As a member of the Erie County Sheriff's Police Services Division, I must respond to the misleading information County Executive Joel Giambra is giving about the sheriff's road patrol. The sheriff has provided law enforcement services to citizens since the 1800s. In the early 1900s, several cities and towns opted to provide enhanced law enforcement for their citizens in the form of a local police department, at taxpayer expense.
The sheriff's office is the primary 911 responder for 16 towns and villages. These municipalities have made the choice that the road patrol is ample for their municipalities based upon several factors, such as crime rate and population. On most days, the sheriff's office provides 12 cars to patrol and answer calls in these municipalities. This means each deputy has more than one town to patrol. This is hardly a "luxury the county can't afford."
The sheriff also provides the only bomb squad and helicopter this county has for law enforcement service. Deputies are also involved in drug enforcement and the serving of criminal, housing and family court warrants as well as serving domestic violence orders of protection. The majority of these services are carried out in Buffalo and the first-ring suburbs. Further cuts to the sheriff's budget should not be tolerated.
Michael Summers Jr.
President, Erie County Sheriff's
Police Benevolent Association