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Friday, August 29, 2014 at 3:22 pm

City announces results of Thursday's NET detail

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD, crime

Press release:

August 29, 2014, Batavia, NY.  On August 28th the City of Batavia Police Department joined by the Genesee County Drug Task Force (The Genesee Drug Task Force is comprised of personnel from Batavia PD, Le Roy PD and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office), Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and Genesee County Probation participated in the fourth neighborhood enforcement detail this summer. The purpose of these details is to systematically approach known problem areas within the City and target criminal activity.

In total 10 law enforcement personnel from four different agencies were partnered in a focused enforcement details in seven separate locations. NET patrols included State Street, Washington Avenue, Jackson Street, Liberty Street, Swan Street and Sumner Avenue, Central Avenue, Pringle Avenue, Harvester Avenue and Clifton Avenue. The following are results of this year’s fourth detail:

• 52 data runs
• 12 vehicle/traffic stops
• 2 Traffic tickets issued
• 4 Penal Law Arrests
   -- Brasky, Alex P., age 23, unlawful possession of marijuana
   -- Blake, Ian J., age 27, unlawful possession of marijuana
   -- Scheuerlein, Jacob M., age 18, unlawful possession of marijuana
   -- McWethy, Randy S., age 44, criminal possession of hypodermic instrument
• 16 probation checks
• 1 probation violation

Neighborhood Enforcement Team (NET) details were outlined in the City’s Strategic Plan as part of the City’s Neighborhood Revitalization efforts. They include dedicated patrols for targeted enforcement with the goal of intercepting and interrupting the flow of illegal drugs, weapons and other contraband as well as locating and arresting wanted persons. All agencies involved expect to continue joint law enforcement efforts in the future. These details are not advertised prior to taking place and locations are selected based on criminal data, the presence of nuisance and illegal behavior and ongoing investigations. 

If you see criminal activity or know about a crime that has occurred please contact the Batavia Police Department at (585) 345-6350 or the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

Friday, July 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Previously reported police activity on Jackson Street turns out to be part of planned law enforcement detail

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD, crime

We now know that all the police activity on Jackson Street the evening of June 26 was more than just a response to an individual seen running behind backyards between Maple Street and Morton Avenue. It was part of law enforcement detail in the area aimed at identifying issues in the neighborhood. 

Earlier this week, the City of Batavia announced the results of the detail.

Police made contact with numerous individuals, some were on parole or probation.

The person seen running through yards was on parole, but not wanted, according to local law enforcement. He was released after none of the property owners who initially called about him wanted to file a trespass charge. Police are unsure why he decided to run and try to hide from law enforcement, if that is indeed what he was doing.

There have been complaints from citizens on The Batavian and on Facebook that they had their vehicles stopped for no or flimsy reasons, but Chief Shawn Heubusch said all traffic stops were made in accordance with guidelines related to probable cause. 

"Each traffic stop was conducted legally and with probable cause," Heubusch said in an e-mail response to our questions. "As for the probable cause for each I do not have that information. We do not generally keep track of that information unless an arrest is made (DWI for example)."

We asked about the probable cause for the 59 "data runs" reported in the press release.

Heubusch said, "As for the "data runs," these are done routinely when checking license plates or driver's license info, for any wanted-person info, or stolen vehicle, for example. New York State does not require probable cause to run a license plate attached to vehicle."

We asked for the arrest reports/press releases on each of the three arrests reported during the sweep and Heubusch said he would think those arrests would have been reported previously by each of the agencies making the arrests, but he would have to research that further.  

The detail is part of a plan announced earlier this year in keeping with the city's strategic plan, which calls for revitalizing neighborhoods. The effort is designed to identify problems and deal with them before they grow into something bigger.

Friday, May 23, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Police work has been 36 years of enjoyment for Det. Chuck Dudek

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

If you're going to spend 36 years in law enforcement, you better enjoy it, and Chuck Dudek says he's enjoyed every minute.

The Batavia police detective retired this week and put a cap on a career that started with episodes of "Adam-12" and included making arrests for everything from false imprisonment to homicide.

"It was right up to two weeks ago before I actually decided I was going to retire," Dudek said."That was unbelievably difficult to do. It surprised me in a way. It was difficult to say, 'I'm retiring,' because I've really enjoyed this career."

