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Village of Blasdell Police Department tackling several initiatives

BY: Steve Dlugosz | December 12, 2012

Keeping an active role in the community is an item Blasdell police are ensuring through several departmental initiatives and various upgrades, according to Police Lieutenant Joe Gramaglia.

It was stated by Gramaglia at last Wednesday’s (Dec. 5) Blasdell Village Board meeting that various matters are moving forward, including the remodeling of the police headquarters downstairs at village hall to accommodate expansion of the department’s detective division. The expansion will feature a newly installed detective office, a unit in which interviews can be held with members of the public who have information regarding a particular case.

In addition, the police lieutenant said, the department’s system of formulating computerized tickets is working through a few glitches to be used as an effective tool for village police.

Gramaglia noted that department funds listed as being unclaimed through an initiative of Stop DWI of Erie County will be used in related police action within Blasdell. Eight-hour patrol shifts taking place before, during and after Buffalo Bills home games are said to emphasize identifying intoxicated drivers. It was further stated by Gramaglia that in 2011, Blasdell police recorded 19 DWI arrests, including one felony incident. So far during 2012, the police lieutenant added, there have been 14 DWI arrests in the village, four times involving felony status.

Last Wednesday, the village board also approved by 5-0 vote to appoint Michael Fontana as a part-time police officer to the Blasdell Police Department. Fontana, a graduate of East Aurora High School, previously served as a SUNY police officer at Geneseo State College before joining the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority as an officer. It was noted that Fontana is Taser certified and police-bicycle trained. His addition, Gramaglia said, is a welcome one to the Blasdell Police Department.

“(Fontana) comes highly recommended to us,” said Gramaglia. “There was a need to bring another person on (to the department as an officer), and (adding Fontana) is a no-brainer.”

Fontanajoins the ranks of Blasdell Police, bringing the department’s total membership to 21.

It was also stated last Wednesday by village officials and Gramaglia that residents encountering individuals who are going door to door during the holiday season-or any time, for that matter- in an attempt to sell or similarly disseminate items must be aware that the seller must indicate having or possess a solicitor’s permit. If the selling individual does not have such a permit, thehomeowner/resident is encouraged to call Blasdell Police or village hall at 822-1921 and report a description of that person.

Also at the meeting, the village board voted 5-0 to approve the addition of Amy Kaplan to the rolls of the Blasdell Volunteer Fire Department. Blasdell Fire Chief John Welch stated that following the recent completion of necessary firefighter training by a few members, there are now 16 interior firefighters in the department. Welch added that for November, there were 42 calls directed to the department, 34 of which required EMS response and eight related to fire response. Twenty-seven of the 34 EMS calls involved further transportation of an individual at the scene.

Other meeting items included Trustee Rob Hefner stating that a coat and glove drive for the winter season will take place at King’s Ransom Thrift Shop, which is a new village business located at 3748 South Park Ave., from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 19.

It was noted that donations made to the thrift shop are needed for winter coats, scarves, hats, gloves, warm clothing and boots. Such items can be dropped off at the location from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. For pickup of items, individuals are encouraged to call 430-3014.

Hefner added that the recent village Christmas party was a tremendous success, attracting a large local crowd to the festivities that included hay rides, refreshments and Santa Claus listening to children’s holiday gift wishes. The Blasdell RecreationDepartment staff was also commended for their involvement in the activities.Individuals seeking to obtain pictures and copies of such items from the event can visit Forster’s Pharmacy, located at 3713 South Park Ave.

Additionally mentioned by Hefner was his statement of cleaning organizer Karen Pirowski doing a “great job” in providing effective services to the village.

Blasdell Mayor Michael Petrie reminded residents that the opening and use of the outdoorice rink at JFK Playground is contingent upon winter weather being cold enough to allow such activity.

The next meeting of the Blasdell Village Board will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at the village municipal building.

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