The overnight shift at the Niagara County Sheriff's Office is a younger crew. A team of deputies reliant on their own vigilance.
About eight deputies roam cover all corners of Niagara County, from Newfane to North Tonawanda every night. These deputies work about an eight-hour shift, starting at 11 p.m. and protecting the streets until 7 a.m.
— Thuy Lan Nguyen (@ThuyLanWKBW) November 7, 2017
The overnight deputies respond to situations that they often find themselves—like an audible alarm from a bar they hear during a traffic stop.
"The calls we get, usually, more DWI, traffic violations, domestic at night," says Deputy Raymond Gruarin. Gruarin is a Niagara County native, originally from Youngstown. He has been with the Niagara County Sheriff's Office for three years, previously an officer with the City of Binghamton Police Department. Our 7 Eyewitness News crew spent the night with Deputy Gruarin, riding along to each of his calls.
In 2016, the Niagara County Sheriff's Office responded to more than 73,000 calls, which averages to about 200 per day.
On Monday night, a team of 8 deputies with the help of their supervisors responded to about 70 calls and made four arrests. About 25 of those calls were traffic stops, a common occurrence on the overnight shift. Traffic stops are often unpredictable—a missing headlight can turn into a drug bust. These traffic stops can be for anything: a hidden license plate or a loud muffler, but none of them are meant to stir up trouble.
"We're just people. We're people too. We're just doing our job. We want to go home at the end of the day and we just want to make it a safe place to live," says Gruarin, talking about what he wishes people knew about working in law enforcement.
Patrolling the streets is far from being a stress-free job. Our reporter asked Deputy Gruarin if he's ever scared to do his job. "Not every day, but there are many times in my career and I've only been on for five years, that I'm truly scared."
Our 'Overnight Heroes' series continues throughout the month of November. You can follow the Twitter hashtag at #OvernightHeroesWKBW.