Back To School Safety

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Summer vacation has ended and school will be starting September 6th  for students. The City of Dunkirk Police Department is reminding everyone to pay close attention to children as they walk to and from school and to obey the laws regarding speed in school zones, walking in the roadway, riding bicycles and yielding the right of way to stopped school buses.

The speed limit in school zones is 15MPH for all School areas except 20MPH on Rt.# 60 at School # 3 and 25MPH on Rt.# 5 at School # 7 from 7:00AM until 3:30PM  any day that  school is in session. The Police Department will have patrol officers checking the school zone areas for violations of the speed limit. Our priority in enforcing this law is for the safety of the children. As always voluntary compliance is very helpful but there will be strict enforcement and traffic summonses will be issued for the safety of the children. The few seconds it takes to slow down will not disrupt anyones day.

We want everyone to be aware and pay close attention to children who are walking to and from school, especially at intersections and crosswalks. A reminder to all motorists to please pay attention to and follow all directions of the school crossing guards and police officers who are at the intersections directing the children safely across the streets. Failure to stop as directed can result in the arrest of the vehicle operator.

A very strict warning to motorists that they must stop for school buses that have their red lights flashing. All vehicles on the highway operating in any direction on single lane or multiple lane highways must stop before their vehicle reaches the school bus when the bus has it’s red flashing lights in operation. The operators of vehicles cannot proceed past any such bus until the lights stop flashing or they are signaled by the bus driver or a police officer to safely proceed. Violations of this law will be strictly dealt with and the punishment can range from heavy fines to jail time or a combination of both. We take violations of this law very seriously. Throughout the school year we will have patrols checking on school bus operations to ensure safety.

Parents are urged to talk with their children about the dangers of them talking with or getting into a vehicle with any strangers or entering a house of a stranger.  If approached by any stranger teach your children to run away, scream, yell and find a teacher, police officer, crossing guard or an adult they know and tell them what happened. If your child has a cell phone talk with them about being familiar with street names and calling 911 for help in an emergency.

Parents who drop their children off at the Middle School on Eagle Street are to drop off only on the West side (the same side as the School) as dropping off on the East side will put the children in danger crossing the road in front of traffic and trying to make a left turn into the loop causes traffic back up and safety issues as well. There is signage in place that prohibits the left turn into the bus loop. We will have patrols in the area to monitor this situation.

We are also issuing a reminder to everyone about walking in the roadway. This is very dangerous and if traffic is obstructed it is a violation of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law and also the Penal Law depending upon the situation. Anyone riding a bicycle is reminded that they must follow all the rules of the road as if they were a vehicle. We will have enforcement in all areas to maintain vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle safety.

Again we are urging parents to talk with their children about these safety issues. By spending a few extra minutes as drivers of vehicles or as parents talking with their children everyone can help make school a safe, enjoyable learning experience. The children of today hold the key to the future and we must take the extra precautions to protect them and keep them safe.

Main Wine & Spirits Burglary Investigation

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On August 12th, 2016, at about 11:40 PM, Dunkirk Police Officers were dispatched to an alarm at Main Wine & Spirits located at 159 E 4th St. in the City of Dunkirk, NY.  Upon arrival, officers found the front glass window smashed out and determined several bottles of alcohol were stolen.  After a two week investigation, it is alleged that two 15 year old juvenile males were responsible and will be petitioned to Family Court for 1 count of Burglary in the Third Degree (D/Felony), 1 count of Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree (C/Felony) and 1 count of Petit Larceny (A/Misd).

Robbery Arrest

ETHAN FIGUEROA

ETHAN FIGUEROA

On Monday August 22nd 2016 at or about 12:57 PM, Officers responded to a retail store located in the D&F Plaza for a report of a shoplifter. As officers were arriving on scene, suspect Ethan Figueroa was seen fleeing from the area and attempting to climb a fence on Milliard Fillmore Dr. which leads to the New York State Thruway. Figueroa was apprehended and taken into custody. Further investigation into the matter led to the fact that Figueroa displayed a knife to store personnel as he was exiting the store and fleeing with stolen merchandise. At the time of his arrest, Figueroa was found to be in possession of stolen merchandise, a quantity of heroin and hypodermic instruments. He was arraigned in Dunkirk City Court By Judge Walter Drag and is being held in the County jail without bail pending a preliminary hearing.  He is charged with: Robbery in the First degree(Class B Felony), Grand Larceny in the Fourth degree (Class E felony), Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third degree(Class B Felony), Criminal Possession of a Hypodermic Instrument (Class A Misdemeanor)

Dunkirk Police officers were assisted by Village of Fredonia Police and private citizens during the course of this incident.

