Buffalo police department disbanding traffic unit due to pandemic

Patrol officers will continue to enforce traffic laws, but with no big public events on the horizon the dedicated traffic unit is being reassigned

By Maki Becker
The Buffalo News, N.Y.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Police Department will no longer have a traffic unit.

The traffic unit is being disbanded and the police officers assigned to the unit will be reassigned among the department's five patrol districts, Buffalo Police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said Tuesday.

The development was first reported by WIVB news.

The traffic unit is made up of just shy of 50 police officers. They handle traffic details, as well as public events such as festivals and parades.

With no major public events planned for the foreseeable future because of the pandemic, the Buffalo police department decided to redistribute those officers to the districts to bolster the ranks there, Rinaldo said.

Buffalo patrol officers will continue to enforce traffic laws, Rinaldo assured.

"The department appreciates the hard work of the men and women assigned to the traffic division. They did a great job. Sadly, special events and sporting events — things of that nature — are not anticipated to return any time soon," Rinaldo said.

"They'll be spread out through all five patrol districts," he said, with most going to Central District ( B District) in downtown Buffalo because that's where most large events tend to be held and are expected to be held once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

The traffic unit's station at 1345 Bailey Avenue may be used to house other units, Rinaldo said.

The move is expected to save money next year, but it is not yet known how much much, Rinaldo said.

Buffalo PBA president John Evans said he anticipates that the unit will be restored once public events start happening again.

(c)2020 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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