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Friday, March 28, 2014 at 11:12 am

Batavia PD's emergency response team trains in house on West Main Street

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

Batavia PD's Emergency Response Team made use of a house on West Main Street headed for the wrecking ball for training this morning.

Assistant Chief of Police Rob Yaeger said the team practiced warrant execution, a barricade gunman scenario and hostage situations.

Even though houses may look the same on the outside, they're often different on the inside, so when a real former residence becomes available, Yaeger said, the department jumps on the opportunity to use it for training. Such buildings only become available once or twice a year.

"It's very useful," Yaeger said. "Usually we'll try at the fire training center or we'll try at other buildings, but nothing beats having the real deal, having an actual house that was used as a regular residence."

The house was made available for training -- first for the Fire Department -- by the owners of Castilone Chrysler, Steve Castilone and Greg Strauss. The dealership is expanding at its present location -- rather than moving out of the city -- and the houses at 310 and 312 W. Main St. are slated for demolition starting Tuesday.

Friday, March 21, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Batavia PD announces three new police officers

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department is proud to announce the addition of the following officers: Officer Peter Flanagan, Officer Eric Foels, Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Officers Flanagan, Foels and Cronmiller graduated from the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy on December 20, 2013. All three have just recently completed the intense Field Training Program at BPD.

Officer Flanagan is a United States Marine Corps veteran having served his country in Afghanistan, achieving the rank of Sergeant. Officer Flanagan is married with two children.

Officer Foels will be carrying on the family tradition as his family has been in law enforcement for the past 50 years. Officer Foels’ family members are current and retired members of the City of Tonawanda Police Department.

Officer Cronmiller is no stranger to law enforcement either, two of his 10 siblings serve in law enforcement, one as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agent and the other a police officer with the Town of Hamburg Police Department.

Officers Flanagan, Foels and Cronmiller are dedicated to making the City of Batavia a safer and more enjoyable place to live and work.

Photo (submitted): From left, Officer Stephen Cronmiller, Chief Shawn Heubusch, Officer Peter Flanagan, Officer Eric Foels.

Friday, March 7, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Batavia officer finds weather just warm enough for bike patrol

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

At 7 a.m., when Officer Kevin DeFelice came on duty, it was about 20 degrees, but the forecast was for sun, so DeFelice, the officer in Batavia PD assigned to bike patrol, decided it was a good day to hop on two wheels rather than toil behind one.

DeFelice spent his shift on the bike on a day where the high eventually hit 35 degrees.

With the sun out and the snow melting, it did feel like spring, even though the forecast makes tomorrow look more like a temporary reprieve rather than an end to winter. There's a chance of snow the following six days in the forecast, but no anticipation of the unrelenting, bitter cold that has been such a part of this winter.

DeFelice can get around the city pretty quickly on his bike. After the shot above, he rode out to East Avenue near Clinton to assist with a traffic stop on a vehicle that matched the description of a warrant suspect (turned out to not be the person police were looking for). 

Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Photo: Batavia PD supporting Men's Health Awareness Month by sporting mustaches

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

If you happen to spot a bit of facial hair on Batavia police officers this month, it's not a new grooming trend inspired by the beards of the Boston Red Sox.

Members of the department are growing mustaches this month because November is Men's Health Awareness Month.

Each officer who is participating made a minimum $20 donation to the cause and had to be clean shaven on Nov. 1. The donations will be sent to Genesee Cancer Assistance at the end of the month.

The officers are encouraging area residents to make a similar donation to GCA this month.

Pictured are Jason Iverson, Chris Camp, Frank Klimjack, Kevin DeFelice, John Kirbis, Chad Richards, Jim DeFreze, Eric Hill, Dan Coffey and Pat Corona.

Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 12:22 am

Officer Dibble going back to being Mr. Dibble

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

Eric Dibble enjoyed teaching science to high school students, but he was still drawn to a career in law enforcement even after getting his master's degree and earning multiple teaching credentials.

His attraction to law enforcement is not surprising. He comes from a law enforcement family -- his father is Gordon Dibble, the chief deputy in charge of road patrol for Genesee County.

