The first official spokesman of the Town of Tonawanda Police Department, Lt. Nicholas A. Bado, announced Thursday he is handing off those duties to a department captain.
“After approximately seven years of being the sole contact person for our department, I have decided that I need to step away from that role and focus on my main responsibilities,” Bado said in an emailed statement.
Bado’s main title is head of the department’s Service/Traffic Bureau, whose wide array of responsibilities include purchasing equipment such as vehicles, radios and cameras.
“It’s quite tedious, the work I do already and, the way my role as public information officer grew, those two things competed with each other so much that I found myself pulled in too many different directions even on a day-to-day basis,” he said in an interview.
The announcement comes after a recent string of high-profile public safety incidents in the town, including the death of a 12-year-old bicyclist in late August, a man who was prepared to shoot at police as his home burned in October and, most recently, accusations of racial profiling and bias by town police. Each required a response to the bevy of requests for comment that followed.
“This recent round of the racial profiling story was just one more thing added on top of it all that made me think now was the right time,” he said.
While Bado will still field media inquiries for now, his spokesman duties will gradually be transferred to “eventual replacement” Capt. Joseph Carosi as Carosi becomes comfortable with them, according to the statement.
“He’s a good person,” Bado said of Carosi. “He’s a good police officer. He is someone that I think the public will take to quickly because of his likeable demeanor.”
Bado pioneered the unpaid role as the department’s first official spokesman by volunteering for it while a supervisor on road patrol.
“I realized that nobody was ever giving an answer when we had questions directed at us from the media,” he said. “I thought for a variety of reasons that that was foolish. We should be providing information that people should know and maybe information that will complement our officers for work that people don’t even know they’re doing.”
He become one of the most recognizable faces in local law enforcement by responding to requests for comment on homicides, fatal motor vehicle crashes and severe weather.
“I’ve reached a point where I’d rather be a little more anonymous and let someone else get a bit of that recognition,” he said. “Fun to a certain degree but a burden in another way.”