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NON-EMERGENCY CALLS TO PORTER STOP

Lewiston police won't be on the beat in the Town of Porter.

At a joint Village/Town Board meeting on Monday, the two boards voted unanimously to stop the Lewiston Police Department from responding to non-emergency calls in the Town of Porter.

Lewiston Police are a joint village/town department and receive no funding from the Town of Porter.

Town Supervisor Fred Newlin said it came to his attention as police commissioner that the Lewiston Police Department was responding to non-emergency calls in Porter.

"That's going to change now," said Sgt. Frank J. Previte III, assistant police chief.

Previte said the Niagara County Sheriff dispatches Lewiston police cars to non-emergency calls, such as a reckless drivers, neighbors fighting, domestic disputes, custody issues or to take reports. They also respond to alarms.

Under the new rule, Lewiston Police would assist outside of the town when there is a request for mutual aid for an emergency or immediate threat, such as providing backup in an emergency or assisting an officer who is in danger.

"We want to be a good neighbor, but this resource is costing us money," said Newlin.

Previte said they average a few calls to Porter in each shift, or about 10 calls per week, and when they respond they have a car out of place and unable to serve Lewiston residents. Currently there are about two cars on the road in the town during each 12-hour shift.

Previte, a former officer in the Village of Youngstown, which is in the Town of Porter, said he has seen their department being reduced, now operating only three or four days a week.

Trustee William Geiben said the Town of Porter was approached about compensating Lewiston on a per hour usage basis, but said the offer "was not warmly received."

Mayor Richard F. Soluri said that while Porter was not open, the Village of Youngstown mayor was willing to discuss compensation.

"The real problem may be the county. When we established a police force, they kind of pulled out on us and now they are assigning our cars to Porter. They are taking advantage of us by using our police department. We don't have a problem when there is an emergency, but it's an issue of fairness," said Councilman John Ceretto.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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