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Long-awaited new police cars go to detectives

Mike Desmond

Buffalo has 15 new police cars on the street, although you might not notice them in their plain clothes.

Police have long had problems getting enough working cars from a strained city budget. This year, the department is getting newly leased cars slated to be on the street Thursday and will buy some cars from the capital budget.

The shortage of cars has meant more than one officer usually rode inside, potentially spreading coronavirus among officers. There are four diagnosed and 14 officers in quarantine. The department is fighting back with cleaning and hand sanitizer.

"Sanitizing all of our police buildings. Sanitizing all of our police vehicles. Disinfecting the buildings. Disinfecting the vehicles," said Mayor Byron Brown. "And all of our employees that are working in essential areas, we are sanitizing and disinfecting all of those buildings on a regular basis."

Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said the new cars will put some additional vehicles on the street.

"Times when there is overlaps and special details, we obviously double up officers as well as to make sure they can meet their call volume demand," Rinaldo said. "So the goal is with the arrival of these cars to put a few more cars into each patrol district, which will allow us to separate officers as a greater number moving forward."

You may not notice the new cars on the street because they will remain unmarked and assigned to detectives. In turn, the cars currently used by detective will be moved down to the five districts, since they have most of the gear and lights needed to become marked cars.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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