Niagara Gazette

Columns

December 17, 2012

HIGGS: Cheers to Niagara Falls' police chief

Niagara Gazette — Well it’s official. My one year reprieve is over. Niagara Falls Police Superintendent John Chella will retire on Dec. 28.

Part of the perks of being part of a block club is our close relationship with Chief Chella over the years. He has been responsive to our neighborhood needs and has put up with me since former Mayor Vince Anello was smart enough to put him in charge and Mayor Paul Dyster recognized his abilities and kept him there.

Since I have the public space I want to let him know he has not worked in vain. His legacy is one of the best as he has recognized the need to communicate with the residents and he has urged his officers to do likewise. He organized a Community Service Unit in his department and has been willing to include his officers in many of our activities especially where young people may be present.

He has opened the door to technology and has been patient with us and very careful to educate us about new police tactics and shares his statistics so we are aware of what types of crimes are being committed practically at our doorsteps.

Neighborhoods are our business — not our only business, as we do have a life, but I cannot urge citizens enough to form some kind of neighborhood watch to keep the authorities informed of what is happening.

In today’s tough economy, hard times happen to good people as well as the bad ones and sometimes they resort to less than legal means of survival. We have enough problems with the percentage of bad ones who continue to add lines to their rap sheets as soon as they are released from the past ones. And, unfortunately new problems arrive on a daily basis from jails and other communities who do not have the housing and willing landlords to take their money.

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