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BUDGET SEEKS TO LAY OFF 7 OFFICERS

The police Roving Anti-Crime and Traffic divisions and other units may lose some officers if Mayor Irene J. Elia's proposed 2002 budget is approved by the City Council.

The proposed budget calls for the elimination of five unfilled positions and the layoff of seven newly hired officers, Police Superintendent Christopher J. Carlin said Tuesday.

Though he is hoping things will change, Carlin said the worst-case scenario would mean that seven of the nine new officers who graduated from the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy this summer and are now working on road patrol will have to be laid off next year.

"It would have an impact on units like RAC and Traffic. We'd have to transfer officers from those units to the Patrol Division to make up for the loss.

"We'd have to do that because road patrol and public and officer safety is our primary concern as a police department," Carlin said.

He said he would also transfer Officer Edward Janese out of the Domestic Violence Unit to bolster road patrol operations.

"All non-essential functions would have to be cut back," Carlin said.

The proposed cuts, coupled with the recent loss of five officers to the military in the country's war against terrorism, will make things even tighter for Carlin than he originally expected.

However, several things could change the situation, Carlin said.

"We have to see how many retirements there are going to be," Carlin said.

Officer Alan Forsey has already stated he plans to retire, and Carlin said there may be at least one other officer retiring this year.

That would knock down the number of potential layoffs from seven to five.

He said three officers -- Alan Sharp, Anne Attfield and Louis Oliveri -- are out of work because of long-term injuries.

If any of them leaves the job to go on the state disability retirement program, it could allow him to retain some of the officers who otherwise would have to be laid off.

Carlin said if the State Legislaure allows the Seneca Nation of Indians to run a casino in the city, the budget would probably be altered to allow for more police officers in the South End.

He said the influx of people a casino would attract to the city most likely would require more police officers for patrols.

e-mail: pwestmoore@buffnews.com

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