.

Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski responded to an email asking about liability insurance by forwarding the NYS General Obligations Law (GOL 9-103).

The law provides general liability protection to landowners who allow a number of types of recreational activity on their lands, including hunting, provided that the landowner is not receiving a fee for providing that access, and also provides that the owner does not owe a duty to users or assume liability for injuries, and does not attach gross negligence of the owner.

“As we move toward implementation of the plan, we will look into this further as we engage with potential landowners with the collective goal of reducing the deer population in our city,” she said.

Concern over liability in case of injury, for example, seems to be the main reason why a couple of the landowners are apprehensive about getting involved.

-- Hawley said he received information about the plan a couple months ago from Samuel DiSalvo, also a member of the deer management committee, but hasn’t had a chance to look them over.

“I’d have to take a look at the specifics of it … I have a dog and grandchildren, so there is some concern, but at the same time there are certainly a plethora of deer, and they’re bold,” he offered.

He acknowledged that there is a deer problem.

“It’s something we’ve talked about forever -- and if this is a plan that looks as though it could work and cull out some of them, then that’s a positive thing.”

-- Jerry Reinhart Jr. said he hopes that the program will be able to “make a dent” in the large deer population, but the property owned by his family is big enough for only a couple people – “and our family hunts on it.”

Thus, he said that parcel of land would not be available for the city’s deer management plan.

-- Preston, owner of Preston Apartments in Batavia, said he is waiting for official paperwork from city management and would forward that on to his attorney for review.

“I’ve seen all the people bailing out on this so I would have to get attorney approval at this point as far as liability involved with people being on your property – if somebody gets injured,” he said. “So, I am not sure as far as the legality aspect of having individuals on my property with arrows.”

He added that he isn’t ruling out participating in the program.

“I am affected by the deer issues on my property. I can well attest that the deer have a grand buffet on my bushes,” he said.

A resident of Carolwood Drive on the northeast side of the city, Preston said there were only four or five deer in that area when he moved there 23 years ago.

“But now, there are 25 deer just roaming through the back of Hawley’s land all the time. They go right up through North Street, over to Allenview Drive down Garden Drive, and it’s the same with State Street (where he owns an apartment building across from the high school) and at my Parkview Apartments on Pearl Street. Three of my properties in the city are affected so I know it’s an issue.”

-- Nephew went a step further, stating that he wants no part of the program, evidently still displeased over the way things turned out between the committee and city leaders.(See the links to previous stories below).

“I don’t want anybody on my property,” he said.

-- Majewski said liability issues will prevent him from getting involved.

He said he was concerned that someone might get hurt, and was upset by the fact that people trespass onto his property.

He added that he runs “nuisance beaver traps” with a nuisance beaver permit from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. He said the traps are set around a swamp and he would hate to see someone step in one of those traps.

“I just feel like this is opening up a whole new can of worms to bring more people into an area that’s populated with people, that has people running around there," he said. “It’s a big area of concern for me. I have a fiancée. She hunts with me. She hunts on the ground. I’m also worried about her being on the ground and people not shooting safely around her.”

DEC Weighs in on Police-Run Plan

An email was sent to the DEC about the city’s decision to have its police department coordinate the program.

Its response:

“The City would be the managing lead and administrator if they were to develop a police run hunt. If the City police managed a localized hunt it would provide more direct regulation related to deer that travel onto lands outside the jurisdiction of the hunt.

“Unless the City of Batavia seeks a special permit from DEC for additional harvests, opportunities or methods, via the Deer Management Assistance Program or Deer Damage Permit program, then their hunt program would simply fit within the framework of our general deer hunting regulations (seasons, tags, implements, etc.). Batavia may opt to set specific controls that are more restrictive than State regulations, but they could not be more liberal.”

Previously: City Council seeks public input as it forwards deer management plan to its August meeting

Previously: Council, manager attempt to smooth things over with their deer management plan committee

Previously: BREAKING: City's deer committee resigns in 33 second meeting this morning

Previously: Police department to manage Batavia's deer culling plan that places restrictions on city property

September 11, 2020 - 12:59pm

Upon the approval of City Council, the Batavia Police Department will take on the responsibility of managing the community’s Deer Management Plan.

A memo dated Sept. 8 from Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski to council members indicates that “operationally, the Batavia Police Department will manage the program, accept applications, qualify participants, and schedule hunting times, work with participants and landowners on behalf of the City. A special detail will be set up to appoint an officer to this position and we will incur some overtime costs associated with this plan.”

