Erie County Sheriff's Dept. Report 2013
Sheriff's Dept. Report 2012
Erie County Sheriff's Dept. Official Website
Hunter Saved From Niagara River
Press Release 12/30/13
The Erie County Sheriff’s Office reports that at approximately 10:05 am today’s date, Richard Sander of the City of Tonawanda was duck hunting in the Niagara River adjacent to New York State Parks Duck Blind 28 which is at the southern tip of Grand Island. While attempting to retrieve a wounded duck Sander’s boat capsized in rough water exposing him and his dog to the frigid water temperatures. Dave Wahl of Effington, Illinois and Riley Wahl of Akron, NY were also hunting in the area and witnessed the incident. The Wahl’s immediately came to Sanders aid. The Wahl’s were able to pull Sander’s and his dog safely on their boat and bring them to the Grand Island shoreline on East River Road with the capsized boat in tow. Sander was treated for exposure at the scene by members of the Grand Island Fire Company and subsequently transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital by Twin City Ambulance. Sander was admitted to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for observation.
December is National Drunk and & Drugged Driving Prevention month, or 3 D month. The importance of this month and our message about not drinking and driving cannot be overstated. Together, our Office, is partnering with WNY United Against Drug & Alcohol Abuse; several prevention and law enforcement agencies such as the State Police and Hamburg Police Department, to help shed more light on this very important topic. Our collaborative efforts in Erie County are meant to target impaired driving and underage drinking in order to keep our kids and our families safer, particularly during the holiday season.
Message from Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard
December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month- December 2013
All through the month of December and into January you will see our holiday themed billboards dot the county landscape reminding drivers not to drink and drive. Please look for them! Also expect to see increased patrols out on the highways to help deter this violent act. Remember, cheer does not come in a bottle. We need your help and commitment in keeping our communities safe and drug and alcohol free by not driving under the influence or provide to minors – remember, it’s against the law to serve alcohol to those under 21! We can all make the right choices together.
However, drinking and driving awareness doesn’t begin and end with adults. It must start early. We need to engage our youth to help them try and avoid making terrible choices that could have life-long or even life ending consequences. That is why part of this holiday anti-drinking and driving campaign engages our youth as well. Several students from school districts throughout the county entered the WNY United’s Annual Drug Free Art and Poetry contest; through prose and portrait, the children promised to stay drug and alcohol free and they encouraged their parents to make the same choices as well.
Please have a safe holiday season. It really is a wonderful time of the year and should be remembered for all of the right reasons.
With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season in full swing, please consider taking the following precautions to help alleviate the possibility of becoming a victim while you are out shopping for that special gift:
Message from Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard
Safe Holiday Precautions - December 2013
At your home, keep the outside well it with doors locked and window curtains closed particularly if you have wrapped gifts underneath your Christmas tree. Also, don’t forget about “front porch” shopping. With more and more people ordering their goods on line you need to be proactive in order to keep the gifts delivered to your home safe from thieves. Many times criminals will follow delivery trucks and remove items the driver leaves behind. If you are expecting a package and cannot be there to take delivery, you may want to consider taking the following actions:
If you see any activity that would suggest someone is following one of the delivery trucks, or if you see someone remove a delivered package, immediately call 911. Please be safe and enjoy this holiday season with your family and friends!
Our Office in conjunction with the New York State Sheriff’s Association is offering two potentially life-saving programs for domestic violence victims here in Erie County. The newest program is called the Family Court Order of Protection Notification Project SAVIN-NY (Statewide Automated Victim Notification Information and Notification), which allows domestic violence victims to register at www.savin-ny.org to be notified by phone, text message, or e-mail when a Family Court Order of Protection has been served. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Message from Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month - October 2013
The second is the long-running -New York Sheriff’s Victim Hotline - VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday), which allows crime victims to register at www.vinelink.com or call toll free @ 1-888-VINE-4-NY to be notified by phone or e-mail in the event of an offender’s release from prison. This service is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Victims of domestic violence often need the kind of timely information that the VINE and SAVIN-NY provide. Both programs provide registered crime victims with critical information when they need it most. This access empowers domestic violence victims to gain a greater degree of control in their lives and to make informed decisions about their safety.
Sheriff's Office Media Day - October 2013
Captain Kevin Caffery
The Erie County Sheriff's Office had a media day at the Swat Range in Alden on Wednesday, October 2nd.
