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Dennis Delano: Ex-Detective, Future Town Justice

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Dennis Delano: Ex-Detective, Future Town Justice

Dennis Delano was booted from his job as a cold case detective for the Buffalo Police Department after he’d won national attention for his role in securing the releases of Lynn DeJac and Anthony Capozzi, both wrongfully convicted of murder. But you can’t keep a good man down: Last week, after an election rife with underhanded maneuvers meant to keep Delano off the ballot, the ex-cop won a close race for Cheektowaga Town Justice against the incumbent, James Vallone.

How’d you decide to run for Cheektowaga Town Justice?

I received emails from people stating that they felt they did not receive justice when going before the Cheektowaga court system, and that they also felt this judge had gone out of his way to prosecute an elderly war veteran for housing violations instead of getting him help with his circumstances. So I did a little research, which verified the information, and found out that this position was up for re-election.

You’re not a lawyer. Do you think your years as a policeman will help you in your new job?

My years of police work gave me a diverse experience in all aspects of the criminal justice system, much more so than most attorneys could hope for. I have dealt with all sides of the legal profession except from the other side of the bench, so I believe this will be a more or less natural progression of my career in law enforcement. I have seen lawyers who have made terrible judges, and non-lawyers be terrific ones. Most judicial appointments ultimately are based on politics and have nothing to do with the wisdom or intelligence of the person that has been elected or appointed to that position. In fact, it is my opinion that the system has become so entrenched by attorneys making deals with other attorneys and some judges that are attorneys, that truth and justice seem to have been nudged out of some of our courtrooms and many innocent people are suffering.

Can you describe the political maneuvers your opponents used to try to keep you off the ballot?

I have experienced everything from over 100 of our signs being stolen or damaged, to cheating during the endorsement votes, to threats being made to my supporters, to illegal lawsuits. The list goes on and on. I am constantly amazed at just how low people will go to win an election or to keep a non-incumbent out of one. We have party leaders that ignore what their own members want and bully workers into doing their dirty work. Even after I had won the primaries, the leadership of the parties attempted to go against their members to support my opponent, almost like the tail wagging the dog.

What exactly is your party affiliation? Or do you have one?

I am currently registered as a Democrat, but my election shows that I enjoyed the support of members of all the different parties.

You’ve been active in the investigation of the murder of Amanda Wienckowski. Are your cold case days behind you?

I could never turn my back from addressing the injustices of cases such as Amanda’s. That case is a perfect example of a system that is out of control, that sometimes protects the criminals at the suffering of the innocent, and of the corruption that lurks about our political and legal system in Western New York. The powers that be have attempted just about every dirty trick that could be thought of to shove me aside because I helped to shine a light on the corruption, but I am greatly humbled by the fact that I have the support of most of the average everyday citizens, and that is the reason that I will continue to work cold cases or any case that may help find justice for victims that feel they have lost their voice in our community.

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