NYS LEAH Chapter 154 visits DPD

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NYS LEAH chapter 154 delivers treats to Dunkirk Police Department Chief David Ortolano (left) and Sgt Michael Pakulski (right)

The NYS LEAH Chapter 154 came to The Dunkirk Police Department on Tuesday, August 9th, 2016 and brought a large tray of homemade treats for our Department to show their appreciation for what we do to keep the Community safe. The children also made individual thank you cards for our Officers which were posted on the wall at the station. They were given a tour of the Station and shown a patrol car by Chief David Ortolano and Sgt. Michael Pakulski. “It was our pleasure to have the children visit and we appreciate that the children and their families took the time to show us that they care
about what we do for them each and every day.” – Chief David Ortolano

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Sgt Pakulski showing a police car to NYS LEAH Chapter 154

“Thank you, Dunkirk PD, for allowing us to come and show our appreciation to
our local law enforcement.
We are a group of parents who are committed to teaching our children to obey
and respect the law, that includes those who are brave enough to serve in
the community and uphold those laws.
The children had fun and it was a good lesson for them to see how important
it is to tell others they are appreciated. It was clear that it meant
something to your officers to have the support of the people you serve.
We are truly grateful for your sacrifice and many of us remember you in
prayer regularly.

Thank you for all you do!”

Melissa Schrock
NYS LEAH Chapter 154
Loving Education At Home

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NYS LEAH Chapter 154 student sits in a DPD police car

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Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano handing out treats to NYS LEAH Chapter 154 students

Shooting Investigation Arrest

Angel Lopez-Tirado

Angel Lopez-Tirado

The Dunkirk Police Department responded to a report of a possible victim with a gunshot wound at 544 S. Roberts Road at approximately 10:25 PM on July 25th, 2016.  A 4 year old victim was treated by Dunkirk Fire/Rescue and transported to Brooks Memorial Hospital where he was treated and then transferred to Children’s Hospital in Buffalo with non life threatening injuries.

Following a lengthy investigation into the incident by Officers from the 3-11 Platoon and Detective Division the above subject Angel Lopez-Tirado, age 27, of Dunkirk, NY, was taken into custody late Monday afternoon after a warrant was issued by City Court Judge Kuzdale for the charges of Reckless Endangerment 2nd Degree Class A Misdemeanor,  Criminal Possession Weapon 2nd Degree Class C Felony and Criminal Possession Weapon 3rd Degree Class D Felony. Lopez-Tirado is currently being held in the City of Dunkirk Holding Center pending his arraignment in City Court this morning. The weapon was recovered and is being held in evidence. The Dunkirk Police Department was assisted in the Investigation by the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office, County Child Protection Services and the Child Advocacy Program.

National Night Out a Success

As we close out our 23rd year of National Night Out and begin to prepare for the 24th edition I want to take a few minutes to reflect on this year’s program. We had one of the largest turnouts for this year’s event with about 400 people attending throughout the evening. One of the most promising aspects of this year was that we saw a lot of new faces and families at the event as well as a mix of citizens of all ages, that is very encouraging and exactly what we want to see. Unfortunately in our business most of our interactions are not in a positive setting. National Night Out is one of our programs that gives us the opportunity to have positive interaction with citizens, families and children and build a relationship that teaches the value of trusting in the Police Department. We constantly work with the Community to send the message that we are here to keep it safe and the best way to do that is to have Community support starting with the children all the way to our senior citizens. A strong partnership within the Community is truly our best weapon in keeping it safe, it only takes a few minutes of time to get involved and make a difference. Without the help of the Community we would not have the success that we do in public safety.

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With recent tragedies within our Law Enforcement family nationwide it is now more important than ever to have this great relationship with our Community that we enjoy so very much. There has been an outpouring of support for our Officers in the past few weeks that has been unbelievable. We have received all kinds of baked goods and we have a wall that is full of thank you cards in the Police Station. There are so many citizens stopping our Officers to just say thank you and telling us they appreciate what we do that we can’t even keep count.  These are just a few examples of the acts of kindness that have been shown to the Police Department. This support from our Community is second to none and we are very proud to have them standing behind us, it truly is a great feeling to know they take the time to let us know they appreciate what we do and in turn we will continue to do our best for them each and every day.

