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Chella, Traffic Division honored

Separate citations were presented Monday to Police Chief John R. Chella for promoting good will between the Police Department and the community and to the police Traffic Division for its work in traffic safety.

Mayor Paul A. Dyster cited Chella for his "understanding and significant contributions to our diverse community."

Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti read a presentation supported by all five members of the City Council recognizing the chief for receiving the Law Enforcement Community Leaders Award from the National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York.

The presentation said the award "recognizes those in Western New York who have promoted good will and understanding and have made special achievements in their volunteer endeavorsand/or in their professions."

Wally Smith, vice president of the AAA of Western and Central New York, presented a traffic safety silver award to the Traffic Division for its "vital services" in making city streets safer during 2010.

Chella praised the division commander, Capt. Salvatore Pino, and his officers. "People think they just hand out speeding tickets and investigate accidents, but nobody knows how many lives they have saved by enforcing our traffic laws," the chief said.

The award was in recognition of "successful projects addressing underage drinking and driving, driving while intoxicated, aggressive driving, seat belt use, child occupant protection; school bus, bicycle and teen driver safety; concerns including road conditions, traffic signs and signals; street hazards and investigations of fatal crashes."

The AAA awards range from honorable mention to bronze, silver, gold and the highest level, platinum. In its first year of participation, Niagara Falls received a bronze award for 2009.

In other business, the City Council:

*Turned down a request to hire interns in the Planning Department at a cost of $10,765. Council Chairman Sam Fruscione questioned why interns should be paid, thereby making them eligible to collect unemployment insurance at the end of their six-month internship.

*Extended the moratorium on issuing licenses for pawnbrokers and second-hand dealers to April 30.
*Accepted a guitar that was autographed by each of the performers at last September's third annual blues festival on Old Falls Street. Event coordinator Daria Sterner said more than 200 hotel rooms were booked by people attending the festival.

e-mail: rbaldwin@buffnews.com

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