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Probation Department Outlines Impact of Budget Cuts

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The Erie County's Department of Probation says the safety of citizens could be in jeopardy if a red budget is adopted.

Probation Commissioner George Alexander says the red budget would force him to lay off 46 probation officers. He says this could put the public at risk.

Alexander displayed an array of weapons at Wednesday's budget hearings -- from a large samurai sword to pocket knifes. He says they're items that are confiscated everyday during probation checks.

"We find knives, assorted weapons, brass knuckles, all sorts of items that those on probation have in their possession that they should not," Alexander said. "It presents a danger to themselves and the public. It is certainly, in many instances, a violation of some of the conditions they have been released to under probation supervision."

Alexander says losing county funding would virtually shut down the Probation Department.