Tabelski writes that additional deer management options added to the plan could be considered by City Council, upon recommendation by the city manager, if the current plan is not successful in reducing the deer population.

Those options are as follows:

  • Batavia Police Department culling operation;
  • Utilizing a private firm to cull;
  • Utilizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Service culling operation.

A resolution to approve the revised archery hunting plan, dated Sept. 14, is on the agenda of Monday night’s Business Meeting at City Centre Council Chambers. A Special Conference Meeting will open proceedings at 7 p.m.

Contacted today, Police Chief Shawn Heubusch did not offer any specifics, noting that the plan still has to be endorsed by City Council.

“We’re happy to help out in any way that we can and do our best to move things forward, but everything’s very preliminary right now. With everything else that is on the table, the Police Advisory Stakeholder Group, potential construction of a police facility – there’s just a lot going on.”

This updated plan differs from the one dated Aug. 3, which came out of eight months of meetings of the City’s Deer Management Plan Committee, a five-person group enlisted by City Council. The committee worked primarily with former City Manager Martin Moore and Council liaison John Canale with assistance from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officials.

The Deer Management Plan Committee abruptly resigned, however, on Aug. 13, citing a breakdown in communication with city leaders and disagreement with modifications to the plan.

The current version of the plan replaces “City Clerk” with “Batavia Police Department” in the Participant Application and Selection Process section as follows: City of Batavia Deer Management Program Hunter Application -- Submission to Batavia Police Department.

It also removes a section that placed the Genesee County Federation of Sportsmen (consisting of 12 clubs) as the top priority for program participants and replaces that with words indicating that proof of residency within the City of Batavia or Genesee County, and/or membership in a hunting club associated with the Genesee County Federation of Sportsmen, and/or City Employee status are required.

The Sept. 14 draft also indicates that the police department would be responsible for all tasks and documentation necessary to qualify potential hunters, schedule hunting times, and assist participants and owners of property in the three of the five identified hunting zones. The other two zones are city property and would be open for hunting only to city employees.

Moreover, the section titled Program Review and Measures of Program Success has been changed from “The City of Batavia Deer Management Committee will meet as needed during the program to review activities and to gather data as to the program’s success” to the following:

The City of Batavia Police Department, City Manager, and qualified program participants will meet as needed during the program to review activities and to gather data as to the program’s success.

That variation is understandable as the Deer Management Committee is no longer intact.

Tabelski’s memo also addressed the Batavia City School District’s current “hybrid” schedule that has some students in school and others learning remotely (at home). The deer plan calls for hunting only between sunrise and 2 p.m., and only when school is in session.

“Due to the temporary pause on the full reopening of schools, and because the top priority of all culling activities is the safety of the community, I recommend that the Batavia Police Department continue to monitor the school situation as it progresses and make an operational decision, based on the changing dynamics of in-school vs. home learning, to determine if the plan can be executed safely this fall.”

In closing, she wrote that the “final plan provides a streamlined program experience, ensures programmatic compliance, program metric tracking, increased safety and oversite (sic), and in increased focus on communication.”

Batavia’s current proposal is similar to the Town of Irondequoit’s deer program, which is managed by its police department.

In a separate development:

Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said a discussion of the vacant city manager position is scheduled for Executive Session following Monday night’s meeting.

Jankowski provided a brief update, mentioning The Novak Consulting Group, the Cincinnati, Ohio-based firm that was used in the search that resulted in the hiring of Moore in 2018.

“At the last meeting, City Council was informed that Novak wouldn’t be able to start the city manager search process until late September,” Jankowski said. “At that time, Council requested additional information from the Human Resources department and that information has been provided.

“Due to the sensitive nature of personnel matters, Council will meet in executive session during the upcoming regular Business meeting to decide a path forward in the hiring process.”

July 14, 2020 - 10:07am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city of batavia, batavia police department.

streeter_honored_1.jpg

streeter_and_gang_1.jpg

The City of Batavia honored Police Officer Darryle Streeter on Monday night upon his retirement (which took effect on April 30) after nearly 30 years of service.

His proclamation stated that he received several commendations for excellence in DWI enforcement, response to critical incidents and for bravery and selflessness.

In top photo, from left, Police Chief Shawn Heubusch, Assistant Chief Chris Camp, Streeter, wife, Maria, son, Benjamin, and daughter, Julia. In bottom photo, Streeter is joined by his colleagues for a group picture.

Photos by Mike Pettinella.

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