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 I want to commend every citizen that gets involved in crime prevention and steps up to make this Community a safer place. I want to especially thank our Night Out Coordinators Arlene Langendorfer, Donna Howlett, Ruby Green, Lorie Michalak Herman, and Martha DeJesus for being there again this year. Many of these coordinators have been a mainstay of National Night Out for more than 15 years and Arlene has not missed a year since the very first Night Out 23 years ago. Their dedication is amazing and we could not do this program without them.

I want to also commend all of our Police Officers who have given their time to this program every year for the last 23 years, the large number of Officers who volunteer to participate each year shows their dedication to the Community. I also want to thank the Dunkirk Fire Department for their many years of participation as well, they have been a very welcomed addition to our Night Out activities.

The Dunkirk Police Department and Night Out Committee would like to thank all of our business sponsors for their support and dedication over the years, without them we would not enjoy the success we have. Our many thanks to Blasdell Pizza – Mark Dulak, Tops Markets – Jay Knavel, WalMart – Brad Balentine,  Southpaw Signs – Cody Britton,  P&G Foods – Gary & Patty Damico, Paper Factory – Bruce & Ann Mulkin,  McDonalds Restaurant,  G&E Tents – Bob Bankowski & Bob Karin, Awesome Bouncers – Jason Genovese, Save a Lot – Kevin Connelly, Atlas Comfort Cabins- Roger Gloss, Music by Nick and Andy, and Tim Hortons – Dave & Gina Kron.  A special thanks to WDOE/96KIX FM, The Observer, Mayor Willie Rosas, the Common Council and the Parks, Recreation and Public Works Departments for all their support. We are truly lucky to have the entire community take part in this event. With the help of everyone working together we will continue to make a difference in making our Community a safer place to live, visit and work in.

Respectfully,

Chief David Ortolano

National Night Out 2016

Photo by Nicole Gugino OBSERVER City Editor

Photo by Nicole Gugino OBSERVER City Editor                                           From left to right: Officer Shane Carlson, Chief David Ortolano, Lt. Mark Timmerman, Councilwoman Stacy Szukala

On Tuesday August 2nd   the City of Dunkirk will be joining 30 million other citizens from over 9000 communities nationwide in celebrating National Night Out. This is the 23rd   year that the Dunkirk Police Department is sponsoring Night Out in the City of Dunkirk.

National Night Out is designed to give strength to neighborhood crime and drug prevention efforts and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and not afraid to fight back. Our National Night Out program is directly correlated to our neighborhood watch programs that are active throughout the community. nextdoor

On Tuesday August 2nd   citizens in Dunkirk will be locking their doors, turning their lights on and spending the evening with their neighbors, Police Officers, Firefighters and City Officials.  Again this year we will have one centralized Night Out location at Washington Park. This will be the fifth year we have done the central location and we encourage everyone to come to Washington Park for the evening. Our mcgruffcoordinators will be working together on this event and we ask that anyone who can assist to please come to the Park before the event begins to help with set up. Also as in the past we also appreciate anyone who can to bring a desert to pass. The coordinators, who are the same dedicated citizens who work on our neighborhood watch program, donate a tremendous amount of time and work to this program every year, my hat is off to them as they make it all happen. The coordinators along with the support of the local businesses who donate to our program truly make Night Out the success that it is.

The Police Department will be at Washington Park during the evening with patrol cars, McGruff the crime dog you can meet our K-9 Nico as well. Everyone from our Senior

K9 Officer Matt Hazelton with K9 Nico

K9 Officer Matt Hazelton with K9 Nico

Citizens down to small children will have the opportunity to meet and interact with our Police Officers, this emphasizes the importance of the Police community partnership and pride in the community and allow for positive interaction between our citizens and our Police Officers. Also participating again this year will be the Dunkirk Fire Department. The Fire Department has joined forces with us and their participation is a huge success, it is important to show that we all are committed to making our community a safe place. The interaction between the Police Officers, Firefighters, City Officials and community residents build positive relationships that will benefit the entire community.

As an added bonus again this year we will have music by Nick and Andy and we have coordinated with the Recreation Department to have the Movie in the Park series at dusk to cap off our Night Out event. This year the movie will be Zootopia. We will have picnic tables to sit on or you can bring a blanket or lawn chair to the Park to sit on and enjoy the Movie.