Like many in law enforcement who grew up in the 1970s, Dudek first found inspiration in the television series Adam-12, the Jack Webb-created 30-minute drama that for seven years tracked the lives and careers of two Los Angeles police officers. The show was so realistic that some departments around the country used it as a training video.

Dudek thought it would sound strange to admit the show influenced him, but he said from a very young age, he wanted to be a cop.

Born and raised in Attica, Dudek attended Notre Dame High School and then got his degree in criminal justice at Genesee Community College. He interned with Attica PD and in 1978 he was given a badge and a gun and told to patrol on his own. It would be another year before he could attend the police academy in Niagara County.

"I was on the road and on my own within the first week or two," Dudek said. "We were one-man patrols, so I didn't have anybody to ask for help or advice. I would go home with my penal law book and my V&T book and ask myself, 'if this happens, what do I do,?' and I would have to look through the books. For the first year, I was self-taught."

Dudek tends to recall his career as a series of cases.

Two cases in Attica stand out in his mind.

During his first year, he was on patrol and doing a routine security check on Attica's former bowling alley. Dudek happened to catch the glimpse of a shadow of somebody inside the building. He called for back-up, but in Attica, back-up is often minutes or longer away.

By the time another officer arrived, the would-be burglar had slipped out of the building. Inside, the officers found tools, vending machines cut open and a safe that the perpetrator was trying to get open when Dudek spotted him.

The money was recovered -- left at the scene -- but the criminal was never captured.

"I had a pretty good solve rate in Attica, but that was one of the few that we never figured out who it was," Dudek said.

The second case came near the end of his stint with Attica, just months before he was hired by Batavia PD.

It's the closest Dudek came, he said, to losing his life while on duty.

One day in March, two young men, brothers, from Warsaw came into town and Dudek said they were looking for trouble. They tried to pick fights with pool players in a couple of local bars and then went to a local pizzeria and started hassling the owner. He called the cops.

When Dudek arrived, he asked the two men for their IDs and as he tried to reach for one, the other brother cold-cocked him, hitting him in the head. That started a scuffle that spilled out into the street with the three men rolling around on the ground. When Dudek managed to stand up, both men started hitting him and he fell face first to the sidewalk, unconscious.

By the time he woke up, the two brothers were at least 30 yards down the road and he was missing his metal flashlight.

He chased after them, joined by a civilian. As he approached, one of the men stopped, turned and started coming at him with the flashlight. Dudek pulled his service revolver and trained it on the assailant.

"That's the closest I ever came to shooting anybody," Dudek said. "I had my revolver with the hammer pulled back to single action. They stopped, thought about it, threw down the flashlight and started running."

They ran past the fire hall, where some volunteers were listening to the call on their scanner. An off-duty police officer was there and the two men were apprehended.

"One of them said to me, 'I should have split your head open with the flashlight when I had the chance,' " Dudek remembered. "That was a close call."

Dudek and his wife, Kathy, both attended Notre Dame, but the didn't get to really know each other until college. They both attended GCC and worked at Tops Market, and that's where a bit of romance blossomed.

They were married while Dudek was an officer in Attica and they settled in Batavia.

On July 4, 1982, Dudek patrolled the City of Batavia for the first time.

In his first year with Batavia PD, Dudek helped save the lives of a South Pearl Road family when he answered a phone line.

The young patrol officer was in the city's dispatch office, but the on-duty dispatcher was tied up on another call, so when the 9-1-1 line rang, Dudek answered.

He heard ... silence.

In those days, there was no caller ID. There was no way to identify the location of the call, but it took both parties to hang up to disconnect the call.

Dudek stayed on the line and listened for a few minutes to silence.

Then he thought he could hear labored breathing. Finally, a man's voice came on the line. He was weak, but he was able to give his address.  

It was outside the city, so Dudek used the intercom system to contact Genesee County dispatchers.

The family had suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, but help got to them in the nick of time and they were saved.

"It felt good to be a piece in that chain that helped save them," Dudek said.

As a patrol officer, he also helped save a woman from an unknown, but surely horrible fate.

"In those days, if it was warm, I liked to patrol with the windows rolled down so I could hear things," Dudek said.

What he heard that early morning was a woman screaming.

He was in the shopping center just east of 400 Towers.

He found a man dragging a woman down the embankment near the 400 Towers' parking lot. He grabbed the man and the man said, "she's my girlfriend. She's just drunk."

