A day after the Buffalo Police Department ordered an end to overtime for special details patrolling Chippewa Street and elsewhere, a fight broke out early Sunday involving a man who fired a gun into the air over the entertainment district. He was arrested late Monday, but the president of the police union says ending the details was a major mistake.
PBA President John Evans says the department apparently ran out of overtime in the budget, with much of the fiscal year to go, but says he doesn't know why the OT money ran out.
The patrol officer says there was no particular problem leading to a lot of need for extra police time, including the December visit of the U.S.S. Little Rock to Buffalo's waterfront because Washington, D.C. will ultimately pay for that.
Evans says he has patrolled Chippewa Street and a visible police presence is needed to control behavior.
"Saturating the area, I think, that would certainly...a police presence, I believe absolutely will cut down on the number of assaults," Evans says, "and who wants to get arrested, spend the night in jail. No one, I guess, of right mind."
He says ending special details also hurts routine police patrols in the district.
"With cars, patrol cars that work in B District, to handle a litany of the issues, problems that you continuously have on Chippewa and now on Allen Street," Evans says. "So we were stretched thin before and, now, eliminating that detail, we're...well...I don't know. I don't know how it's going to be handled."
Evans says the department should go back to the Common Council and ask for more money. WBFO reached out to Police Department spokesman Michael DeGeorge, but he was not available.