By Jill Terreri
The Buffalo Professional Firefighters Association is turning to the Common Council for help in obtaining answers about a top Fire Department official's use of the county's criminal background check system to look in to the background of other firefighters.
At least one firefighter, William Buyers, received confirmation from the county's department of Central Police Services that in 2009 Deputy Commissioner Joseph Tomizzi, then an arson investigator, ran Buyers' name through the background check system, which can be used only in the course of investigating crimes, according to state guidelines.
The union that represents firefighters suspects Tomizzi, an appointee of Mayor Byron Brown, has checked on other firefighters as well, but knows of only of Buyers' case, and that of another man who found out about it after he retired.
Central Police Services has conducted an audit of Tomizzi's use of the system and has turned it over to Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield, who is conducting an internal investigation.
The union has also sought investigations from state and federal authorities, and today sent Legislation Committee Chairman Christopher P. Scanlon a letter asking the Council to get involved.
"We are asking that this honorable body request a copy of the final report of the investigation from Commissioner Whitfield to review its results and any wrong doings by the Deputy Commissioner Tomizzi," wrote Thomas Barrett, union vice president.
The city's Department of Communications said Monday that Tomizzi did not want to comment.
taggedByron Brown | Christopher Scanlon | City of Buffalo