The woman screamed, Dudek said, that she had never seen the man before in her life.

Dudek took the man into custody and back to the station for questioning. He was in fact a total stranger to the woman. He was charged with unlawful imprisonment and assault.

"I don't know what he had in mind for her, but it kind of makes you feel good when you're able to save somebody from something bad," Dudek said.

Working patrols in Attica for more than three years gave Dudek a taste for investigations. The department was too small to hire detectives, so the full-time patrol officers were akin to Malloy and Reed and Sherlock Holmes all rolled into one.

In 1988, there were two openings in the detective bureau and Dudek and Pat Corona (who also retired recently) both applied and both got the jobs.

Two years later, Dudek took a position with the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, which gave him a unique position in the history of the police department. He was the first whose service weapon was an automatic rather than a revolver. He was issued a Smith & Wesson .45.

A short time later, the city spent enough money to get about half of the department's patrol officers automatic pistols. The second purchase came when a drug case that Dudek helped crack netted local law enforcement more than $100,000 in seized drug money. A portion of the money went to Batavia PD and the department outfitted the rest of the officers with automatic pistols.

Right after leaving the task force, Dudek picked up a case that at first seemed pretty routine.

A woman had moved back to Oakfield from Kentucky with her boyfriend. Shortly after returning, she came home and found her boyfriend molesting her 12-year-old daughter.

The crime itself was only chargeable as a misdemeanor, but Dudek decided to interview the suspect further.

He ended up confessing to a series of more serious sexual assaults in Bowling Green, Ky. Dudek turned the case over to detectives there and the man was charged with multiple felonies.

"It was a pretty interesting case," Dudek said. "I ended up getting called down to Bowling Green to testify. He got convicted and was sentenced to 125 years in prison."

Dudek's proudest moment as a detective, though, came in helping to solve the the murder of Desean Gooch.

Gooch was killed in 2006.

The day after the murder, Dudek found that insurance broker Mike Stasko had a video camera on the back of his office building off Dellinger Avenue.  

The lens was partially covered by a spider web, the video quality was poor and it was shot at night, but it did show a sedan pulling up, four men getting out and going into an apartment. Soon after, the men run out and Gooch appears briefly, then they disappear. A second later, three of the men run from the apartment and try to get in the car, but it's locked and the driver hasn't arrived yet, so they run.

A copy of the video was sent to State Police investigators in Albany to see if they could enhance the quality. They couldn't.

Dudek contacted a guy who was a reported expert in something called "reverse projection," which was a technique used in other cases to help solve murders, but the process was expensive.

So while the DA's office and police department wrangled over how to pay for it, Dudek decided to see what he could do on his own.

Because one suspect was already in custody, police had the car and Dudek was able to use it to match against the video. He recorded it going to the same location and traveling the same path.

The suspect car, like the car in the video, had a busted fog light and one of the back-up lights was burned out. These were things not apparent in the video, except in the light patterns created.

Dudek, in speaking to a grand jury, was able to testify to a dozen matches between the seized suspect vehicle and the vehicle in the Stasko video.

"It's like a fingerprint," Dudek said. "You make the comparison and if you find seven or eight points that are the same and there's nothing different, that's a match."

The breakthrough helped lead to the arrest and conviction of Andrew Figgins for murder.

"I was named Officer of the Year by Kiwanis that year and I think it's mostly for that," Dudek said.

What will Dudek do in retirement? He's not sure yet. Travel at first. Keep biking (he rides at least a dozen miles four or five times a week) and read (favorite reading material is American history, but also some fiction -- like all of the Harry Potter books). He thinks he might like to be a private investigator or find a similar line of work.

"The most rewarding part of the job is being able to make a difference, to help people, to help victims," Dudek said. "That's what I'll miss besides the people I worked with. Being able to make a difference gives you a kind of purpose. That's something I've been very happy to do for 36 years."

Monday, May 12, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Officials staying tight-lipped on unintended weapons discharge by police officer

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

The unintended discharge of a police officer's weapon while at a residence on Grandview Terrace on April 22 was the subject of a closed door discussion by the Batavia City Council on Monday night, but officials emerged vowing to remain mum on the subject.

City Manager Jason Molino said he's not going to answer any more questions on the topic.

"We've given you all the reports," Molino said. "The chief made a statement. There are no injuries. I believe that to be the accurate statement. I'm not going to get into any more discussion about it."