***Again this years celebration will be held at Washington Park and we encourage everyone from all Wards of the City to attend. Night Out celebration will start at about 6:30PM with our usual activities and then cap off the night with a movie in the park featuring Zootopia at dusk (approx. 8:30PM).

zootopia**Washington Ave. will be barricaded between Fifth and Sixth Streets and Fifth Street will be barricaded from Washington Ave. to Park Ave. to allow those attending Night Out a place to park. There is also plenty of parking in the surrounding area around Washington Park for everyone to attend the celebration.

Also as a reminder the coordinators could use a little extra help and we ask anyone with a few minutes to show up a little early and help with set up or stay a few minutes afterwards and help with clean up. We also stress that parents do not send their children alone to the events, this program in devised to show the children the importance of the community working together.

A strong Police/Community partnership within the community is the best weapon we have in keeping our City safe. It only takes a few minutes of time to get out and get involved and make a difference in the community. We have seen a very large change in the program over the years and more families are becoming involved, that is what this program is all about. As the program grows so does our commitment to working together to keep the community safe.

The Dunkirk Police Department and Night Out Committee would like to thank all of our sponsors for their support and dedication over the years. Our many thanks to Tops Markets – manager Jay Knavel, WalMart-manager Brad Balentine, Southpaw Signs- Cody Britton,  P&G Foods- Gary and Patty Damico,  Paper Factory- Bruce & Ann Mulkin, Save A Lot- Kevin Connelly, McDonalds Restaurant, G&E Tents- Bob Bankowski & Bob Karin, Music by Nick&Andy, Blasdell Pizza – Mark Dulak, Awesome Bouncers – Jason Genovese, Atlas Comfort Cabins – Roger Gloss and Dave & Gina Kron from Tim Hortons. Many of these sponsors have been part of National Night Out for a very long time and they donate services, food & refreshment items or financial support for our program, we could not have the success we do without their support.  A special thanks to WDOE/96KIX FM , Access 12, The Observer, the City Administration and our DPW and Parks Departments for all their support over the years. We are truly lucky to have the entire community take part in this event, together we will continue to make a difference one neighborhood at a time.

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Gunshot Complaint

The Dunkirk Police Department responded to a report of a possible victim with a gunshot wound at 544 S. Roberts Road at approx. 10:25 PM Monday evening. A 4 year old victim was treated by Dunkirk Fire/Rescue and transported to Brooks Memorial Hospital where he was treated and then transferred to Children’s Hospital in Buffalo with non life threatening injuries. The investigation revealed that apparently a child was playing with a gun and it discharged.

The investigation is ongoing with the cooperation of the District Attorney’s Office and charges are pending upon the completion.News release photo

733 Park Ave Residential Burglary Arrest

Jorge M. Negron-Velaquez

Jorge M. Negron-Velazquez

On July 24th, 2016, at about 5:50 AM, the Dunkirk Police Department received a call from a concerned neighbor regarding a possible burglary in progress at 733 Park Ave, Dunkirk, NY.  The caller had witnessed a subject around the house and flashlights inside the house and knew the homeowners were not supposed to be home.  Upon officers’ arrival, a perimeter was established with Dunkirk and Fredonia Police Officers.  Entry was made and 4 individuals were found hiding inside the residence.  The 4 individuals were Jorge M. Negron-Velazquez, age 33, Dunkirk, NY, one 16 year old male from Dunkirk, one 15 year old male from Dunkirk, NY and one 15 year old male from Westfield, NY.  As Negron-Velazquez was being escorted to the police car, he pulled away from the officer and fled on foot through a backyard and over a fence.  Negron-Velazquez was retaken into custody.  Through investigation, it was learned that all 4 individuals acting together, caused the removal of several items from the residence which were recovered.  Negron-Velazquez and the 16 year old male were arraigned by Judge Walter Drag and remanded to the Chautauqua County Jail in lieu of $40,000 cash/$80,000 property.on charges of Burglary in the Second Degree and Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree.  Negron-Velazquez was additionally charged with Resisting Arrest.    The 15 year old males were released to their parents and will be issued Family Court appearance tickets for Burglary in the Second Degree and Grand Larceny in the Third Degree.

Chief Ortolano speaks to Upward Bound Program

IMG_3874Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano was invited to speak to the Upward Bound program at SUNY Fredonia Monday evening. “It was my pleasure spending the time explaining what the job of a Police Officer is all about and answering questions from a group of very nice young men and women from our communities.” Afterwards, the upward bound students that were criminal justice majors took the photo with Chief Ortolano.