Erie County Comptroller: Here’s what you’ll lose by defunding Sheriff’s Office

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Erie County Legislature debates how to spend millions in surplus money

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw is responding to calls across the country to defund police in the form of a report. Mychajliw submitted a report to the Erie County Legislature Tuesday, detailing the many functions of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office in the community.

“By defunding police, Legislators would choose criminals over cops.  They would effectively eliminate police protection for Erie County.  Now more than ever, this report helps Legislators understand the devastating consequences of approving something so radical here,” said Comptroller Mychajliw.  

In addition to maintaining and operating two jails in Erie County, the report shows the following provided by the Sheriff’s Office, including, but not limited to:

  • Provide 24-hour a day, seven days a week road patrol in seven districts, which includes Clarence, Grand Island, Springville, Elma, Alden, Colden and North Collins, as well as neighboring towns, protecting towns that do not have their own police force.
  • Respond to nearly 100,000 emergency calls for police assistance, including investigations of domestic violence, rape, burglary, gang related activity, narcotics, and motor vehicle accidents
  • Human/Sex trafficking unit 
  • Bomb and explosive device removal
  • DWI enforcement
  • Car crash investigations
  • Educational programs for inmates, including GED, literacy, job training and resume building programs
  • Warrant enforcement, including the arrest of “deadbeat dads” that do not pay child support
  • Arson investigators
  • Marine patrol of local waterways
  • Aerial patrol, including gorge/ravine rescues
  • Car seat safety checks 
  • K-9 Unit
  • Yellow Dot program to protect seniors
  • Security for Rath Building and County operated buildings
  • Traffic patrol outside New Era Field

“All of these Sheriff’s Office functions show just who would be harmed the most by defunding police departments,” said Mychajliw.  “The victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, those who are abused, fall into the trappings of drug abuse or whose lives are threatened.  That’s who the Legislature would ultimately hurt.  Not to mention the great community work that agencies like the Sheriff’s Office do to help build goodwill and trust in the community. “

Those in favor of the current movement to defund say it isn’t just about taking money away from the police.

National petitions are demanding that money be used instead for initiatives that directly serve communities similar to what was done in Camden New Jersey when its force moved to a community-oriented model in 2013.

For PDF of Mychajliw’s full report, click HERE

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Kelly Khatib is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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