About an hour before tonight's council meeting, City Clerk Heidi Parker e-mailed a PDF of the incident report from April 22 and said the redacted report constituted all of the publicly releasable information.

The incident report merely covers the alleged domestic call that prompted a police response. The narrative of the incident doesn't mention the weapon discharge at all.

On Friday, the city released the memos written by the five police officers on scene, but all of the narrative was redacted. Only the header information remained.

The city's position is that the weapon's discharge and possible minor injuries to a police officer are personnel matters and are not releasonable under Civil Service Law Section 50-a. 

There is no known prior incident of a Batavia police officer's weapon firing accidentally, so there's no precedent on what information the agency releases on the topic.

There have been police officers injured while on duty within the past few years, however, and the information has not been routinely kept from the public.

The domestic incident report had the names and other personal information redacted of the two people involved in the alleged domestic at Grandview Terrace.

The call began when a resident on Grandview Terrace reported that her ex-boyfriend was breaking items in the house. When police arrived, they found no evidence of a crime being committed and the ex-boyfriend was transported by a police officer to his mother's residence. The ex-girlfriend was advised to go to family court to get an order of protection. A shotgun owned by the ex-boyfriend was taken to a police storage locker for safe keeping.

City Councilman Eugene Jankowski, a former Batavia police officer and one-time acting chief of police, said he was directed not to comment on the personnel matter discussed in closed session, but that the issue was discussed fully.

"My questions were answered in the appropriate fashion and I have a full understanding of what happened," Jankowski said. 

Asked what the chief said about possible injuries, Jankowski answered, "The chief of police is claiming that there were no injuries. He's standing by that statement."


Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm

City denies request for public records related to unintended discharge of officer's firearm

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

The City of Batavia has denied The Batavian's request for the incident reports and possible video related to an unintended discharge of a weapon by a Batavia police officer last month.

From City Clerk Heidi Parker, the city's Freedom of Information Law Officer:

Your request for the incident report, witness statements and video, if any, has been denied after discussion with Bob Freeman from the Committee on Open Government based on NYS Civil Rights Law section 50-a since the incident in question is part of the officer’s training and evaluation process to continue employment with the City. The incident report specifically is denied based on unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

The Batavian has taken the next step in the process for demanding disclosure of public documents and filed an appeal with City Manager Jason Molino.

To say that routine incident reports are used in officer evaluation would essentially make all police documents related to incidents confidential. Even routine arrests would be hidden from the public. That's clearly not the intent of the legislature.

Numerous sources have provided information to The Batavian indicating that there is more to this incident than Chief Shawn Heubusch is disclosing. 

UPDATE Friday, 4:50 p.m.: We received a letter from Jason Molino informing The Batavian that he is partially granting our appeal.  The incident report will be released after personal information has been redacted. Up to five business days. He's denying the request for "Special Reports" and "Police Training Reports" (we didn't specifically request those documents, because we didn't know the names of the documents, but they could be generally construed as covered by our request).  Molino said those documents are expect from disclosure under Civil Service Law 50-a.  He provided copies of the complete redacted reports, with only the memo heads remaining.  Since these reports appear to have been generated in conjunction with an internal investigation, it's likely these documents would be considered "used to evaluate performance toward continued employment or promotion." 

Previously: Accidental weapon discharge leads to internal police investigation

Friday, May 2, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Investigation into police officer weapon discharge closed

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

While making further inquiries into the reported unintended discharge of a police officer firearm April 22, Chief Shawn Heubusch informed us that the investigation into the matter has been closed.


I will not be releasing any further details other than to say that the investigation has been completed and that there was no criminal negligence in this matter. The matter has been dealt with as a personnel issue.

The Batavian has issued a FOIL request to the city for the incident documents. The City has five days to acknowledge the request.

Previously: Accidental weapon discharge leads to internal police investigation

Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Accidental weapon discharge leads to internal police investigation

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

While on a check-the-welfare call April 22, the handgun of a Batavia police officer discharged unexpectedly, Chief Shawn Heubusch confirmed today.

The accidental discharged is being investigated, but the good news, the chief said, is nobody was hurt.

Officers responded to a check-the-welfare call in the Grandview Terrace complex and the chief said the officers were either concerned the person they were checking on was in danger or could be a danger to others.

An officer for this reason drew his or her weapon and when the officer went to return his weapon to its holster, the Glock .40 caliber fired.

