To Protect and Serve
by Sherry George
I grew up in a small town in Wyoming County and have lived in Buffalo since 1998. Where I grew up I was brought up to respect and trust law enforcement to keep me safe. I have noticed over the years a sad decline in police services in Buffalo. A few years ago I moved into what I thought to be and was told by the owner a “safe and quiet” building on Elmwood Avenue near Bryant. I found out rather quickly that I was lied to. Among other things I was a victim of a break-in three months into my stay, so I called B-District. The police officer told me that I “should expect these types of things living in the city.” All the while he was on his cell phone with his wife. I felt scared and vulnerable due to the break-in, but worse still, ignored and made to feel as if my plight did not matter to the powers that be.
In the same building, before I was able to move, I called 911 twice due to a woman screaming in the hallway that her boyfriend was trying to kill her. The police never came. Needless to say, I no longer live in that building and I am fearful of the outcome if I ever need to call 911 again. At the time I prayed it was the exception and not the rule.
On May 15 my beau’s car was stolen. They found the car parked on 15th Street on the West Side. As we know, this is not the neighborhood you want to linger in. It was getting dark and my beau and his mother called the car in to the police as instructed and proceeded to wait an hour and a half for the officers to show up. They never came. After calling again, they were instructed to take the car to their home and wait for the police to come that evening to finish the paperwork and clear the car so it could be driven. Again, the police never came. So my beau’s mother finally had to go to the B District station the following day to get the matter resolved. I realize that this matter may not be top priority to the officers; however, to the peoples whose car is stolen it is top priority, and no person should be ignored or go unanswered.
I have always been a staunch supporter of law enforcement; however, it is a struggle to stay on their side when I see the reality of the situation and the lax attitudes of the officers along with the fact that 911 calls can go completely unanswered. For the first time in my life I am actually scared to live in Buffalo and am contemplating moving. I pray to god to never need 911 or police assistance for the rest of my time here in Buffalo. How do we reverse this decline and bring back pride to the saying, “To Protect and Serve?”
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