Elected officials from Erie County and the media were invited to learn more about what the Special Services Division is all about.
Grand Island attendees included, Councilmen Ray Billica and Chris Aronica and Isledegrande representatives Kim Kalman and Jodi Robinson. It was a very interesting day.
Air 1 & SWAT team fast roping.
Chris Aronica and Ray Billica at target range.
SWAT team members.
Bear Cat Armored Vehicle
Captain Greg Savage demonstrating SWAT equipment.
The Aviation Unit is based in Angola and is led by Captain Kevin Caffery and Sr. Flight Tactical Flight Officer Art Litzinger. They fly the Air 1, an American Eurocopter. Captain Caffery gave an interesting presentation with video showing rescues and recovery. He noted that 70% of their rescue and recovery operations are over water. 2013 has been a busy year for suicides at Niagara Falls and Captain Caffery believes the economy is much to blame. Niagara Falls is the 2nd most popular site for suicide, just behind the Golden Gate Bridge in California. Bodies are never recovered if they go over the American Falls due to all the rocks at the base. The Canadian side does not have that problem so recovery is normal. Captain Caffery said he has never recovered a body with clothes on in over 20 years on the job. Even recovery within an hour of entry, bodies are without clothes.
Rescuing ice fisherman is a large part of winter operations. In an average year, 22 rescues are performed but 19 fishermen were picked off the ice in one day some years back. Video shown at the presentation showed fisherman jumping over gaps in the ice to go out farther and a couple with their dog fishing from their car...6 miles out on the ice! Captain Caffery ended his talk with noting that their unit owes its success through teamwork that starts at the top with Sheriff Tim Howard.
The second presentation was by Captain Greg Savage, head of the Special Services Division that includes the Bomb Squad, Crisis Negotiation Unit, Marine Unit, Snowmobile / ATV Unit, SWAT Team, Underwater Recovery Team and Weapons and Ordnance Unit. Homeland Security funds provided training for the SWAT team as Type II. The Type II SWAT Operator’s Course is the most comprehensive SWAT program ever to be offered to state and local agencies. The 15 member team includes four snipers trained by the FBI. All team members are certified in rappelling and fast roping, a technique for descending a thick rope, which we saw demonstrated. The Bear Cat armored vehicle was on display along with the SWAT team truck and the equipment it contains. The Erie County Sheriff's Office is really something to be proud of.
Deputy Soluri Receives Commendation - October 2013
Sheriff Tim Howard and Deputy Christopher SoluriCity of Buffalo - October 3, 2013...Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard gave Deputy Christopher Soluri - New York State's Certificate of Exceptional Valor - for his exemplary action last year on Grand Island in which an armed despondent threatened to kill himself and others. Deputy Soluri, who resides on Grand Island, distinguished himself through his actions by performing the courageous act of negotiating with a mentally unstable suspect with a knife while in close proximity to the suspect with little room to maneuver or retreat. While knowing the risk he faced, Deputy Soluri took aggressive, timely action protecting the lives of the suspect's girlfriend, their baby and the suspect himself. It is the mission of the Sheriff's Office to preserve public safety to all persons, even those that put us in harm's way. Congratulations Deputy Soluri!
It’s that time of year - October - December - the peak period for deer-vehicle collisions. The high incidence of deer-vehicle collisions corresponds to the peak of the annual deer breeding cycle when deer are more active and less cautious in their movements. According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, nearly two- thirds of these collisions happen during this three month period with most of the accidents occurring between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.
Message from Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard - September 2013
Deer are herd animals; they travel together. If you see one by or in the roadway, slow down and be prepared to stop as more than likely there are others nearby. If startled by the sounds or lights of a vehicle, or another threat, deer will bolt from the perceived danger so be ready for erratic behavior. At night and at times of limited visibility, when there is no other traffic, drive with your high beams on as this will illuminate the eyes of deer approaching or of those already in the roadway. When driving at a normal speed and you are surprised by a deer don’t swerve your vehicle to avoid striking it. Reactive, evasive moves can result in a loss of vehicle control. It is generally better to hit the deer then to run into an oncoming vehicle or a fixed object like a tree. New York State Environmental Conservation Law allows motorists who hit and kill deer with their vehicles to keep the carcass. However, a special permit (car/deer tag) must be obtained from the investigating officer at the scene of the accident before a carcass may be removed.
Car/Deer Crash Facts:
Please be safe.
