The town supervisor who took office in Alden this year found boxes of ammunition sitting on the floor in an unlocked room next to his office.
“I said this ammunition needs to be secured,” Supervisor Brett Sitzman recalled. But he also decided an accounting was needed.
After matching purchase records to what was on hand, Sitzman learned that 2,600 rounds of 9 mm and .40-caliber ammunition bought since 2019 could not be accounted for – because there was no accounting system.
But while Sitzman could not find 2,600 rounds, valued at $600, he did count more than 6,000 rounds on hand – for a town that has no police department.
Alden buys ammunition for one part-time constable, who primarily protects the town court. Two other town constables are employed by the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, which supplies their bullets.
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“Our predecessor did not have any system of accountability for those rounds,” Sitzman said of the previous supervisor, Dean Adamski. “We now have a system.”
Adamski sells guns and ammunition at his business in Alden, DD’s Ranch, which he insists had no role in selling bullets to the town. Sitzman agrees with that.
The town constable is Dale Adamski, Dean’s brother. Dean Adamski said he stayed clear of the hiring process involving his brother in 2019 and was serving as a town councilman, not town supervisor, at the time.
Only a few employees had access to the room where the bullets were kept, Dean Adamski said, and the town constable wasn’t among them. He said he inherited that situation when he became supervisor in January 2020.
“There’s not an accounting for a single thing in that town hall,” Adamski said. “There’s no ‘signing out’ for anything – any equipment, any products, nothing.”
He said he would provide the rounds to his brother at his brother’s request and figured that most of the supposedly missing bullets were fired in target practice and the annual training and weapons-qualification sessions the constable must go through.
Dale Adamski told The Buffalo News that he probably has been issued around 2,100 rounds for his training and qualifications sessions since he was hired, and he returned any bullets not used – 100 or so – to his brother.
Why did Dean Adamski buy so many bullets while supervisor? He said he feared the pandemic-related slowdown would make them difficult to come by, so he stocked up. And at one time the town considered employing three constables, not one, he said.
However, when told the town had 1,100 rounds of 9 mm ammunition remaining in its cache, Adamski said the number seems low based on what he recalled of the purchases.
"There should be more 9 mm ammo there," he said.
Sitzman said he has reported the matter to the State Police, whose local spokesman did not return a call seeking comment for this article. Both Dean and Dale Adamski said no state trooper ever asked them about the town’s report. But Dean Adamski said county sheriff’s deputies talked to him about it. Dean Adamski also is a reserve deputy.
Adamski suspects politics are at play in making him the focus of a mystery. He lost an intense Republican primary in 2021 to Sitzman. In Sitzman’s corner was Alecia Barrett, the Republican town clerk, who said the matter discovered in January had to be taken seriously.
“It’s a big deal because it’s ammunition,’’ she said, “and you don’t know where it can turn up.”
Now, requests for ammunition must be in writing, and two officials are involved in handing it out, she said.