Niagara Gazette

Opinion

December 26, 2012

GUEST VIEW: Hail to Chief John Chella

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Under his leadership and direction, our police department has been our No. 1 partner. The chief and his men have attended scores of late evening block club meetings, presented numerous educational presentations and answered and responded to hundreds of questions. 

Our Citizen Police Academies have improved to include youth, graduating hundreds. Homeland security, preparedness and school safety have been a high priority, creating police resource officers. The RAC team and gang suppression teams have done superior work in taking criminals off the street. Initiatives during his tenure included addressing and ticketing kids walking in the street or those adults choosing to park in handicapped spaces or fire zones. His men have disrupted and dissected numerous after-hour, illegal bars and clubs.

They have addressed improving the ZOOM initiative while working with inspections, led high-profile investigations resulting in the arrests and incarceration of gang members of Crips, Bloods and Ninth Street Boys, among others. Today, we have cameras in neighborhoods under constant police monitoring. 

Our police improved neighborhood safety by creating and designating police substations in high-crime areas, increased surveillance, worked with the U.S. Attorney's office to create a 19th Street "no plea zone" and have been persistent in arresting prostitutes. In addition, they have taken hundreds of illegal and stolen guns off the street and arrested and prosecuted the bandits that break into cars and homes. COMSTAT continues as well as crime stats provided to our members. Collaboration with county, state and federal officials is at an all-time high. Finally, with his blessing and financial assistance, 1,459 graffiti locations have been removed and new graffiti ordinances are in place, with his help. 

This success cannot be accomplished without trust, vision and teamwork. A good leader brings all three into focus. We consider the honorable Chief Chella, whose many substantial achievements span his career as a police professional, worthy of our academy's life achievement award. We have been honored by his leadership, humbled to have had him lead not only his men, but us as well. Although we feel saddened with his departure, we wish him all the best.

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