Happy spring to all our members and your families! Our March meeting at B&W’s BBQ on Lake Avenue was attended by 40+ members. Dick Sojka won the split club ($105). It pays ($) to be a member! Chief Tom Staebell (retired) and I met recently over lunch. Our discussion took us down memory lane, reminiscing
about some of the women and men who preceded us in the Sheriff’s Office, and others who we had worked for and with.
What we realized in conversation was how many of the men who served as Sheriff of Erie County came from the ranks of the Buffalo Police Department (BPD). Although we named many off the top of our heads, Tom did some research and is continuing with more at the Buffalo History Museum. I recommend a visit to the museum on Nottingham Terrace – it is full of information about our region. Information can also be found at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.
Here is what Tom shares about the sheriffs: Arthur Britt, 1942-1955 (BPD), he was the last Sheriff I know ofto live at 10 Delaware Ave.; Robert Glasser 1956-1959 (BPD), upon leaving office was appointed as the head of the state’s harness racing commission; Glasser’s Undersheriff, B. John Tutuska (BPD)1959-1969, later Sheriff Tutuska, was tapped to be the Erie County Executive when then County Executive Ed Rath passed away in office; Tom Ryan (BPD)1969 served a year in B. John’s place, lost the election to Chief Mike Amico (BPD) “The Crime Fighter” 1970-1976, a veteran military aviator who also held a law degree; Amico was not retained in the 1976 November election; Ken Braun, who was an Amherst police officer won the job as Sheriff. Braun was a former Marine, a WWII vet like Amico, he served 9 years with the BPD before heading to a suburban police force. Braun appointed Tom Higgins as Undersheriff, former BPD Lieutenant. After Braun decided not to run again, Higgins ran and won (1986-1997) a hotly contested campaign against another BPD officer, Stan Bolas. Stan was later appointed the Commissioner of Erie County Central Police Services. Buffalo PD, in a long tradition, has now provided the Office of Sheriff with the County’s 54th Sheriff, John Garcia.
In addition to the many candidates, both men and women, elected Sheriff from the BPD there are even more BPD members who ran in a general or primary election(s) seeking to attain the job as Sheriff. I have taken my editorial liberties as it relates to Tom’s research for this column. Thank you, Chief Staebell, for compiling and sharing this information. We look forward to the fruits of your research from the museum in a future newsletter and welcome our members to contribute to this column.