Re­cent threats at home, of­fice prompt Polon­carz to beef up his se­cu­rity mea­sures

The Buffalo News - - CITY&REGION - By San­dra Tan

In the past two weeks, Erie County Ex­ec­u­tive Mark Polon­carz has be­gun trav­el­ing with two armed Erie County sher­iff’s deputies and se­cu­rity ve­hi­cles to his sched­uled events.

Polon­carz hasn’t had such a se­cu­rity de­tail un­til now. But re­cent threats prompted him to ac­cept a trained “dig­ni­tary de­tail” from the Sher­iff’s Of­fice, he said.

On the Friday be­fore St. Pa­trick’s Day, a sus­pi­cious pack­age ar­rived at his of­fice ad­dressed to him as “per­sonal and con­fi­den­tial.” It had been hand-de­liv­ered to his of­fice and had no re­turn ad­dress. Noth­ing in­side turned out to be dan­ger­ous, but the in­ci­dent put build­ing se­cu­rity on alert, he said.

Five days later, an in­ci­dent oc­curred at his house that prompted him to call the police. He de­clined to elab­o­rate, say­ing he doesn’t want the in­for­ma­tion to harm the in­ves­ti­ga­tion or en­cour­age copy­cats.

He ac­cepted police pro­tec­tion upon the rec­om­men­da­tion of Buf­falo police, Erie County Cen­tral Police Ser­vices and the Sher­iff’s Of­fice, he said. That in­cludes spe­cial trans­porta­tion mea­sures and two sher­iff’s deputies who travel with him to his sched­uled events, among other se­cu­rity mea­sures that he de­clined to pub­licly dis­cuss.

He said he does not know how long he will con­tinue to have the se­cu­rity. He hopes it is tem­po­rary.

“It’s com­pletely changed how I have to go about my work rou­tine and daily life,” Polon­carz said. “I’m not thrilled with it.”

Erie County Un­der­sh­er­iff Mark Wip­per­man said he could not elab­o­rate on the de­tails of the open in­ves­ti­ga­tion but con­firmed the ad­di­tional pro­tec­tion was rec­om­mended.

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