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K-9 unit, Artpark crowd control top concerns of Lewiston police

The Lewiston police board Monday night discussed a new K-9 unit and plans to police Artpark summer concerts.

The Town Board also met with Village Board members prior to its regular meeting.

Lewiston Police Chief Ronald Winkley said his department has been told by State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, that a $39,000 grant will be made available to fund a K-9 program.

Included will be training for an officer, a K-9 and a special K-9 unit vehicle. Winkley said the department has been trying to establish a K-9 unit for the past two years.
The police dog will live with the K-9 officer, and the police chief said interested officers will be interviewed once the funding is confirmed in writing. He said the dog will be used for drug sniffing and searches and is expected to be used at schools in the Lewiston-Porter and Niagara-Wheatfield districts and at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.

Winkley said the K-9 unit will cost $8,000 annually to maintain. He said he expects local service groups and schools to help cover the costs.

The joint town and village police board also learned that Village Mayor Richard F. Soluri and Winkley, as well as interested residents and board members, have met with representatives from Artpark to discuss the upcoming free summer concert series.

Winkley said the department hopes to come up with a uniform plan to control crowds outside Artpark and work with parks police, who patrol the Artpark site. There also was discussion of having Artpark help to cover some of the costs of Lewiston police working outside the free concerts, most of which take place on Tuesday nights and some of which have drawn estimated crowds of 15,000 to 20,000 during the last two summer seasons.

"It's a work in progress," Winkley said. "It will be better this year. Artpark wants that and is looking to help us."
Soluri said the village is considering not allowing any parking on south Fourth, First, Second and Third streets and possibly on Tuscarora Street.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com1

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