Friday, August 19, 2016

WNYP Railroad honors local law enforcement - Olean Times Herald

By KELSEY BOUDIN, Olean Times Herald

OLEAN — Safety is the top priority along the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad’s 330 miles of track.

With that in mind — and other matters dominating national headlines — railroad officials Thursday hosted Law Enforcement Appreciation Day to honor local police agencies that help to make safety and security a reality.

Officials with the New York State Police, Cattaraugus, Allegany and Steuben county sheriff’s offices, and local departments including Olean, Salamanca, Ellicottville, Cuba and Falconer, gathered for a ceremony at the WNYP headquarters on Constitution Avenue.

The railroad rolled out black-and-yellow engine number 430, which will now display magnetic decals of the “thin, blue line” American flag and a motto that reads “Pulling For You” in honor of local police. An engine apiece also will bear those decals at sister railroads Livonia, Avon & Lakewood and Bath & Hammondsport.

“The expectation is that you folks go out into really emotionally tense, charged situations and make snap decisions and are 100 percent correct in those decisions every time,” said Carl Belke, WNYP president and chief operating officer. “It’s admirable to us. You’re humans just like everybody else. With all this craziness that’s going on right now, we’ve got to figure out how to get it turned back around. We just hope that today helps.”

Railroad officials several times voiced the term “craziness,” referring to highly publicized and scrutinized incidents of violence involving police nationwide in recent years.

“As a veteran starting my 39th year in law enforcement, I do realize the challenges that face each and every one of you,” said WNYP Chief of Police Tim Walsh, a former Wellsville police chief, “the nonsense that you have to put up with and the mullarky that’s going on now in a lot of our communities, looking down on the police and taking situations that are rather mundane and turning them into mass media and social media circuses.

“With the whole lack of respect for people in the law enforcement community, we certainly appreciate that you have to put up with that, that you deal with it professionally.”

Walsh promoted Operation Lifesaver, a national organization dedicated to educating communities on railroad safety. The initiative keeps detailed, state-by-state statistics on railway crashes, collisions, fatalities and injuries — a person is hit by a train somewhere in the United States every three hours, for instance.

Walsh invited local police officers to participate in Operation Lifesaver and perhaps ride along on locomotives to “see the perspective our employees face when they’re going down the tracks.” The WNYP often contends with trespassing, vandalism and thefts, he said.

“My job would not be possible without help from folks like you,” Walsh added. “We go out to different organizations to provide them with the Operation Lifesaver program. Certainly, if your agency wants to contact me, we could put together a program that would be fitting to help bring awareness to issues on railroads in our communities.” Click the link fore more...

WNYP Railroad honors local law enforcement