Program provides insight into NFTA Transit Police

In this age of budget cuts and downsizing, it is easy to gain support for trimming programs in the name of economy. However, when a person gains firsthand knowledge of the value of a program, a better perspective can be gained.

We are alumni of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Citizens Police Academy. The program provides participants with a better understanding of the challenges that our transit police face every day. Students participate in a course, which includes a K-9 demonstration, criminal and accident investigation, dispatch, surveillance, legal proceedings and aviation security. The participants’ experiences include a hands-on workshop in the firearm simulator, emergency vehicle orientations course, SWAT and sniper demonstrations and a patrol ride along. Participants receive a better understanding of the intense and specialized training a transit police officer commits to.

While some may say that the NFTA police force provides a duplication of services, this is not the case. The NFTA police is a highly trained group of professionals who must oversee a variety of transportation situations. The NFTA bus and rail systems provide transportation for the entire Buffalo Public School District, as well as the general population.

The officers also oversee security at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, which leads to the challenge of large numbers of passengers traveling to and from Canada. Our status as a gateway city makes us a more complex security situation. It is crucial that we support the dedication and commitment of the Transit Police and how critical they are to the safety of the Buffalo transit system.

Frank and Cathy Rice