When the younger Dibble took a job three years ago with the Batavia Police Department. It was the right decision for him at the time, he said, and he's glad he did it. 

Since then, though, he's become the father of two children and what was acceptable before he had a family is less so now.

As a young cop on the force, he's still working a lot of nights. The hours can be unpredictable. Then there is what Dibble describes as "the heaviness" of not knowing what comes next.

"It's a different world for me now than when I got hired," Dibble said.

He also still had those degrees and credentials to fall back on.

Those factors, more than anything else, led him to reconsider his career choice.

Friday was Dibble's last evening shift in Batavia blue. At the end of the night, he turned in his badge and put away his service pistol for the last time.

This fall, Officer Dibble becomes Mr. Dibble again. He will be teaching science at a school in Monroe County.

"I realized I just can't keep doing this forever," Dibble said. "It's a great job, but it wears kind of heavy on my mind. There's some stress factors that are unique to the job and the career. I personally am looking to ease my mind of those kind of things and get back to a normal lifestyle."

Chief Shawn Heubusch said Dibble will be missed.

"He's a fine young officer," Heubusch said. "It has been a pleasure to know Eric over the time I've been here. I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors."

If you've never met Eric Dibble, he's an instantly likable man with an obviously warm spirit and kind heart. He's also got enough backbone to be firm when he needs to be.

In other words, he's what any professional police department should want in a young officer.

And being a police officer, Dibble said, is a great career. He just decided it would be better for him and his family if earned his living in a classroom rather than on city streets.

"There was no traumatizing or sobering moment (that changed his mind)," Dibble said. "It was just a gradual, growing general heaviness, if I can explain it that way, of being in uniform, of being on call, of not knowing what the next thing is going to be. Is it going to be nothing? Is it going to be something? Is it going to be the biggest thing that ever happened in Batavia? The biggest thing that ever happened in New York State? I guess it's just one of those things where it's the not knowing that for me was heavy.

"Everybody's different," he added. "Some people thrive off that, some people don't think about it, but for me is was quite a thing, I guess."

The fact that Dibble decided to go back to teaching doesn't mean other young people shouldn't consider a career in law enforcement he said. If it's something you think you can be passionate about, he said, you should do it, but do it while you're young. His advice, get your career established before you have a family.

"This is the type of career that is a calling almost, where if you have the desire to do it, you probably should," Dibble said. "You probably should because a lot of people do and they love it and they stay with it and it's a great career.

If you're going to become a police officer, he said, you should be attracted to the career for the right reasons.

"You've got to be somebody with a good set of morals," Dibble said. "You've got to be principled and really believe in the package of a good police officer and a good police department, which should always be helping the community.

"You're a role model," he added. "You've got to care about society and want to try and make it better. You can't just do it for the action or what you see on TV, because a lot of what police do is hugely distorted on television. Those are the wrong reasons."

Perhaps not surprisingly, those are the same qualities Dibble thinks make for a good teacher.

"I've always felt strongly about the positive influence a teacher can have on a student," Dibble said. "I think I appreciate more what bad pathways people can take from school moving forward. I feel more how impressionable kids are at that age. It makes me feel that the responsibility is even greater for people who work with kids at that age."

Even in just three years, Dibble has seen a lot of changes in the police department. The most positive change he's seen, he said, is the increased emphasis on community policing.

The concept of community policing has been around for several decades. The philosophy puts an emphasis on interaction between cops on the beat and the people of the community. The idea is to get officers from out behind the wheel of their cars and only responding to calls, to walking patrols, talking to people and developing relationships.

Dibble said community policing not only gives citizens a greater sense of security, but it helps the officer, too.

"If you just handle calls and you come back to the station, it's kind of us and the world outside who call on us for help," Dibble said. "Then it's always kind of depressing, or always an issue, but if you get out in the community it does a lot of good for officers. They get a chance to mix and have these positive interactions, which offsets any negative interactions you might have."

As Dibble returns to teaching, he goes back to the classroom with a whole new set of experiences. Not too many teachers have been in the homes of arguing parents and teens, or seen firsthand the direct result of young lives that have gone off track. What Dibble has seen while on patrol in Batavia will certainly carry over into his interactions with students, he said.

