“The Sheriff answered the Call” – Once again, I am reaching the history of the Sheriff’s Office (established 1821) and reflecting on Erie County’s chief law enforcement officer’s response to crisis. Here are some examples of the Sheriff’s leadership… During WWII with concerns about Nazi sabotage and spying – Erie County Sheriff deputies were assigned to patrol local airports. After Sept. 11th, a similar process was put into place by the Sheriff to have deputies checking the 11 local private airports, on days of Bills home games. In 1972, work began to build a stadium in Orchard Park, with parking lots to hold an estimated 15,000 vehicles. The Buffalo Bills’ first game at Rich Stadium was held on August 17, 1973, to a sold-out crowd. The Erie County Sheriff was the only department in the area capable enough to take command at the new stadium with a 100 + “stadium detail” to manage pedestrian and vehicular traffic. That responsibility is still in place today, plus an additional 100 + deputies inside the stadium for security purposes. In 1988, when the County budget process strangled the Sheriffs ability to staff, train, and buy supplies for his deputies, then Sheriff Thomas Higgins along with business executives, formed the Erie County Sheriffs Foundation to supplement the needs of the Sheriffs Office. Recognizing a similar need for local police agencies, the name of the organization was later changed to the Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation, Inc. and is still very active in providing services to police across WNY and Canada today Chris Clark President
We had over 60 members and guests at our last meeting at the Grapevine in Depew. Thank you to all for coming out. For those in attendance, it was obvious that the room provided by the Grapevine could not adequately accommodate all of us. This is why we stress how important it is to let us know if you will be attending. It is not only about the food but also seating. If we continue to try and find venues to keep our costs down, we need to have close to exact numbers in order to have enough food and seating for everyone. Our next meeting on October 17th will be our nomination meeting. Louise Mcfeely has submitted her resignation as the director of retirees; also, Ken Napora is looking for someone to assume the position of treasurer. It is very important for members to consider running for an office. Every organization needs new fresh blood and ideas to carry out its mission. In addition to nominations, the membership will be asked to vote on the issue of whether or not alcohol should be served at our monthly meetings. You need to attend the meeting if you want your opinion to count. The Badge and Shield club will be celebrating its mission of honoring our fellow employees at the 44th annual retirement and awards dinner on Saturday October 22nd, 2022.
Our May meeting was held at Buffalo’s Best Restaurant on Southwestern Blvd. in Orchard Park. It was a members’ only meeting and thirty-eight (38) members were in attendance. Mark Radder won the split club drawing. It pays to attend the meetings! Thanks to everyone who attended and RSVP’d to Debbie Norton so we could plan accordingly. A report was given on the success of our first Garage Sale & Weidner’s Chicken BBQ. At our next meeting, in addition to the split club drawing, we will be raffling off, as second prizes, free tickets to the Italian American Police Assn. Summer Picnic. So come out and bring a guest to the June 20th meeting. The annual telephone fundraising effort is now underway. Local organizations and businesses are being solicited for advertisement in our Retirement & Awards Dinner program book.
Thank you to the members who came out for our March meeting at Danny Potts in Cheektowaga, NY. It was our first-time meeting there, as we are trying different geographical locations to assist our members in attending. The parking, food and hospitality were great. It was a member’s only meeting and we had 45 present. The split club, of $93.00, was drawn by Jerry Butler and won by 1st VP Bob Koch. Unfortunately, we see reports of the rise in crime and the climbing murder rates in the U.S., especially in our urban areas. It is said that the rates, which had been falling for years, are now reflecting those high trends of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. At a recent conference of the National Organization of Black Enforcement Executives, FBI Director John Wray stated, “We all know that, at all levels of government, our most fundamental duty is to safeguard people’s right to live without fear of violence”. Wray noted that nearly one-half of the law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last year were ambushed. In 2021, according to the “Officer Down Memorial”, there were 589 line of duty deaths (416 from COVID). The job of being in law enforcement as support staff, medical personnel, dispatcher, a deputy, trooper, corrections, court, or police officer is increasingly becoming more dangerous as our society becomes more disposed to lawlessness. Our criminal justice system is lacking in holding offenders accountable and implementing swift consequences for criminal activities, while victims of crime continue to suffer the consequences. Sir Robert Peel, who is considered the “father of modern policing” is quoted as saying: “The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence”. His concept is as true today as it was in 1829 when he started the Metropolitan Police in London. We, from the law enforcement roots, need to support each other, whether still active or retired, in the mission we chose for our lifelong careers. That is why the Badge & Shield Club continues the tradition to honor our retirees and awardees at our 44th annual Awards and Retirement Dinner this October. Another opportunity is National Police Week celebrated May 11th – 16th, 2022. It is a time to remember our fallen comrades and to show our gratitude for those still serving the public. Locally, there is usually a morning ceremony on the 1st Monday of Police Memorial Week at St. Joseph’s Cathedral on Franklin Street and a wreath laying ceremony just down the street at our local Police Officer Memorial. We have five names of ECSO members killed in the line of duty on the memorial: Deputies Frederick Kaesser (1893-1925), Joseph Wachowiak (1902-1948) , William Dils (1925-1977), Robert Insalaco (1943-1987), and William Dillemuth (1944-1989). Let’s plan to come out and show our respect and support
Our April meeting was held at BW’s BBQ on Lake Street in Blasdell with 53 people in attendance. Thank you again to our members and guests who attended. Martha Tremblay won the split club of over $100, and a delicious BBQ chicken & pulled pork dinner was enjoyed by all. Maryann & Jerry Butler were congratulated in celebrating their 62nd wedding anniversary!