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Buffalo Sex Offense Squad detective brought ‘justice’ to victims for 30 years

Jacqueline “Jackie” Sullivan says it takes a special kind of person to work on the Buffalo Police Department Sex Offense Squad.

The veteran detective is retiring at the end of the month, ending a 30-year career in the department, the last 18 dealing with sex offenders and their victims.

“Most detectives who come here (to the unit) do not stay because of the subject matter,” she said. “Dealing with sexual abuse and child abuse is very sensitive and most find it difficult to do on a daily basis.”

The 53-year-old Orchard Park native joined the department in March 1986, working at what was then called Precinct 13 on Hertel Avenue and now is the site of the department’s Northwest District headquarters. She was appointed a detective in February 1997.

Sullivan regrets that city budget cuts have forced the department to reduce the Sex Offense Squad from 16 staffers to its current five detectives. But she said she applauds all the detectives who have worked in the unit, “especially the ones who have stayed and put their hearts and souls into the work.”

She added, “You work in this squad because you want to make a difference and you truly care about the victims, especially the kids, because we are often the only ones who can speak to them.”

Sullivan stressed that the public never hears about most of the work of the Sex Offense Squad because its investigations involve such sensitive subjects.

The detective has had to deal with a painful on-duty knee injury suffered in April 2014 when she had to subdue a heavy-set woman for allegedly having severely beaten a 5-year-old girl. Sullivan said she never sought a transfer to a less stressful job in the detective bureau.

Speaking of the thousands of sex offenders she dealt with during her busy career on the force, Sullivan jokingly said she expects “all those sex offenders are going to miss me.”

Her arrests include:

• Ronald L. Robinson, a 52-year-old former crack-addicted Buffalo man serving a 50-year prison term at the Attica Correctional Facility since December 2002 for the June 14, 2001, rape of a 78-year-old Jefferson Avenue woman after he broke into her apartment.

• Craig Burroughs, a 51-year-old Buffalo man who has been serving a 25-year prison term at the Auburn Correctional Facility since 2011 for his arrest and conviction on first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy for the Dec. 11, 2002, attack on a 15-year-old girl who took a shortcut through Shoshone Park on her way to school.

• Frank L. Flowers, a 55-year-old Brooklyn ex-convict who has been serving a prison term of 15 years to life since 2012 at the Auburn prison on first-degree sexual abuse charges for the New Year’s Day 2011 rape of an 8-year-old Guilford Street girl in the living room of her family’s apartment as the little girl’s mother slept in an adjacent bedroom.

• Tony Borden, a 48-year-old Buffalo man who has been serving a 20-year term at the Attica prison since August 2005 for the June 25, 2004, rape of the 7-year-old daughter of one of his women friends in his Schreck Avenue apartment.

Aside from sending vicious criminals to prison, Sullivan said the rewards of her work including “bringing justice to the victims.”

“I have been to many graduations and birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese and other social spots from thankful victims and their loved ones.”

“You always keep a special place in your heart for the people you help,” she said.

Sullivan is one of the best golfers in the Police Department and retirement should give her more time to work on her game with the goal of getting her fifth hole-in-one.

To the chagrin of the many duffers in the department, Sullivan scored her first ace at Chestnut Hill Country Club in Darien Center in September 1995; her second at the Willowdell Country Club In Niagara Falls, Ont., in August 1996; her third at the Sheridan Park Golf Course in September 1996; and her fourth at the Bridgewater Country Club in Fort Erie, Ont., on July 15, 2010.

Retirement also will allow her to pay more attention her 83-year-old mother, Dolores Sullivan of Orchard Park.

Asked what she expects to miss the most about being a detective, Sullivan quickly stressed “the people” she has worked with and assisted through the years.

“I worked with so many different agencies but, most importantly, I want to thank the patrol officers of the Buffalo Police Department who made my job easier, assisting in locating and apprehending” wrongdoers.