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JULY 22 - JULY 30, 2014

Expanded Police Patrols Seen as Mayoral Stunt

By Anna M. Howard

July 22, 2014

This poor schmuck had a little marijuana on him. He is halted fast and arrested as police swarm neighborhood.

“Saturation patrols.”

Kind of sounds like a farmer inspecting his field after a rainfall.  But it’s not. 

It’s the latest in a virtual downpour of nationally encouraged law enforcement buzzwords designed to make a community feel warm and fuzzy and safe in their homes. 

Saturation patrols are what the city, state, federal government and county engaged in on the night of Friday, July 18, as law enforcement officers from the Niagara Falls Police Department, Sheriff’s Department, Border Patrol, State Police, and State Parks spread out in targeted areas of Niagara Falls.

The areas were: 18th street and Niagara Avenue, 19th street and Niagara Street and the Highland Deli Area.

The saturation operation appeared to result in three arrests for pot possession.

And someone who had an outstanding warrant connected with a domestic abuse matter was inadvertently stopped and consequently arrested when his record was checked.

Dangerous lady has her freedom stolen because she had a trifling amount of harmless marijuana on her person.

So what prompted the saturation?

Niagara Falls has recently experienced a rash of gunfire and a couple of drive-by shootings that could have easily resulted in fatalities, but fortunately did not. 

Mayor Dyster told the Niagara Gazette, “We call our region Western New York, but that doesn’t mean the Wild West. We sometimes need to take dramatic action to address this.”

And that is precisely the problem, Mr. Mayor: drama. Drama as in staged, as in set up, as in media photo-op and as in scripted.

There was Paul Dyster on television posed in front of an operational city map explaining how this latest effort would make a difference in reducing crime.

No, Mr. Mayor, it was all “optics,” to make you look like you are doing something about the city’s crime statistics. We aren’t going to debate  how you crunch your numbers because we talk to city residents who are crunched every week by crime.

The dramatic Mayor Dyster.

We take no issue with the men and women in law enforcement who put their lives on the line as part of earning a paycheck. In fact we feel sorry for them because we believe the city doesn’t need a “saturation” or another fancy-named operation that sounds like it’s part of the Pentagon’s Delta Force…instead we believe the city needs a new understanding of crime fighting.

The city is deeply troubled. The city is impoverished and aging. Unemployment is high and more than half the city is on some form of public assistance. The infrastructure is old and in need of repair. And you, Mr. Mayor, have spent city funds, state funds, federal funds and casino funds like there is no tomorrow. 

And you know what? For Niagara Falls there just may be no tomorrow if this waste and incompetence doesn’t end. 

We believe this operation saturation is a knee jerk response designed to make you look like you’re all about law, order and a safe city. Well, you’re re-election effort was recently announced and it doesn’t take much to draw a line from media stunts to your desire for a third term.

It’s easy enough to see that the bad exposure you’ve received over your curiously non-transparent trash and recycling program has caused you to shift into “panic mode” to salvage your job. 

We’d like to propose a special “op” of our own. We call it “Operation Save the City,” and it’s a call for all able-bodied potential mayor and council candidates to step forward and work hard to rescue Niagara Falls. 

It won’t take Navy SEALS and it won’t use state or federal dollars…it only requires good, dedicated, conscientious residents/voters all marching in one direction to pull this city back from the brink.

Pun intended.





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