Kevin Hajnos Promoted - August 2013
Sheriff Howard and Sergeant HajnosErie County Sheriff Tim Howard congratulating Grand Island resident Kevin Hajnos on his recent promotion to the rank of Sergeant. Hajnos is a 5 year veteran of the Erie County Sheriff's Office and is assigned to the Jail Management Division.
With your college kids or grandkids situated back on their campuses, or even if they are studying locally, now is a good time to remind you to inquire about the Clery Act at the school in which your loved one is attending. This is a federal mandate requiring all institutions of higher education (IHEs) that participate in the federal student financial aid program to disclose information about crime on their campuses and in the surrounding communities.
Message from Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard - August 2013
The Clery Act, formerly known as the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act, was signed in 1990. It is named after 19 year old Jeanne Clery who was raped and murdered in her University residence hall in 1986.Clery’s parents lobbied Congress to enact the law when they discovered students at their daughter’s college hadn’t been notified about 38 violent crimes that had occurred on campus in the three years prior to Clery’s murder.
Compliance with the Clery Act
The Clery Act requires IHEs to provide timely warnings of crimes that represent a threat to the safety of students or employees and to make their campus security policies available to the public.
The act also requires IHEs to collect, report, and disseminate crime data to everyone on campus and to the Department of Education annually. To be in full compliance with the law, IHE’s must do the following:
1. Publish and distribute an Annual Campus Security Report to current and prospective students and employees by October 1, of each year. The report must provide crime statistics for the past three years, detail campus and community policies about safety and security measures, describe campus crime prevention programs, and list procedures to be followed in the investigation and prosecution of all alleged sex offenses.
2. Provide students and employees with timely warnings of crimes that represent a threat to their safety. IHE police or security departments must also keep a detailed public crime log of all crimes reported to them in the past 60 days. Crime logs must be kept for seven years and logs older than 60 days must be made available within two business days upon request.
3. Keep the past three years of crime statistics detailing crimes that have occurred: on campus; in IHE residential facilities; in public areas on or near campus; and in certain non-campus buildings, such as fraternities/sororities and remote classrooms. Schools must also report liquor and drug law violations and illegal weapons possession if they result in a disciplinary referral or arrest.
I urge you to take a look at this report next month at your child’s college. (The log can be accessed during business hours at the school) Knowledge is power. The more we can educate our young adults about their surroundings, the better off, and hopefully safer, they are.
August 20, 2013- Grand Island, NY Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reports the arrest of a Grand Island woman for Driving While Intoxicated. While on patrol in District 1, Deputy Jason Clark of the Sheriff's Grand Island sub-station conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle for traffic infractions. His investigation resulted in the arrest of Lori A. Smith, age 40 of Grand Island for Driving While Intoxicated. Ms. Smith did submit to a breath test with results of 0.11% BAC. Ms. Smith was released on uniform traffic tickets to a sober 3rd party and is scheduled to return to the Town of Grand Island Court at a later date. This the 212th DWI arrest of 2013 for the Erie County Sheriff's Office.
DWI Arrest - August 2013
The Erie County fair is steeped in tradition and so too is the presence of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office at the fair. This year, just like last, our building will be located at the end of 42nd street- near the Fireman’s building. We have a lot going on this fair season – including a special display on our site called the “Standing tall” 911 Memorial. This is a large, beautiful sculpture dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces and law enforcement who put their lives on the line to help keep us safe. You’ll want to see and remember this so bring your cameras!
Message from Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard - August 2013
We also have several family friendly demonstrations lined up at either the Family Entertainment Complex or the Pine Grove stage (formerly the North Pole Village). Eddie the Eagle will make a couple of appearances teaching children about safe and responsible gun ownership. Free gun safety locks will be given out while supplies last. Also for the kids will be Hug –a- Tree demonstrations. These demos will be put on by members of certified search and rescue teams to help teach children what to do should they become lost in the woods. We will also have certified car safety technicians on site several days to assist new parents on the basics of correct car seat selection and proper use. And of course we will be issuing Operation Safe Child ID cards every day between the hours of 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM.
