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Retiring detective honored for 'outstanding police work'

By Joanne Beck
Thad Mart retirement
Retiring Batavia City Police Detective Thaddeus "Thad" Mart receives a proclamation from City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. after 17 years of service during Monday's conference session at City Hall.

Photo by Joanne Beck

With several of his uniformed colleagues seated nearby, Batavia Police Detective Thaddeus “Thad” Mart was honored for his 17 years as a police officer, sergeant and lastly as a detective with the city department during the City Council’s conference session Monday evening.

Council President Eugene Jankowski read a proclamation listing the retiring Mart’s experience, which included serving as an operations specialist E-5 in the U.S. Navy and a border patrol agent at the U.S.-Mexican border.

He then began his local career in Batavia in August 2006 as a Batavia Police officer, distinguishing himself as a field training officer, general topics instructor, serving as a department liaison to the Veterans Treatment Court and as a crisis negotiator, the proclamation states. 

He was promoted to sergeant before becoming a detective in 2013, during which time he assisted in many high-profile investigations and became certified as a polygraph examiner. Mart has been part of investigations with everything from bank robbery and stabbings to burglaries, sex abuse by a teacher and murder.

Mart has been recognized for his “outstanding police work by multiple agencies citing his professionalism, attention to detail and steadfast approach,” Jankowski said, reading from the proclamation.

“He served his country, his community and the department with honor and dedication, and his approach to investigations was methodical and unrelenting. He demonstrated professionalism and courage, and he has been an outstanding trainer to many officers,” Jankowski said. “He has never sought out the spotlight but has worked tirelessly to keep the community safe by thoroughly investigating every crime and call for service he was assigned.”

So it was in a “true spirit of appreciation for 17 years of dedicated service” to the city,  that City Council drafted and presented the proclamation, Jankowski said, as a way to sincerely thank Mart for his unwavering service to the community and to wish him well in retirement. 

In turn, Mart was “proud and thankful” for having had the career and honor to serve the people of Batavia, he said, and the opportunity to “work with all these officers over the years.”

Batavia PD flag ceremony to honor deceased former officers

By Press Release
batavia pd memorial
File photo of 2022 Batavia PD memorial service for deceased former police officers.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Press Release:

The second annual Flag Commemoration Ceremony for deceased members from the Batavia Police Department will take place on Wednesday, May 31 at 1 p.m. 

This year's ceremony will be held at the gravesite of Officer (ret.) Andrew McCulley in the St. Joseph's Cemetery. 

Flags will once again be installed in metal flag holders at nearly 50 graves at various cemeteries across Genesee County and plaques were affixed to deceased officers interred in the Monsignor Schwartz Mausoleum. 

We welcome all family, friends and retirees to join us for this solemn remembrance. Anyone wishing to attend should assemble by the Kelly Mousoleum at 12:30 p.m. as the procession will begin to the gravesite at 12:50 p.m. 

The flags and metal flag holders were produced and donated by H.E. Turner & Co., Inc. Funeral Home in the City of Batavia. 

Batavia PD and Lions Club partner up to fix bikes for BCSD

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Batavia Police Department would like to thank the Batavia Lions Club for its generous donation and work during the Day of Caring.  Batavia PD donated several slightly used bicycles to the Lions Club.  

During the Genesee County Day of Caring, the Lions Club partnered with Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle to service/fix up these bikes.  Once the tuneups were completed, the Lions Club donated eight bicycles back to Batavia PD to be distributed to local children in need. 

The Batavia PD School Resource Officers teamed up with guidance counselors from Batavia City Schools to select these children.  Batavia PD and the Lions Club have agreed to continue this partnership in the years to come to ensure we can help the community in which we serve. 

Batavia PD would like to thank the Lions Club, Adam Millers, and the Batavia City Schools for their assistance in this newly founded program.

Submitted photo

BCSD superintendent sends letter to families regarding false bomb threat

By Joanne Beck
Jason Smith
Jason Smith
District Photo

The Batavian reached out to Batavia City Schools Superintendent Jason Smith after a false threat by an eight-year-old was made regarding a bomb on a school bus Tuesday. 

Smith was not able to immediately respond to The Batavian's questions later Tuesday night, however, he did provide a copy of the letter sent out to district families.

This letter was sent after Batavia Police Department issued a press release regarding the incident

It is below in its entirety:

To Our BCSD Community,

This afternoon, the Genesee County 911 Center received a call reporting there was a "bomb on a school bus" and placed the location of that bus in the City of Batavia.

The Batavia Police Department and New York State Troopers immediately responded to locate the bus (operated by Student Transportation of America). The bus was found on State Street, and there were no longer any students on the bus after completing the afternoon route.

Out of an abundance of caution, the New York State Police and their K9 unit performed a sweep of the bus in question and found no evidence of a credible threat.

The Batavia Police patrol officers and detectives investigated the call and determined it came from the home of a John Kennedy Intermediate student. The student confessed the call was a prank, and the BPD determined there was no additional threat to the district. The case has been turned over to the Batavia Police Department’s Juvenile Detective. BCSD will follow our Code of Conduct with respect to this incident as well.