"It's going to make me think about the whole package when I have my student in front of me," Dibble said. "What's going on at home, in his personal life and how is that affecting what I'm seeing in the classroom? It definitely gives me an understanding of the big picture and how it affects what a student is going through in school."

Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Batavia PD promotes Jason Davis to sergeant

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

Press release:

The City of Batavia is proud to announce the promotion of Officer Jason Davis to the rank of Sergeant in the City’s Police Department effective April 21. Officer Davis will fill the Sergeant’s position created on April 1, 2013 by City Council resolution.

Officer Davis joined the Batavia Department in 1999 after having served as a Police Officer in the Town of Ellicottville and Deputy Sheriff for the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Department. During his career with BPD Officer Davis has served as a Field Training Officer, has been a member of the Department’s Emergency Response Team, served as the Department’s Drug Recognition Expert and recently became a NYS Certified Instructor.

Officer Davis will provide veteran leadership and skill to the Department. Officer Davis lives in the Town of Batavia, is married with four children. When not on the job Officer Davis enjoys being a Cub Master for Cub Scout Pack 650.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Batavia PD announces three promotions

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

Press release:

The City of Batavia is proud to make the announcement of the following promotions and appointment.

Sgt. Robb Yaeger, a 25-year veteran of the Police Department, is being appointed effective April 7 to fill the position of assistant chief of Police. City Council approved the creation of the position of assistant chief of police as part of the 2013/14 budget.

Sgt. Yaeger began his career in law enforcement in 1986 in the position of corrections officer assigned to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office Jail. Prior to this he had served for two years as an animal control officer for Genesee County. In 1988 Sgt. Yaeger was hired by the City of Batavia as a police officer for the City of Batavia. During his time as a police officer Robb served as a field training officer, was assigned to the Neighborhood Enforcement Team, was assigned to the Genesee County Drug Task Force, was a member of the Batavia Police Department’s Crash Management Team and joined the Emergency Response Team.

In 2003 Robb was promoted to the rank of sergeant. He became the Field Training Program’s coordinator, having helped mentor and train countless new police officers. Sgt. Yaeger also served as the department’s quartermaster, fleet maintenance officer, a certified Taser instructor, the department’s STOP-DWI coordinator as well as coordinating several grants awarded to the police department. All this while operating as a uniformed supervisor on various assigned shifts. Sgt. Yaeger is a past recipient of the Batavia Police Officer of Year and was also honored with the Distinguished Public Service Award.

Robb has demonstrated his dedication to serving the City of Batavia, its residents and commuters, all the while holding himself to the highest of standards. Robb is married with three children and lives in the Town of Batavia.

Robb's duties will include, but not be limited to, acting in the capacity of the chief of police when necessary, overseeing and directing the duties and functions of the Road Patrol section of the police department, as well as assisting the chief of police with day-to-day managerial functions of the department.

Officer Chris Camp was promoted to sergeant in February following the retirements of Lt. James Henning and Sgt. John Peck.

Chris is a dedicated police professional, having been assigned to Road Patrol since being hired in 2006. Chris has consistently demonstrated a high drive and zest for police work. Sgt. Camp became a field training officer in 2009, is a certified police instructor, firearms instructor and member of the police department’s Emergency Response Team. He is also a past recipient of the Kiwanis Officer of the Year.

Officer Eric Bolles is to be promoted on April 7 to fill the Sergeant position vacated by the appointment of Assistant Chief Robb Yaeger.

Officer Bolles joined the police department in 2006 after having worked in the private sector. Eric is a former member of the Air Force, having supervised several lower ranking members of his unit. Officer Bolles is also a field training officer, having mentored several new officers.Officer Bolles’ private sector and military leadership will be beneficial to the police department moving forward.

Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 8:04 am

A cake for Lt. Steele on his retirement from Batavia PD

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

Emergency dispatchers helped Lt. Greg Steele celebrate his retirement from the Batavia Police Department overnight with a cake.

Submitted photo.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 11:46 am

Lt. Jankowski says he couldn't have stepped down to sergeant, likely to retire

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

Lt. Eugene Jankowski is coming to grips with the fact that his 34-year career with Batavia PD is probably drawing to a close.

