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Buffalo police "injured on duty" numbers down significantly

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The number of Buffalo police officers who are off work because they were injured on duty has dropped drastically.

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda says there are now just 19 members of the city police department who are home recovering from on-the-job injuries.  That's down from a high of 116 three years ago.  Derenda says the department has been pro-active in making sure those who suffer on the job injuries are returned to duty as soon as possible.

"We've put a system in place where they have to see a doctor to get the medical treatment they need -- MRIs -- whatever they need immediately to get back on the streets," Derenda said.

Another factor for the lower number, Derenda says, was the recent federal prosecution of former lieutenant Patrick O'Mara, who pleaded guilty to a wire fraud charge last month for abusing the department's sick leave system.  He says that could be a deterrent for others. 

Derenda says having a net of 100 more officers on the streets reduces the amount of money the department must spend on overtime.