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Gipson swears in police command staff

Incoming Buffalo Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson swore in five chiefs and two deputy commissioners Wednesday afternoon during a ceremony described as "a new day in the history of the Police Department."

More than 120 family, friends and fellow officers crowded Police Headquarters for the event.

Gipson, a 35-year law enforcement veteran who is expected to be confirmed next week, appointed each member of his command staff Wednesday.

The appointments included two detective sergeants -- Daniel Derenda as deputy commissioner of operations and Byron C. Lockwood as first deputy commissioner of administration.

Dennis J. Richards was named chief of detectives. Others appointed as chiefs are: Jim Shea, South District, who will also oversee the Traffic and Flex units; Marcia Scott, Ferry-Fillmore District; Arturo Salas, Northwest District; Donna Berry, Central District; and Anthony J. Barba, Northeast District.

Berry missed the ceremony because of a vacation that was "scheduled a long time ago," Gipson said.

"This is a new day in the history of the Buffalo Police Department," Gipson said. "We're looking forward to combating blight and crime. Please don't expect miracles because I can't promise any, but we pledge to work our hardest to serve the citizens of Buffalo and forge a renaissance."

After the ceremony, Gipson and his new staff detailed plans to improve the Police Department.

Gipson said one of his top priorities will be addressing quality-of-life crimes such as loitering, prostitution and littering, because "all these little things lead to bigger crimes." He also said each police district will launch "mini task forces" on days when manpower permits, to target crimes plaguing district neighborhoods.

For the first time, two-officer cars will be used when there is extra manpower, but there are no immediate plans to utilize two-officer cars in high-crime areas, he said.

Derenda added that officers will receive new job-specific training, including homicide and narcotics detectives. "We want to make Buffalo safer for people to live, work and raise their families," said Derenda.

e-mail: vthomas@buffnews.com

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