As a former Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority police officer, I am deeply saddened by the announcement that the force will be eliminated. I am saddened because 26 of my friends and former colleagues, some of the best cops I know, will be out of jobs.
I am saddened for the residents of the housing developments because they will be without adequate police protection. The drug dealers and thugs will in essence be free to do whatever they want, with no one keeping a close eye on them.
And I'm saddened because the tradition of the housing police is coming to an end. The force has been in existence for 31 years. It developed from a security force to a once nationally accredited law enforcement agency, gaining more respect from the law enforcement community every step of the way.
The Buffalo police will step in and respond to the 8,500 or so calls for service that the housing police receive, and book the 800-plus arrests. But city police are already trying to do more with less, and are going to be asked to do even more with less. It's hard to imagine that in a post- 9/1 1 era, the government would even think about cutting police services.