Carl Russo from 97 Rock makes a return appearance. He will be broadcasting live from our porch from 3:00 - 7:00 PM. Inside our building we will have plenty of information on the Yellow Dot program; ATV safety and requirements; snowmobile safety and requirements; boating safety and requirements. Information will also be available on the criteria to become a deputy sheriff. I’ll be on hand several days to meet and greet fair patrons and to answer any questions you may have about the Sheriff’s Office or any other law enforcement matter. I’m looking forward to this year’s fair and I hope you are too. See you there! Fair Schedule
July 24, 2013- Grand Island, NY Sheriff Tim Howard reports the arrest of two Grand Island residents after receiving numerous complaints from residents about suspected narcotics trafficking and usage. On July 24th, 2013, at approximately 8:45PM, Andrew M. Cerrillo 22, of Grand Island Blvd. Grand Island, was arrested and charged with unlawfully possession of marijuana after the vehicle he was operating was stopped pursuant to a narcotics investigation.
Shortly after the traffic arrest, at approximately 10:15PM, the Sheriff's Office Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant signed by Grand Island Town Justice Mark Frentzel at a Schwegler Road address. A 17 year old minor, residing at this address, was arrested and charged with 4 drug misdemeanors and a violation; Criminal possession of a controlled substance, 2 counts of criminal use of drug paraphernalia, Criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument and unlawfull possession of marijuana. Both defendants are scheduled to appear in Grand Island Town Court.
Two Arrested For Narcotics - July 2013
The Erie County Sheriff’s Office responded to a reported Jet Ski accident in the Niagara River just south of Buckhorn State Park in the Town of Grand Island at approximately 6:30 pm on Monday, July 15th. Two 16 year old males were each operating jet ski’s when the operator of one jet ski was ejected from his watercraft after turning quickly causing the second jet ski to strike the other. The ejected operator was assisted by a Good Samaritan until the Grand Island Fire Marine Unit arrived on the scene. Medical personnel immobilized the victim who was then transported to the Erie County Medical Center with apparent minor injuries. The US Coast Guard was also on scene.
Jet Ski Accident - July 2013
Independence Day Celebrations will begin soon and so too will the use of illegal fireworks. Please remember, that possession of fireworks is illegal in New York State. (New York is one of five states in the country to prohibit their use) Some citizens have noticed ads for fireworks in their weekly papers enticing them to legally purchase fireworks over the Pennsylvania State line. It is not illegal to advertise in this manner, or to purchase them in Pennsylvania, but it is illegal to bring fireworks over the state border. Also, the Internet is playing a role in purchasing fireworks. The use of mail-order, “Make Your Own Fireworks Kits” and components is enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine. Please monitor and supervise what your children are ordering online.
Message from Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard - July 2013
First and foremost the safest way to prevent fireworks related injuries is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals. Not only do they know what they are doing and dealing with, but they carry insurance should anyone get hurt. Check your local paper to determine times and dates of fireworks shows. They are free and much safer. As an aside, never, ever, allow young children to play with fireworks under any circumstances, particularly sparklers as they are very dangerous; they burn at a very high temperature (1,200 degrees F) and can easily ignite clothing. You wouldn’t give your child matches to play so why would you give them fireworks? Children can’t possibly understand the dangers involved and cannot act appropriately in case of emergency. There really is no totally safe way for the average consumer to use fireworks. Even when people think they are being careful, the lack of quality control in these products can vary greatly and lead to disaster. It only takes a second to create a lifetime of tragedy. Please be careful! Happy Independence Day!
It is that time of year when area high schools students will be attending prom and or graduation parties. I would like to take this opportunity to caution everyone, particularly adults who will be hosting graduation parties, about alcohol consumption by minors.
In New York State is is illegal to host or allow teen drinking parties in your home. It is illegal for persons less than 21 years of age to possess an alcoholic beverage; and just about everything and everyone associated with alcohol violations are subject to civil liability.
As a parent, you cannot give alcohol to your teen’s friends under the age of 21 under any circumstances, even in your own home and even with their parents’ permission. You cannot knowingly allow a person under 21, other than your own child, to remain in your home or on your property while consuming or possessing alcohol. If you choose to break the law: You could face jail time and or a severe fine at the discretion of the judge; others can sue you if you give alcohol to anyone under 21 and they in turn hurt someone, hurt themselves or damage property.
Message from Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard - June 2013
Please set a good example and refuse to supply alcohol to anyone under 21; and set the ground rules for grad and prom parties. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office takes underage drinking very seriously.
If your teen is having a party: Do not send e-mail invitations which can be forwarded to a large group of people; put your phone number on the invitation and welcome calls from parents; make it clear that alcohol, drugs, and tobacco are prohibited; set a start and end time for the party.