The investigation so far has not ruled out a mistaken discharge or a gun malfunction. What has been ruled out is defect with the holster.

Heubusch confirmed that buttons on the sides of officers' jackets have been known to catch on the triggers of guns, but the officer in this case was not wearing a jacket and the officer had on no other clothing that might have caught on the trigger.

The officer's name is not being released. Outside of acknowledging that the incident took place, the case is being handled as a personnel matter, which requires confidentiality for the officer involved.

This is the first accidental discharge of a weapon in the department since Heubusch became chief and he said in "just asking the guys" nobody can remember a similar prior incident.

Asked if the officers were surprised when the weapon fired, he said the officers remained calm and in control. 

"They maintained their composure," Heubusch said. "If you think about their training, they're trained to maintain their composure in an actual live fire situation. They're trained to stick with the mission until the mission is accomplished and they did a great job of ensuring the scene was secured.

"Again," he added, "we're lucky nobody was injured and the floor suffered minimal damage."

Friday, April 25, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Head of BPD detective bureau closes out 33-year local law enforcement career

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD

The most satisfying part of his job, Det. Pat Corona said, was solving crimes for victims. The worst part -- "call ins." Getting called in to work on a case at two or three in the morning.

"When the phone rings, whatever time of the morning, whatever day of the week, it's because something bad happened," Corona said. "That's the most stressful part of the job."

Corona has basically been on 7/24 call since 1988.

That ends today. After 33 years in local law enforcement, Corona has turned in his badge and announced his retirement, primarily so he could take a job with the U.S. Marshal's Office providing court security in Rochester and Buffalo.

"I love this work," Corona said. "I still do. I love this community. The people have been so good to me. It's been a pleasure to serve them."

But it's time to move on, in part, Corona admitted, because it's clear he'll never be chief of the department, a job he said he did seek.

"They made a different decision and that's fine," Corona said. "That's not coming and this is a great opportunity."

Corona's roots go deep in Batavia, back to his grandparents. He was born here and went to high school in Alexander.

That's where he made his career decision.

"In high school, people tell you, 'you should decide what to do with your life' and law enforcement appeared interesting to me."

His parents both worked in corrections, which may have helped guide his decision.

After graduating, he enrolled in the Criminal Justice program at Genesee Community College and when those studies were successfully completed, he worked security at the college.

"That was a fun job," Corona said.

In 1983, the Sheriff's Office hired him to work in the jail (a job that would play a role six years later in helping him solve one of the most notorious cases he handled in his career). Two years later, he graduated from the Erie County Police Academy and was placed on road patrol as a deputy.

Corona said he's thankful for the great start to his career that the Sheriff's Office provide him, but in 1985, when he was offered a job with Batavia PD, he felt that police department -- at that time -- had a better retirement package. So he made the switch.

Three years later, he and Charles Dudek were both accepted into the detectives bureau at the same time.

"I've loved working with Chuck Dudek," Corona said. "He's been a great partner. He's a brilliant detective. I've learned a lot from him."

Corona had only been in the bureau for a year when he happened into one of the most dramatic murder cases that has ever been handled by Batavia PD.

Officer Ned Murray responded to a report of a man threatening to kill a baby.

Murray came upon Joe Schlum with a pillow over the baby's face and a knife pointed at the baby's heart. Murray tried to convince Schlum to lift up the pillow and drop the knife, but he wouldn't move. As the seconds ticked and the situation became more dire, Murray warned Schlum that he would shoot him if he had to. Just before Murray was about ready to pull the trigger, Schlum lifted the pillow. The baby was saved and Schlum was arrested.

Young Det. Corona was called in to interview Schlum.

Schlum had been a trustee in the jail during Corona's two years working as a guard.

"What benefited me on that case was my time working in the jail," Corona said. "I became very acquainted with Joe Schlum. We were on a first-name basis. I think perhaps, he trusted me."

During the interview, Schlum made a confession that at first seemed impossible to believe.

"I was asking him about the child abuse and he said, 'I've done something really bad,'" Corona said. "I was thinking to myself, 'Joe, what you've done is pretty bad,' but I said, 'What is it?' He said, 'well, I killed somebody.' "

There was no immediate unsolved murder case that came to his mind, so Corona was skeptical.

"OK, Joe, who'd you kill?"

"Pam Smith."

That's an obvious name to invent, Corona thought.

