Tonawanda News

Canal Fest

July 21, 2012

Closing time debated

(Continued)

Tonawanda News —

”Having read about it in the paper that it was closing at 10 p.m., people have started going home at 9 this year,” she said. 

Proefrock, who has observed the event from the Carrousel Society booth in the center of the midway for 28 straight years, said while police have “done a really good job” dealing with crowds so far this year, she thinks the smaller number of arrests are the result of a change in police strategy, not the earlier closing time. 

She said she is concerned that the fewer arrests reflect a strategy ultimately designed to sell the controversial change to the public.

”My concern is that Tonawanda officers are going to say ‘we’ve done a great thing. Just look at the low arrest record.’ My assertion is it’s not that, it’s a change in strategy on the part of the police department.”

She said from what she’s seen this year, police seem to have returned to a more congenial approach to addressing and dispersing large groups of young people. In the past, she said the atmosphere between sometimes disrespectful kids and city cops was more contentious from the start.

”We have not seen any handcuffs this year. Our suspicion is it’s deliberate, to say, see, the 10 o’clock cutoff works,” she said. “It’s going to look like they made a wonderful decision.”

Ivancic said there has been no change whatsoever in the approach police are taking to maintain order at the event. 

Saying he is growing tired of “the negativity and the criticisms of the department and the way we operate,” Ivancic said Proefrock is entitled to her opinion but not qualified to make such an observation.

”Well she knows nothing about police work,” he said. “Her opinion is her own and I would vehemently disagree with that. There is no change in policy down here or in what we do.”

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