He hasn't officially announced his retirement yet, but that's probably what he will do before his job as a lieutenant is eliminated April 1 as part of department restructuring.

"I'm glad I was given the opportunity to serve for 34 years," Jankowski said. "It's been good for me. I love what I do and I hate to leave it. It's not about the money. It's never been about the money, but now's the time to find another worthy cause. I'm still young enough to go out and find another worthy cause."

Jankowski disputed a report coming out of Monday's city council meeting that he, along with Lt. Jim Henning and Lt. Greg Steel were offered a chance to stay with the department if they would each accept a demotion to sergeant and that all three turned it down.

None of them, according to Jankowski, has reached a final decision yet.

Henning and Steele are off duty at the time of this story posting so we can't reach them for comment.

For Jankowski, becoming a sergeant isn't even an option. If he accepted a demotion, it would be to patrol officer.

Under civil service law, when a job/rank is eliminated, the employee is offered the job he or she held prior to promotion. For Jankowski, that was patrol officer, not sergeant.

"If it were a sergeant's position, I might consider it," Jankowski said.

City Manager Jason Molino said he wouldn't discuss with a reporter personnel issues and what may or may not have been communicated between city supervisors and the lieutenants.

According to Jankowski, the lieutenants were told they would not be considered for the new deputy chief position.

"We don't know why," Jankowski said. "He didn't give us a reason. He said we won't put anybody in the deputy chief position until you're long out of here."

Molino said that once the position is created, probably after the budget is approved in February, any qualified personnel -- including the lieutenants -- in the department could apply for the job.

If they retire before the job is created, then they won't be eligible for the position.

The three lieutenant positions will be reallocated, creating two new patrol positions and one sergeant's positions.

"The plan is, you're going to have more guys on the street than you have now," Molino said. "With more officers in the field, there's more contact with the community."

The deputy chief position, which will be non-union, will be an increase by one the number of sworn members of the department. 

The restructuring is expected to save the city $10,000 a year.

Jankowski said he doesn't understand why the city wants to eliminate all three lieutenant positions at once. Why not, Jankowski wondered, stagger the retirements over three years so those experienced supervisors would help mentor the new deputy police chief?

"Why would you eliminate 100 years of experience like that?" Jankowski said.

Police Chief Shawn Heubusch is proving a great asset to the department, Jankowski said.

"I like the chief," Jankowski said. "He's going to be great. I like him. He brings out the best in guys. I wish I could work with him longer."

Jankowski, a competitive shooter, isn't sure if he will stay in New York after he retires. He's concerned that gun ownership rules being changed by Albany politicians will make competitive shooting in the state all but impossible. Some ranges, he said, will likely shut down. Limits on magazine size and changes to rifle scopes are big concerns, he said, for competitive shooters.

The changes to the police department don't make him mad, Jankowski said, but the changes being considered in Albany certainly do.

Friday, January 4, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Officer Jamie Givens completes field training, assigned to day shift

post by Howard Owens in Batavia PD

From Batavia PD Chief Shawn Heubusch:

It is with great pleasure that the City of Batavia Police Department welcomes Officer Jamie Givens to its ranks.

Officer Givens joined the Batavia Police Department on March 1, 2012; she attended the Basic Police Academy at Monroe Community College’s Public Safety campus. While at the Basic Police Academy Officer Givens learned many aspects of Law Enforcement such as accident investigations, vehicle and traffic enforcement as well as handling emergency situations. Following her formal classroom education Officer Givens entered the Batavia Police Department’s Supervised Field Training program in early September of 2012.

During her time in in Field Training Officer Givens was exposed to normal police activity all the while being monitored and evaluated by experienced Field Training Officers. While in Supervised Field Training Officer Givens was able to test her knowledge and learn tactics from veteran Officers. Officer Givens received high praises for her knowledge and ability during her time spent in Supervised Field Training.

Officer Givens has successfully passed Supervised Field Training and will be assigned to the Day Platoon starting in early January 2013.

We ask everyone to join the Police Department in welcoming Officer Jamie Givens to the City of Batavia Police Department.

Photo: By Howard Owens, taken at the scene of today's motor-vehicle accident on Clinton Street.

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