All bus pickups will occur as usual tomorrow (Wednesday) without any disruption.

We thank the Batavia Police Department and New York State Police for their swift response.

Jason Smith

Batavia police, county sheriff's office teaming up to conduct alcohol compliance checks

By Press Release

Press release:

Caring about the community’s wellness is the underlying theme of a joint effort of the City of Batavia Police Department and Genesee County Sheriff’s Office to conduct alcohol compliance checks at retail businesses this month.

“Our department continues to partner with prevention educators at Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse to provide this service to ensure that vendors are attentive to properly identifying the age of those purchasing alcohol,” said Assistant Police Chief Chris Camp. “Abuse of alcohol by underage individuals is a cause of accidents and other poor choices for this age group.”

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Brian Frieday echoed Camp’s sentiments, adding, that “compliance checks demonstrate to vendors and young people, alike, that this community cares about the wellness of its citizens.”

This round of compliance checks – which are funded through a grant from GCASA -- will take place in December, prior to Christmas, and will focus on off-premise establishments only (supermarkets, convenience stores, liquor stores).

“We are planning to check off-premise establishments at this time because our data shows that kids are not drinking in bars or restaurants,” said Shannon Ford, GCASA’s director of Communications & Development and director of Prevention. “We are hoping to not find anyone out of compliance, but will offer Responsible Server Training to anyone who is caught or for those who would like to be proactive.”

Fifth annual Community Night Out a success

By Steve Ognibene


Pastor Ryan Macdonald from City Church, St. Anthony's site, says it’s been a pleasure to be part of a community social gathering that brings everyone together to share in food, fun and activities. 

"The weather played in our favor tonight with lower humidity and being cloudy and cooler than the heat wave we have endured throughout this summer," Macdonald said during Tuesday's Community Night Out event. "This year I would say brought in 1,000 people over the course of the event.  We had over 50-plus vendors and more additional sponsors. We are so thankful to get behind the police department with the K-9 unit, and they are just a blessing to the community, and we are glad to be a part of it."

Photos by Steve Ognibene













Batavia Police to civilians: think and act quickly to survive

By Joanne Beck


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

That’s a popular quote with a ring of cliche, but a truth nonetheless that was center to Batavia Police Department’s active shooter training Thursday evening.

And for nearly three hours, Officer Arick Fleming and Detective Steve Cronmiller not only reviewed the history of events — devastating as they were — but discussed how lessons can be gleaned from each scenario. Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, or CRASE, training was conducted by the police department as a way to better equip ordinary citizens with the knowledge to survive a possible future attack.

While some scenarios illustrated the surprise element of an attack and how it can paralyze people with fear, many others contained gems of insight into how survival really comes down to each individual.

Three key words to keep in mind are denial, deliberation and decisive, as each one will become an action taken by people caught in a surprise assault or tragic event, Fleming said. He asked the group of about 25 attendees how long they might have before emergency responders arrive on scene. Answer: Three minutes. While that isn’t a whole lot of time, it’s three minutes that can mean life or death for the person that hesitates to act in the face of a horrific situation, he said.

Denial: Not acknowledging that something might be happening and ignoring possible warning signs. He gave the scenario of hearing a bang and dismissing it as a car backfiring. Or, as shown in some actual video footage, not reacting when seeing flames on the other side of a building or when an angry, armed man disrupts a government meeting. Most people remained where they were as if gripped with fright or ignorance that something tragic was about to happen.

Deliberation: Assessing a situation for what is actually happening and what are some possible actions to take.

Decisive: Choosing to act in some way, whether it is to flee the situation, find a hiding place or actively combat the danger (a gunman or fire, for example).

“The ones who can make better, quicker decisions are the ones to survive,” Fleming said.

All too often, people look for the lead when in a crowd, he said, instead of acting upon their own instincts. Another video, in which actors lay on the ground acting ill, demonstrated how group-minded individuals can be, as one by one, passersby ignored the person on the ground. In one experiment, 34 people walked by in the first 20 minutes without any acknowledgment of the situation.

The brain’s response to stress …
There is a response to stress, Fleming said, that involves the “lizard brain,” in which a person will either fight, flee or freeze. Their brains may lock up and focus only on one solution — one way out of a burning building, for example.

Yet another video of an actual fire at a nightclub showed a crowd of people seemingly oblivious to a fire that had erupted and was visible. They remained in that group-minded mentality that, since no one else was moving, convinced them it must be the right thing to do. And when it became a mad rush out of the building, people flocked to one main hallway. They became wedged against each other unable to get out. More than 30 people died in that hallway, while several others perished at other points within the building due to not acting immediately, Cronmiller said.

Another interesting but tragic lesson was that nobody even thought to use an alternative exit within the club, he said. Caught up in panic and a gradual thawing of shock, folks just made a mad dash by following everyone else.

“If just one person had thought of breaking the plate glass windows, they could’ve gotten out,” he said, adding that if a building has a kitchen, there is always an exit door there.

A taped interview with a surviving teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut proved that there are options to take in order to survive. She hid 15 children in a small bathroom and hushed them throughout the time period a gunman ransacked the school and took 26 lives. Even when police finally came to the door, she wouldn’t let them in. Fleming agreed with that choice.

