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SWAT UNIT WEAKENED BY ARBITRATION AWARD

I am writing to comment on the recent arbitration award that the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association won regarding overtime for police captains.

Since becoming a police officer almost 15 years ago, I have always been in favor of the efforts made by police unions. The ramifications of this decision, however, go too far.

As a member of the Tactical (SWAT) community for 11 years, I have had the opportunity to work with the captain in charge of the Buffalo Police SWAT team on many occasions. This captain (with 12 years of SWAT experience) has worked as hard as anyone to improve the level of proficiency and professionalism on the team.

Because of his leadership, this special unit has successfully resolved many dangerous situations. It has not only admirably safeguarded the residents of Buffalo, but also fellow brother officers in the Police Department.

But now, because of this ruling, this captain -- the commander of this team -- can only respond to a SWAT incident if he is on duty.

Kevin J. Hoffman President, Erie County
Tactical Task Force

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