Schlum said he strangled her.

Corona called the dispatch desk and Sgt. Ed Doody answered the phone. Corona asked if there was a missing person report on a Pam Smith. Doody did a few minutes research. No missing person report. But there was a warrant more than two years old for a Pam Smith. She hadn't shown up for court on some Batavia Municipal Code violation.

Corona told Doody what Schlum had said and Doody kind of chuckled. He didn't believe Schlum's confession, either.

"He was skeptical," Corona said. "I was, too. The more we talked, the more it seemed like a possibility."

Corona decided to take Schlum over to the Friendly Motel on Ellicott Street (now Charles Court) where Schlum said he killed Smith and buried her under his room.

"He brought us into one room and he walked into the corner of the room and he stepped on the corner of the floor and he said no this is the wrong room," Corona said. "I thought, 'oh, no, he's being untruthful.' We tried the next room and then the next room and he stepped on the floor and I saw the floor go (he makes a gesture with his hand going up and down), you know it went 'er-ert' kind of went in. That's when I thought, 'Ok, there's something here.' "

Officers and detectives removed the floor boards and Schlum and Corona climbed into the crawl space and Schlum showed Corona where he had buried Smith's body.

Smith had never been reported missing. Her family thought she had taken off for Texas, Corona said.

The hotel's owner, Charlie Pero, had thought a couple of years earlier that the stink around one of the rooms was from a tenant's boa constrictor that had escaped.

Officer Murray had been a fraction of a second away from shooting and probably killing Schlum. If he had, nobody would have ever known that Smith had been murdered.

Schlum is serving 17 years to life in the Auburn State Prison. He's eligible for parole in August.

The story illustrates a truth Corona learned about being a detective. You never know what's going to happen next.

"Every time you think you've seen all the cases you think you could see, something new comes up," Corona said.

The murder of Desean Gooch was another big case for Corona. He said he's extremely proud of the work of the entire detective bureau in that case.

Gooch was a Dellinger Avenue resident in 2006 when he was murdered by other young men Corona said were gang members.

The big break came when detectives were able to connect Jessie Foreman with the crime. The police had enough evidence on Foreman that they could get him to talk.

"Gang members are not going to cooperate unless you present to them that you have the evidence to proceed with something to charge against them, then they want to cooperate so they can do the best they can for themselves," Corona said. "Until they see you have evidence against them, they won't talk."

Andrew Figgins was identified as the murderer and is now serving 25 years to life at Elmira State Prison. Foreman was also arrested, along with Rondell Breedlove and Thomas Banks (an associate who was charged with a prior robbery of Gooch).

Murder cases are dramatic, but they're all important Corona said. Solving a larceny can sometimes be as much work as bigger felony cases.

"It's always rewarding to solve the mystery, to bring a case to its conclusion, to bring somebody to justice," Corona said.

Solving crimes is really about helping victims, he said.

"Years ago, through Genesee Justice, Ed Minardo gave me some advice," Corona said. "The system should victim-oriented rather than offender-oriented. It's rewarding to help victims."

The biggest change Corona has seen in law enforcement in Batavia -- besides the introduction of DNA evidence, which didn't exist when Corona started his career -- is the first local gang-involved crimes.

There was the Gooch murder, followed by a shots fired case on Tracy Avenue in 2009, and of course the shots-fired cases this past fall on State Street and Jackson Street.

"I don't want to sound the alarm here, but there has been a few legitimate gang-related activities that have gone on," Corona said.

Corona said he's a very ambitious person and the awards and plaques in his office are markers of his dedication, from the certificates for completing all kinds of detective and police work training to the five or six medals he's won from running 5K races.

"I always had a skill for running, but in high school, I didn't put it to good use," Corona said. "My first official 5K was the Friends and Family 5K through ARC. That was in 2007. I was first for my age group. I thought, 'must be a pretty slow age group,' but I was hooked."

Soon, Corona's replacement will be announced by Chief Shawn Heubusch, and Corona has some advise for that rookie detective: "Work well with others. Develop good interdepartmental relationships. When you need help, know who to call. You can't be shy about asking for help. Work well with the public. That's who you're serving."

Clearly, words of advice that served Corona well in his own career.

Photo: Corona in his office at BPD headquarters with his original "Manual for Police."

Friday, March 28, 2014 at 11:12 am

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

post by Howard B. 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 B. 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.

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