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PROBE SOUGHT ON TRAINING RUN THAT FELLED 6 POLICE RECRUITS

A Common Council member is calling for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding six police recruits who were stricken during and immediately after a training run earlier this month.

Ellicott Council Member Barbara Miller-Williams, a police officer on leave, has filed a resolution for consideration by the Council requesting that the Civil Service Commission and Police Commissioner Rocco J. Diina investigate the matter.

The training was being conducted by the Erie County Central Police Services Law Enforcement Training Academy, not the Buffalo Police Department, a police spokesman pointed out Thursday.

However, the commissioner is in contact with Central Police Services concerning its investigation, Lt. Duane Rizzo said.

Joseph M. Abate, Central Police Services training director, said it was the first he had heard of the resolution and could not comment.

The recruits' first training run was being overseen by Buffalo Police Lt. Arnold Walker, who could not be reached to comment.

Six recruits collapsed from heat exhaustion at or near the end of the six-mile run Aug. 3. Three were treated in hospitals and later released, and three were admitted to a hospital for stays of several days.

All are now back at the academy, Abate said.

Those affected included four recruits for Buffalo and one each for Amherst and Hamburg. There were four men and two women.

The 46 recruits were running along the waterfront while the temperature was about 80 degrees and the humidity at a low 25 percent, Walker said at the time.

He attributed the problem to a sedentary lifestyle by many Americans and the fact some recruits had not heeded advice that they consume extra liquids before warm-weather training.

Ms. Miller-Williams' resolution said one of the recruits "may have suffered a permanent disability."

Abate declined to comment on that.

Ms. Miller-Williams said safeguards should be in place so such a thing never happens again.

And she said the following questions should be answered:

What is the diagnosis of all the recruits? What time of day did the training take place? What exercise and/or activities were they required to do prior to and after the run? Were they required to replenish any fluids prior to, during and after the run? Did any suffer permanent health damage? And what safeguards have been implemented?

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