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Giambra Pushes Merger of Sheriff's and Buffalo Police

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – A merger of the Erie County Sheriff's and Buffalo Police Departments could be one result of the city's financial crisis.

Erie County Executive Joel Giambra says he and Mayor Anthony Masiello have been exploring the idea of a potential police merger for some time. Masiello's budget unveiled Wednesday called for the layoff of 93 Buffalo police officers.

To fill the gap, some have proposed that the county take over some city police services. But Giambra says baby steps aren't good enough. He says it's time for one giant step.

"The mayor and I have talked about this many, many times, and we're still continuing to discuss, and hopefully, in the very near future, we will announce such a study that I have been proposing for the last two years - looking at the merger of the entire Buffalo Plice Department with the Erie County Sheriff's Department," said Giambra. "That to me makes sense, and that's something that should be done, and hopefully, in the near future people will join with us in this call for major structural change in the way we deliver police services."

Giambra says an announcement will also be coming about greater county involvement in supporting cultural organizations.