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Erie County sheriff says he hasn't been asked to take over Evans policing

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Amidst a major financial crisis, some in the Town of Evans are suggesting the municipality may save nearly half a million dollars by cutting its police department and having the Erie County Sheriff's Office assume control of public protection. The sheriff, though, says his office has not been approached nor will he try to force it upon the town.

The group Evans Taxpayers United has suggested, according to one published report, that the town might save approximately $470,000 in salaries by handing police responsibilities over to Erie County. The Sheriff's Office already handles primary police protection in 16 municipalities but Sheriff Timothy Howard said on Thursday morning that his office has not been approached about assuming control over safety in Evans.

"We have not been asked, nor have we otherwise made any formal proposals to the Town of Evans regarding providing law enforcement services there," Howard said. "There are persons suggesting the contrary. I assure you that's not the case."

Howard said it should be up to the people of the municipality, and not his department, to decide whether county law enforcers are needed. 

Last month, the Town of Evans borrowed one million dollars from Erie County after it found itself in such a deep cash crunch, it was unable to pay bills and meet payroll. Supervisor Mary Hosler has blamed fiscal management by previous elected officials for the crisis. 

Neither Hosler nor representatives of Evans Taxpayers United replied to WBFO's requests for comment by Thursday evening's deadline.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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