Published June 15, 2020
We recognize the great work that the employees of the University at Buffalo Police Department have performed during the first quarter of 2020.
On Jan. 4, 2020, dispatch notified patrols that the Town of Amherst Police Department was looking for a suicidal male believed to be in the area of the VA hospital on Bailey Avenue across from the UB South Campus. The male had left money at his daughter’s home and said he wouldn’t be seen again. Amherst Police also reported that he might be armed with a shotgun.
While South Campus patrols searched the area, Lt. Kerr proceeded to the VA hospital to advise the VA police officer on duty of the situation. Lt. Kerr was informed that the VA officer possibly had the subject’s vehicle stopped on the rooftop level of the parking garage. Upon arrival, the VA officer reported that the subject was in the driver seat of the vehicle with a handgun in his lap and was not complying with the officer’s directions. UB Officer Robert Adamski and an Amherst police officer were also on the scene as Lt. Kerr attempted to convince the driver to place his hands within view on the steering wheel. The man said he wanted to die and that officers would need to shoot him. Eventually, he placed his car in drive and proceeded toward the exit of the hospital parking garage at a slow speed as officers followed in their patrol vehicles. Upon exiting the garage, the man turned his vehicle and headed towards the emergency room entrance. Concerned that the man may intend to enter the hospital with his weapon, the Amherst officer blocked him in with his patrol car, and officers exited their vehicles and drew their weapons. Lt. Kerr approached the driver side of the vehicle, placing himself between the subject’s vehicle and the emergency room entrance. UB Officer Michael Puerner and a Buffalo Police Lieutenant also arrived at the scene.
Lt. Kerr continued to attempt to negotiate with the man without success, and after noticing the man periodically reaching for his gun with his left hand, he decided that immediate action was necessary. Lt. Kerr asked Officer Adamski and the Buffalo Police Lieutenant on the passenger side of the vehicle to attempt to distract the man to get his attention focused to that side of the vehicle. When Lt. Kerr observed the driver turn to look towards the passenger side of the vehicle, he quickly reached into the vehicle to gain control of the man’s left hand and successfully snatched the weapon from his lap. Officer Adamski and the Buffalo Police Lieutenant pulled the man out of the vehicle from the passenger side and handcuffed him with the assistance of Officer Puerner.
Officers secured the loaded semiauto pistol along with a knife that was found in the driver side door compartment, and an open bottle of liquor from inside the vehicle.
For actions taken at great personal risk, and for his heroic dedication to the safety of the suicidal male, hospital staff, patients and visitors, as well as his fellow officers, we are honored to name Lt. Kerr as Officer of the Quarter, and to submit his nomination for the SUNY Police Chiefs Association Heroism Award.
For actions taken to protect the community and provide assistance to Lt Kerr while dealing with a suicidal man at the VA hospital on Jan. 4, 2020.
On Mar. 16, 2020, the Erie County District Attorney announced that a suspect charged with crimes against a UB student inside a residence hall was found guilty of three felony charges by a jury trial, Rape in the First Degree, Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, and Rape in the Third Degree. As usual, Investigator Banas took the lead in this difficult sex offense case. She was assisted by Investigator Colton and Officer Brown. All three were needed to testify at trial, and their testimony was crucial to the successful outcome in this case. Investigator Banas and the SUNY at Buffalo Police Department were specifically commended in the District Attorney’s announcement: https://www2.erie.gov/da/index.php?q=press/jury-finds-defendant-guilty-rape
Dispatchers Yost and Prentiss were nominated by one of the department’s new officers who greatly appreciates their competent professionalism and the guidance they have provided those who are still learning the job. To quote their nomination, “Working with new staff can be stressful and annoying at times but they have been nothing but professional and patient during our interactions and have helped make learning easier for me. I would like them to be recognized for their hard work.”