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What, Exactly, Is Going On Here?

So, in the last six weeks, four different people, all pretty near and dear to me, have received tickets for “having an open container” on Bidwell Parkway.

Two of them also got tickets for—wait for it—being in a public park after 10pm, the “public park” being, improbably, the grassy median of Bidwell Parkway.

To the best of my knowledge, none of these tickets was issued in response to a citizen complaint. Now, I’m not going to go on record as the Great Defender of young adults’ right to drink beer out of bags in public, but—really? In a city with the crime that Buffalo has, the gangs that Buffalo has, the drug problems that Buffalo has, the murder rate that Buffalo has—really?

Every night, and I mean every single night, there are men and women drinking beer in public in front of the Sunoco on Elmwood and Hodge. Every night, and I mean every single night, there are groups of people congregating and drinking in front of the Wilson Farms (now 7-11) on Summer and Elmwood. Rarely do I ever see a police presence at either of these locations. So forgive me if I am missing something, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how it can be a smart use of scarce police resources for our Buffalo Police to be handing out summonses (at $52.50 per violation) to young people drinking a beer on Bidwell Parkway.

Maybe I am just not understanding the whole “community policing/quality of life” aspect of this, but I cannot understand why if a police officer sees a couple of young people sitting on the Parkway drinking a beer, he or she cannot simply tell them to throw the beer away, and be done with it. Is this another unacknowledged money-making scheme, like the sudden flurry of parking tickets on Elmwood a couple of years ago? Is it like that magical New Year’s Day blitz of parking tickets when everyone at Parking Violations insisted that they always give out tickets on federal holidays, even though it had never happened before or since?

I do not know, but as a homeowner and taxpayer, I fervently wish that our police officers could spend their time doing something that might actually contribute to the quality of life in the Elmwood Village, instead of hassling people who aren’t making a disturbance, simply because they can.

> Gillian Brown, Buffalo

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