It was not Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti’s first traffic stop.
It certainly won’t be his last.
But the county’s top law enforcement officer said he had to be on the streets Saturday night, as his deputies and investigators joined with Niagara Falls cops in a joint multi-agency operation targeting the recent spike in violent crime in the city.
“We were out all night,” Filicetti said. “If we’re going to ask our men and women to go out (on a multi-agency law enforcement) operation like this, then the whole command staff is coming out too.”
Filicetti was joined by his undersheriff, both chief deputies and the top two administrators from the Niagara County Jail in support of Falls police officers looking to pick up felony fugitives and crack down on activity in a number of high-crime hot spots.
In addition to the sheriff’s office, Falls police were assisted by U.S. Border Patrol agents, Lockport and North Tonawanda Police Department officers, agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Niagara County Probation officers, New York State Parole officers and local K-9 Units.
“I enjoyed being out there with the men and women doing the work,” Filicetti said. “With operations like this, we need all hands on deck.”
The operation began at 9 p.m. Saturday and continued until 3 a.m. Sunday. It resulted in 50 traffic citations, four misdemeanor and one felony driving while intoxicated arrest. Officers and agents also made 14 arrests on charges ranging from violations of probation to criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
“This operation is our department’s response to the violent crime that is being perpetrated in the city of Niagara Falls,” Police Superintendent John Faso said. “We want to keep the streets safe and clear of crime by removing known criminals.”
Filicetti conducted his traffic stop at 2:14 a.m., in the 1400 block of 27th Street on a Chevy Silverado pickup truck. The sheriff said he stopped the pickup after seeing it driving the wrong way on Whitney Avenue, a one-way street.
Officers said they found a 40-ounce bottle of Steel Reserve on the driver’s side front floor. Filicetti said when he asked the driver of the pickup for his license, the man handed him a credit card.
Police charged Robert W. Kelley, 43, 1820 Michigan Ave., with aggravated driving while intoxicated and driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
“I want to thank Chief Faso for the great working relationship,” Filicetti said. “Our collaborative effort is only possible through the continued positive relationship between our agencies. We hope to do more operations like this in the future.”