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WSCSD Security Chief Honored for Work at UB

West Seneca Safety Department Chief David Urbanek recently received awards from the SUNY Police Chiefs Association. Chief Urbanek has been with the District for 36 years as a part-time day job, followed by a full-time shift at the University at Buffalo as Police Lieutenant, from which he retired last year. Before his UB retirement, Urbanek had many occasions to save lives on the UB campus.  


Chief Urbanek has a long history of being where he’s needed - with the necessary skills.  In January of 2018, Urbanek, then a UBPD Lieutenant, answered a call for a fallen lacrosse player.  He radioed UBPD dispatch to make a call to Getzville Fire and upon entering the sports arena, immediately began administering CPR to the unconscious student.  After one AED application from Urbanek and the Getzville Fire team, the student lived, but not without a highly tenuous stay at ECMC’s Trauma Center. Miraculously, the student made a full recovery that was no doubt linked to early CPR. 


As Chief of West Seneca Safety, Urbanek’s calls have thankfully been less dramatic, but it’s good to know he’s here when we need him.  Read below for context of his UB awards, excerpted from UB Communications.


Lifesaving Award:

Lieutenant David Urbanek and Officers Valerie Dobson and Michael Virchau

On December 14, 2022, UBPD received a call reporting that an employee had passed out and was unconscious, but was breathing. The caller had called and hung up multiple times before the dispatcher was able to obtain the necessary information. The victim was in the Student Union, but the exact location was not initially provided. Officer Virchau was dispatched, but Officer Dobson was already in the area and responded to the scene as well. Officer Dobson located the victim lying on the floor and observed he was exhibiting agonal breathing. She contacted dispatch to expedite the ambulance as Officer Virchau arrived with an AED. Officers Virchau and Dobson connected the AED which delivered a shock. Officer Virchau then performed multiple cycles of CPR and was relieved by Officer Dobson who also performed multiple cycles of CPR. Lt. Urbanek responded and relieved Officer Dobson. Lt. Urbanek performed multiple cycles of CPR and the AED also delivered a second shock. The victim was turned over to Twin City ambulance who reported that he had a restored heart beat and breathing at the time he was transported. Under hospital care, the employee was able to make a successful recovery.


Professional Service Award:

Lieutenants Jonathan Fletcher and David Urbanek; Officers Robert Adamski, Gregory Fowler, Luke Galmarini, Dale Hohl, Jay Lawrence, Michael Saraceno, Christopher Sprigg, and Dale Zulawski; Dispatchers Alli Best-Kelm and Alex Lebron.

For approximately fifty straight hours on December 23rd - 25th, 2022, during extreme blizzard conditions which caused them to be stranded at work and prevented other staff members from reaching the campus to relieve them, these dedicated individuals were required to remain on continuous duty, under dangerous and stressful conditions, away from their families and without adequate food and sleep. What began with a few stranded motorists being dropped off at UPD headquarters by a local police department, quickly evolved into an extended search, rescue, and shelter operation. In addition to locating and transporting stranded motorists during extreme white-out conditions, UPD had to set-up a makeshift shelter and forage for food and supplies to sustain themselves and the motorists. Their successful efforts to rescue and shelter more than fifty people stranded in their vehicles on surrounding roadways, and to protect our students living on campus during this storm, undoubtedly saved lives. Several officers and dispatchers who were working during the blizzard especially wanted to recognize the leadership provided by Lieutenants Fletcher and Urbanek during this challenging experience. 


As one described, “Their impeccable leadership, decision-making, and approachability during all three days of the blizzard made it easier for all of the officers, and dispatch, to operate with more confidence.”