NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Protecting the public and catching people who break the law. That’s the goal for sheriff’s deputies in Niagara County. The work that goes on behind the scenes to make that happen is extensive.
A recent countywide warrant sweep netted more than a hundred arrests. Forty-three of those arrests were for felony crimes.
News 4 was the only news crew to tag along, going door to door with sheriff’s deputies.
“That’s your brother? You don’t know where he lives though?” asked a deputy, after we arrived at a Niagara Falls home, believed to be the residence of a wanted man.
“People lie to us. Sometimes we don’t always get the facts. He could be on the phone calling them right now saying that we’re looking for him for a warrant,” said Niagara County Undersheriff Michael Filicetti.
It’s frustrating, but it’s part of the job and it takes a lot of work behind closed doors to get officers on the streets, attempting to make arrests.
During the September warrant sweep, an effort conducted about once a year, three dispatchers sat closely at the sheriff’s office listening to the radio transactions from officers on the streets. They deal with every agency in the county.
“This whole objective is to catch the people who aren’t coming to court, who have charges against them. There’s a large percentage of the same people committing the bulk of the crime, said Filicetti.
This particular warrant sweep was conducted to track down people wanted on offenses like felony drug, DWI and family court to welfare fraud and even traffic tickets.
“There’s a lot of coordination going on. Everybody’s listening to what the other teams are doing. We have to watch each other’s backs,” said Filicetti.
Deputies use information, like addresses and phone numbers, from the county’s crime analysis center to point them in the right direction.
However, it doesn’t always lead to an arrest. The day we tagged along with the Sheriff’s Office, we were sent all over the city looking for a man wanted on felony drug charges.
“People maybe get a better understanding of how we go out to do search warrants or arrest warrants rather and it’s not as easy as you think it’s going to be. You have to look around you have to do a lot of leg work to figure out where people are, watch for their car, maybe get some information from some outside sources that are telling us where they are,” said Filicetti.
Filicetti feels the Sheriff’s Office has a great relationship with the community. He says it starts with the golden rule, treat others the way you want to be treated.
In his experience, and as we witnessed, it may have been Filicetti’s kindness which got a man who lived at the first residence we visited, to call his brother and let him know the sheriff’s office was looking for him.
“He may or may not have been telling me the truth. He may have withheld information but I didn’t treat him any differently than I would treat anyone else, because that’s not going to help you in that situation,” said Filicetti.
Filicetti went on to say, “One thing as a police officer that you have to have is a little bit of motivation to keep doing what you do. It can be discouraging at times but a good cop comes out here and keeps working and working and working and that’s how cases get solved, how warrants get served and you just have to stick at it.”
The sheriff’s office urges anyone who may have an outstanding warrant to turn themselves in. It looks favorable to a judge and may help you in the long run.