If your child is attending a party: Know where your child will be. Call the parents in charge to verify the location and to ensure there will be supervision. Make sure alcohol will not be served or allowed at the party. You may want to ask them how they plan to handle the situation if a teen shows up with alcohol or has been drinking. Set a curfew for your child to return home and have them check in with you when they get home. And finally, assure your child that they can call you to be picked up whenever needed and that they should never get in a car with a driver who has been drinking or using drugs.
If you know of underage drinking going on, please do not hesitate to call the Tipline @ 1-800-851-1932. It is manned 24 hours a day and is anonymous.
Earlier this month during the celebration of Armed Forces week in downtown Buffalo, I met and chatted with a 90 year old veteran. He proudly wore his decorated uniform while telling me about the tours he served in Europe. During our conversation I reflected on how I was simultaneously both happy and a slight bit melancholy. I was happy because I was able to engage with “living’ history by talking to this war hero and learning about all he had been through. Yet I knew his time on this earth like so many others of the “Greatest Generation” was slowly dwindling as it has been estimated that between 700 and 1,000 U.S. WW II veterans die each day.
Message from Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard - May 2013
With the upcoming Memorial Day weekend soon upon us, I am encouraging everyone to reflect on why we observe this solemn day. It truly is a day to honor those bold patriots who have risen in defense of this great country. Unfortunately, traditional observances of Memorial Day have diminished over the years. Many people have forgotten the true meaning and tradition of this great day and see it as yet another “store sale” day to buy tangible items. But really, this holiday represents something utterly intangible; the suffering our brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers endured and continue to endure while protecting our country. Many times their youthfulness was or is never allowed to grow old and raise families. That’s quite a price to pay- not to live another day.
Please remember this Memorial Day the fallen who have given so much so that we can live free today; and don’t miss a chance to thank a hero as you may not get another. Freedom does indeed have a price that the protected will never know. May God bless and keep close those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and may God bless these United States of America!
In my 40 plus year long career in law enforcement, I can’t remember a time when some segments of society had it more backwards, particularly when it comes to inmate issues. Jails are supposed to be a deterrent, right? There aren’t many things more important than having our freedom taken away. Criminals should be treated humanely. But somewhere along the way, society - particularly New York State, has crossed the line and began giving prisoners more perks/entitlements than our senior citizens; hard- working law-abiding citizens; and self-sacrificing veterans.
Message from Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard - May 2013
Recently state legislation was introduced to require inmates to pay a $7.00 co-pay for any medical or dental appointment that they made. Indigent prisoners would be exempt; and no prisoner would ever have to pay for a psychiatric visit. This co-pay would come from the prisoner’s commissary fund (A fund that each inmate has-in which family members contribute to, or in which inmates’ earnings are posted to – as sometimes inmates earn a small stipend doing jobs while incarcerated). The inmates can then purchase goodies or treats from a commissary such as Slim Jims, candy bars, pretzels, etc. (I think if you have enough money for candy then you should save some for the dentist.) The whole idea behind this legislation is to cut down on the frivolous visits inmates make to receive unnecessary or unwarranted medical care. Over the past two years combined, Erie County taxpayers have doled out approximately twenty million dollars in medical/dental care for inmates. That’s a lot of taxpayer money.
Why shouldn’t inmates have to pay a small co pay for their care? The average inmate in Erie County has approximately $50.00 in their commissary account. If they have the money to spend on goodies, then they should have the money to spend towards their health care, right? I don’t know of many law abiding citizens who don't spend some type of out of pocket money on their own health or dental care. I will never understand why inmates are treated better than our revered senior citizens. Or why they are treated better than people who go to work every day or go to school and are conscientiously working and sacrificing to improve their lots in life. Why should these law abiding citizens also be paying the entire cost for those that have no respect for others and who engage in criminal activity?
About four years ago a senior citizen asked me “what was the lowest level of crime he could commit in order to be sent to jail?” I thought he was kidding. But he told me he was” half-serious” because he said if he went to jail for 30 days he could get eyeglasses and a new hearing aid for free; items his insurance company didn’t cover. I don’t know whether this proposed legislation will ever get passed here in our state. But I do know this: Whoever said “crime doesn’t’ pay” sure didn’t live and work in New York State.
Contact your Assemblyman, John Ceretto at his web page.