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Eight-page brochure to highlight police department accomplishments

A glossy, eight-page brochure detailing the accomplishments of the Buffalo Police Department will be found Sunday inside The Buffalo News.

Billed as the department's "Report to the Community," the insert, packed with color photos and testimonials from public officials, is described as an advertising product of the newspaper.

"The goal is to report to the community on some of the positives that have enhanced the quality of life in Buffalo and helped with the renaissance, commercially and residentially," Police Commissioner Rocco J. Diina said Friday.

"There's too much negativity regarding the quality of life in Buffalo," the commissioner added. "There's an awful lot of good that goes on."

The report details accomplishments that include reducing crime, using one-officer patrol cars, cutting down on overtime costs and working with block clubs.

President Bush and former President Bill Clinton are among those shown in photos greeting top Buffalo police officials; the brochure also includes testimonials from Gov. George E. Pataki, Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark, and local business and religious leaders.

The brochure was paid for by the Buffalo Police Foundation, a group of local business leaders who raise money and help bring private-sector business practices to the department.

Established in 1995 by Mayor Anthony M. Masiello and then-Police Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, the foundation funds such efforts as satellite police stations, police training, state-of-the-art equipment for the Underwater Recovery Team and spaghetti dinners for immigrants hosted by the department's Citizens Advisory Group.

The foundation, which reports assets of about $155,000 in its latest federal filing, also lists business leaders Mark Hamister and Gerald Lippes among its directors. The Oishei Foundation and the Alfiero Family Foundation are among its contributors.

The foundation's stated aims include creating a "positive police-image campaign," through efforts such as this brochure.

"My honest hope is that some people who live outside the city and businesses looking to relocate into the city will recognize that we have a great quality of life, better than most of urban America," Diina said.

The brochure, which circulated quickly through police headquarters Friday, drew mixed reviews from rank-and-file officers and employees.

"That report makes me feel proud to work for the Buffalo Police Department," one employee told Diina.

The commissioner, responding to complaints from within the department, defended the use of report technicians and other employees in distributing the brochures.

"It's part of our responsibility to produce reports," he said. "It's consistent with our attempts to educate the community."

Diina, who will retire at the end of the year, says he believes the department reaps great value from airing its accomplishments.

"Hopefully, it will shed a positive light on a great police department and the officers I've been privileged to serve with."


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