The Citizens' Advisory Committee (CAC) learned about police procedures, including how a taser works, at its monthly meeting. Police Chief David Ortolano and Lt. Mark Polowy addressed the CAC Wednesday night with an update of what the department has been working on.
The department is working with the parole and probation offices. Police officers have been going out with probation and parole officers to check up on those who have gotten into trouble with the law in the past. The program is "working very well," Polowy said.
Another program the police department is working on is checking out problem areas in the city.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano (right) along with Lt. Mark Polowy (left) spoke at the Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting Wednesday evening.
"One of our uniformed officers in an unmarked car with one of our detectives hitting target areas. ... We determine our target areas by citizens calling in and telling us where there are problems," Ortolano said.
Ortolano reminded the CAC and residents to call the police department if something doesn't seem right.
"I would much rather send a police car out to check a situation than rather ... have the next morning a car broken into, something taken off someone's front porch," Ortolano said. "We need the citizens in the community to assist us."
Ortolano explained that many residents, when they call police, do not want to get involved and not give their name but giving names is beneficial to police.
"It is better if people do get involved because then if we do find something and we need a witness (or) somebody to give us a statement to back up the charges or to arrest someone, the more complainants (and) witnesses the stronger our case is," Ortolano said.
Polowy reminded that if someone gives their name to police, that information will never be given to any suspect. Residents can also tell the dispatcher their name and phone number but to not visit their house in case of worries of retaliation. The Department's phone number is 366-2266.
If any resident is going away for vacation for any period of time, the department has a house watch program. Residents can fill out a form with their address saying how long they will be away. Patrol officers will keep an eye on the house while the occupants are away. Forms are available at www.dunkirkpolice.com under the "Forms" tab or can be picked up in person from the department.
Ortolano also spoke about a new program being offered in the county. The program was purchased for three years by a grant at the county level.
"(Smart911) is an enhancement to the current 911 system," Ortolano said.
The system allows any resident to create a profile on the website. This profile will pop up whenever a caller calls 911. Information can be stored on the website such as medical conditions, pets in the house, disabilities, housing floor plans and even photographs.
"You only put in what you want us to know," Ortolano said.
The system also allows users to enter a cell phone number that can be traced if a person cannot talk for whatever reason. Smart911 can also track children who may have been kidnapped.
"People with children can put their (kids') cell phone in the system. Once it is entered in, God forbid they get abducted or are being chased and they call 911, ... it will tell who they are, who their parents are," Ortolano said. "If the phone gets disconnected, the great thing about Smart911 is we can still track them."
Ortolano opened the meeting up to questions from the audience. Arlene Langendorfer asked Ortolano about the curfew law. The curfew is in effect from 12 to 6 a.m. for anyone under the age of 17. The curfew law can be tricky, Ortolano said, due to juveniles.
"Anyone under the age of 16 is considered a juvenile," Ortolano said.
According to state mandates, police must find a parent in order to take a juvenile into custody. Juveniles are ultimately referred to Family Court.
The next CAC meeting will be held on Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in city hall. To register for Smart911, visit www.smart911.com.
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