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PBA, commissioner spar over filling six unfilled police posts

Plans to eliminate six unfilled positions in the Buffalo Police Department, including two in the Narcotics Bureau, could not come at a worse time, a Buffalo police union official said Wednesday.

The union official cited the opiate epidemic and efforts to curb drug dealers, and questioned why Commissioner Daniel Derenda decided to eliminate the positions, including a detective in homicide, another in the intelligence unit and two officers in the housing unit.

“We didn’t see this coming, especially with the narcotics unit. The workload in that unit is tremendous with gathering information and executing search warrants,” said John T. Evans, first vice president of the Police Benevolent Association.

Derenda responded that the department is eliminating some positions temporarily and they will be filled later.

“They want to control management of the department but the positions will be filled when we are ready to fill them,” Derenda said.

An arbitration decision said that the department must fill an unfilled position within 45 days, but the department is not ready to fill some posts yet, Derenda said.

“We decide where the manpower goes, not them,” he said of the PBA.