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State-of-the-art bicycle to be part of police patrols in Blasdell

Bicycle patrol in Blasdell will be given a big boost with the addition of a state-of-the-art bicycle to be utilized by the village’s police department.

The implementation of the bicycle, described at the May 1 village board meeting by Blasdell Police Lieutenant Joseph Gramaglia as a hugely upgraded model that cost $1,200, was visible immediately to village residents.

Gramaglia noted that the new bicycle was used on police bike patrol for the opening ofthe Blasdell Farmers Market, as the second annual event began on the morning ofMay 1. Patrol of the area around the Farmers Market, located in the parking lotof Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant on South Park Avenue, was said to be conducted in a more efficient manner with the new, “heavy duty” bicycle.

A pair of older model bicycles had previously been used by the Blasdell PoliceDepartment. Although described by Gramaglia as being serviceable at the time, one of the bicycles broke at a training course and was replaced by the new model. Accessories from the broken bike will be used to further enhance the new bike, which Gramaglia brought to Wednesday’s meeting to display for village officials and residents.

Additionally,Gramaglia stated, a Blasdell police officer who is assigned to village bike patrol will take part in a related bicycle school conducted through the University at Buffalo. Such a course had been previously assigned to a Blasdell Police officer who had held bike patrol last summer.

Gramagliathanked the Village Board for helping to supply budgeted funding for the newbicycle for the police department. The police lieutenant added, relatedly, thatofficers’ patrolling will thankfully incorporate steady watchfulness fromresidents regarding possible criminal activity with the summer season around the corner.

Burglaries at three residences on McGurk Avenue were simultaneously reported during the previous week. However, with witnesses’ statements and assistance from the Lackawanna Police Department, the perpetrator was apprehended shortly after thethefts. Gramaglia reminded those in attendance that the warmer summer time typically can bring a rise in property theft.

Other related action last Wednesday included the appointment of Paul Sobkowiak as a part-time police officer in the Blasdell Police Department, as the Village Board approved the item by a vote of 5-0. The move came simultaneously with the approved resignation of Officer Michael DeLong from the police department. Sobkowiak is noted as being a 15-year veteran of the Buffalo Police Department and an individual who Gramaglia described as being a tremendous asset to lawenforcement.

“He’s an exceptional employee and very experienced,” Gramaglia said of Sobkowiak. “I give him the highest recommendation.”

During public comment session, Orchard Avenue resident Joe Peters expressed to village officials his dismay with what he described as unreasonable speeding vehicles frequently traveling on Orchard and the surrounding area. Peters stated that neighborhood residents are well aware of the speeding drivers, adding that vehicles often travel as fast as 50 to 60 miles per hour on roads designated for much slower paced traveling.

“It never used to be this way,” Peters said of the stated speeding issues. “It’s bad. Iwish (drivers) would start to respect and realize that people on Orchard are trying to (take part in everyday life).”

Other meeting action included:

• Blasdell Volunteer Fire Chief John Welch announcing that the department responded to 29 related calls in April, including two fire instances.

• The announcement of streetscape project work conducted by the New York StateDepartment of Transportation at the corner of Lake and South Park avenues will take place by roughly June 1.

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