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Boys in Blue Blog Bodes Badly for Buffalo

Local blogger BuffaloGeek alerted us to an interesting new addition to our local blogosphere, called the Lefty Line (theleftyline.blogspot.com). No, it’s not another liberal shoutfest—instead it appears to be a sounding board for disgruntled Buffalo cops. The “posts” are blank, but the comments sections make for some interesting reading.

The hundreds of comments are nearly all wisely anonymous, but judging by the jargon and familiarity with police issues, they are almost certainly from Buffalo cops, with few exceptions. And boy, are they charmers. We’ll skip the typical racism and homophobia. What we find a little shocking is the brazen attitude with which these guys discuss utilizing the strategic neglect and harassment of Buffalo residents as a union negotiating tactic. A clear strategy emerges throughout the course of discussion, a plan to leave emergency calls unanswered while simultaneously hassling the general public and racking up overtime pay in court.

Just look at some of the comments, presented here as found, spelling and grammar errors intact:

“No one should volunteer to answer a call EVER. “Make them beg and when they do get it dispatched, the whole pltn should be out on that same call for hours. Late arrest will generate OT. Lets see what happens when no one can respond to a stabbing or a shooting. Let ADI take the body to the hosp with no crime scene preservered. Its going to be a hot summer, I say let the city politicians have what they want, for the citizens to fend for themself. Nothings free, especially police protection.”

“Plan on working 14 hr days, not ten. That late arrest and the court time it will generate will kill this fucking city. All of the LTs will be on board so getting the slip signed is easy. The media will go into a frenzy, the public will scream and cry and we will be rolling in the greenbacks and should never ever stop UNTIL we get what’s coming to us.....”

“A priority should be on arrests and staying out of service as much as possilbe. The 911 calls could back up to tim-buck two for all I care. Fuck it, dont do the job they want us to do, do the job that makes us money. Parking tickets make the city money, fuck it, dont write them. Summons makes us money in court time, write your balls off. When the department holds back the tickets, take the motorist to jail, its allowed. Every car stop should be a felony adventure. Pull those motherfuckers out and do what the Supreme court of the land says we can do......FRISK, visual eye search, warrent check ask for other cars to join. lock in your car stop by notifing radio what you have, when you find something of substance, the dispatch wont be able to call you away from the stop to answer calls. The dirty little secret the City hasent told the citizens is, there are not enough Cops to do the kind of Police work I just mentioned and answer calls for service. You cant do both kinds of work at the same time. The kind of work I am talking about should be done to keep crime down, but theres not enough cops. My suggestion is, just to do that kind of work that is going to benifit Us the Cops, and clean up the streets for the citizens. The down side is, 911 calls will go unanswered for days on end and overtime and court time will go through the roof almost immediatlly.”

Another officer agrees in spirit, but has a more pointed tactic in mind:

“If you think the billionare members of the out of control board give a shit if a car shows up for a call at any address but their own you are wrong. But when their employees are burdened w/ vt tickets & stops road blocks etc. and they are continuallly late for work or late for tea then the shit hits the fan as it did in Feb. Keep locking em up and writing them to the extreme and watch the free publicity and action. Start this weekend w/ chip and hertel and abbott rd and wherever you can. The control board mtg is tues so if a large stick is wielded this weekend and the entire summer it may hurt. The suburbanites won’t come if the DWI looms too.HIT THEM HARD!!”

The cops have a contract dispute with the control board, and everyone knows that. If they want to get tough, they should go on strike; that’s what unions were meant to do. More power to them, really—we’ve got no love for unelected plutocrats like Bob Wilmers. But harassing the citizens, who are just as powerless to influence the control board as the cops, is just a stupid, shitty move.

Who suffers from the parking crackdown, for instance? It isn’t rich suburbanites or union-busting CEOs. It’s people who live in the most parking-deficient neighborhoods on the West Side—students, artists, poor-to-middle class families, and BEAST staffers—exactly the people most likely to support a union. Cracking down on them is an idiotic tactic, and inevitably leads to bad blood between Buffalonians and the cops who purport to protect them.

But parking tickets are one thing. Intentionally neglecting 911 calls is entirely another. These guys are literally debating the effectiveness of letting people die as a contract negotiating tactic. That’s not just cold, it’s criminal. And, to put it mildly, we sincerely doubt that it would foster public support for the Police Union’s struggle.

Some of the comments at The Lefty Line are from decent cops who can see what a dumb idea this is, and are decidedly not in favor of terrorizing their own communities. It’s possible that the cops quoted here are just blowing off steam, or at least that they don’t represent a significant portion of the Department. But it will be easy enough to tell, in the coming months, whether these things are true.



Idiot Box by Matt Bors
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