“I wouldn’t open the door for police if I didn’t believe it; if I wasn’t 100 percent sure, I wouldn’t open the door,” he said.

Law enforcement would be able to obtain keys or otherwise find a way into that bathroom, he said. For those who do choose to hide in a room, use whatever is available to barricade the door, he said, from a doorstop to desks and chairs.

A physical response ...
When it comes to fighting off an attacker, the same advice applies: use whatever is handy. Attendees suggested a water bottle, fire extinguishers, chairs and the U.S. flag in council chambers. Being the victim of an attack should make you mad, he said.

“Use that anger. The more things we can throw at his face, that’s going to mess him up,” Fleming said. “You’re buying us time. What you do matters; we need to make it through those first three minutes.”

Philosopher George Santayana seemed to have it right: don’t forget history and don’t repeat the unfortunate mistakes of others. Fleming and Cronmiller wanted everyone to learn from the past and survive a catastrophic event.

The recent attack by a gunman in Erie County prompted Lynda Kelso to attend and obtain those lessons, she said.

“The attack in Buffalo really hit close to home. I saw an opportunity to educate myself a little more. I have one kid in every school, and I’m a stay-at-home mom. I can be available to help,” she said. “If I can learn even one thing to help … I’ll be better equipped should something happen here in Batavia. I would be the one to react; if I can help, I can help.”




Top photo: Batavia Police Officer Arick Fleming talks about active shooters during a civilian training Thursday at City Hall. Above, Officer Fleming and Detective Steve Cronmiller conduct the training as part of the department's Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events education. Photos by Howard Owens.

Batavia City Schools, police and City Church work to ease traffic at Jackson Primary

By Press Release

Press release:

BATAVIA, NY– In an effort to ensure the safety of students and staff during arrival and dismissal periods at Jackson Primary, the Batavia City School District, Batavia Police Department, and City Church have joined together to create a new recommended pickup route for the City Church Community Food Distribution program at St. Anthony’s. 

The City Church currently hosts a bi-monthly food distribution program for community residents at St. Anthony’s Church. Due to the program's popularity, some traffic concerns have emerged around Jackson Primary, resulting in serious safety issues along with traffic backups during school arrival and dismissal periods. 

In response, a new route has been established to access the Food Distribution Program pickup line. The new route will be in effect starting with the April 27 distribution date. Those community members who wish to participate in the program must access Liberty Street via South Swan Street, Osterhout Avenue, or Otis Street. All food distribution traffic will be redirected to avoid Liberty Street between South Jackson and Sumner Streets and South Jackson between South Swan and Liberty Streets (the areas directly in front of and adjacent to Jackson Primary). Please see the attached map for the updated route. 

The City Church Community Food Distribution program is scheduled every two weeks for the following dates: April 27, May 11, May 25, June 8, and June 22.

“The Batavia Police Department is asking for the cooperation of all motorists in the area of the Jackson Primary during arrival and dismissal times to adhere to all parking and traffic regulations. Specifically, we want to ensure that motorists do not create unsafe conditions near the school during the City Church's food distribution dates as they wait in line. Therefore, we are requiring anyone attending the food distribution program to avoid the area of South Jackson between South Swan and Liberty Streets. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation to ensure the children remain safe during arrival and dismissal times,” said Shawn Heubusch, Chief of Police. 

“I applaud the City Church for providing an important and valuable resource to our community. Our collective priority must also be the safety of our students, staff, and bus drivers at Jackson Primary. I’m happy the school district, City Church, and BPD were able to come together to reach a collaborative and mutually beneficial resolution. I also want to thank Batavia residents for their cooperation as we roll out the new route,” said Jason Smith, BCSD Superintendent of Schools. 



County DA Larry Friedman sprinkles in bits of humor as he accepts proclamation from the Batavia City Council

By Mike Pettinella


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.

Council urged to take steps to hire, retain officers to get City of Batavia Police Department back to full strength

By Mike Pettinella

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.

Emotional reaction to 9/11 inspired city police officer, firefighter to do their part to protect our freedoms

By Mike Pettinella


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.

Could a 'package deal' be a solution to current city police, county jail reuse and rehabilitation state of affairs?

By Mike Pettinella


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).


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

Council urged to back grant application to analyze future of current police station housed in Brisbane Mansion

By Mike Pettinella

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."


State approves Mobile Access Program for Genesee County Mental Health to work with three police agencies

By Mike Pettinella

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.”

BPD joins nationwide sex offender registry network, tying it in with more than 4,000 U.S. agencies

By Press Release

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 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

City Police Department reminds residents that registering their camera surveillance system can help solve crime

By Press Release

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.

Legislature proclaims May 9-15 as National Police Week

By Mike Pettinella


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.

BPD reminds public to ALWAYS lock your vehicle's doors after another rash of larcenies in the city

By Press Release

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.

BPD looking for public's help identifying DoorDash driver involved in accident on St. Pat's Day

By Press Release

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. 

City honors retired SRO Jason Davis; dedicates this week to county's emergency dispatch center

By Mike Pettinella


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."


Photos by Mike Pettinella.

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