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Mayor Brown Posts Questions and Answers From Recent Forum on Community Poli
Mayor Brown Posts Questions and Answers From Recent Forum on Community Police Relations
MAYOR BROWN POSTS ‘QUESTIONS/ANSWERS’ STEMMING FROM A RECENT FORUM ON COMMUNITY- POLICE RELATIONS
January 30, 3015 – Mayor Byron Brown and the City of Buffalo Commission on Citizens Rights and Community Relations posted questions and answers on the City of Buffalo website today that stemmed from a recent forum where the community was given an opportunity to engage with local law enforcement agencies such as the Buffalo Police Department (BPD), Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), Internal Affairs Division of the BPD, Buffalo Office of the U.S. Attorney, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Erie County District Attorney’s office. More than 300 community members attended the event and, as a result, the moderators were unable to address every question during the forum.
“City residents and other concerned citizens asked a lot of important questions about community and police relations and we wanted to make sure that every one of those questions was addressed,” said Mayor Brown who hosted the forum on December 16, 2014 at Mt. Olive Baptist Church.
The Concerned Clergy Coalition of WNY helped to organize the December event. Rev. George Nicholas of Lincoln Memorial Baptist Church stated, “This is an important step in developing a strong coalition of clergy leaders, law enforcement and The Mayor’s office to ensure that all citizens in the City of Buffalo are safe, and have positive interactions with the people who are called to serve and protect.”
Feedback from the meeting will be incorporated into upcoming BPD training programs and reforms. ‘Questions and Answers’ from the forum can found by logging on to the City of Buffalo website at www.city-buffalo.com. (A few questions were excluded from the list because they included vulgar language or were illegible or mentioned specific cases and names - the City of Buffalo is legally unable to answer questions or discuss publically any personnel issues - needed to be personally addressed.)
Below are a few of the questions and answers on the city's Web site:
Why aren’t officers living in our neighborhoods and walking the beat and familiarizing themselves with people like they did in the 60’s?
New York State Public Officers Law § 3 (2) prohibits any rule or regulation requiring a person to be a resident of the political subdivision or municipal corporation of the state for which he or she is a member of the police force if; the person resides in the County in which the municipality sits or contiguous County. The only way to require residency is through the collective bargaining process, but residency is not a mandatory subject of collective bargaining, so there must be willingness from the Union to negotiate this item. The City was able to successfully negotiate career residency with the Fire Union, but the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association has been unwilling to meaningfully negotiate residency.
During appropriate weather conditions, officers are directed to perform park and walk patrols in all neighborhoods of the City. The time, location and duration of these foot patrols vary depending on the number of calls for service that may be pending on any given day.
There are two Community Police Officers assigned to each district. These officers live within the district in which they work, are available to answer any citizen concerns, and may attend block club meetings as needed.
Mayor Brown: Have you considered meeting with ALL local pastors of churches to discuss issues related to police policy and community relations?
The Mayor has met with local representatives from all faiths and this forum was, in fact, organized with the help of the Coalition of concerned clergy of WNY. I have always, and will continue to maintain a relationship with local pastors and congregations of faith on any matters of concerns to the Community.
We need to address the issue of violence among our young black men in the city.
Mayor Brown’s administration continues to work towards the elimination of violent crime in the City of Buffalo through initiatives which engage at-risk youth. For example, Mayor Brown was the first Mayor to dedicate City funding to the Buffalo Peacemakers, an organization comprised of a coalition of six other peace-making groups which have come together for purposes of proactively preventing violence associated with gang-involved or at-risk youth: Back to Basics, Buffalo United Front, F.A.T.H.E.R.S., MAD DADS, No More Tears, and Stop the Violence Coalition.
Mayor Brown also created the Game Changers program, which provides a safe haven for youth in high need communities. This program, a quasi-partnership with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, is funded by the City of Buffalo and The United States Drug Enforcement Agency through the utilization of asset forfeiture funds to pay for equipment and staffing. Law enforcement officers from various agencies positively engage Game Changers participants and law enforcement representatives serve as guest speakers at Game Changers events. Additionally, each Friday night from 6 - 9 p.m., youth between the ages of ten to eighteen participate in basketball training, life skills training, and receive academic support from members of Say Yes Buffalo.
The Say Yes Buffalo Partnership is a collaboration between the City of Buffalo, the County of Erie, the Buffalo Public School District, the District Parent Coordinating Council, the Buffalo Teachers Federation, the Buffalo Association of Administrators and Supervisors, Higher Education, Say Yes to Education, Inc., and a diverse group of Buffalo area corporate, non-profit, and philanthropic organizations. Its mission is to increase high school and postsecondary education completion rates by organizing people, time, money and resources to remove social, behavioral, health, financial and academic barriers to student achievement.
Under the Mayor’s leadership, the City of Buffalo has accepted the challenge of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. This program provides technical support to the City’s youth and focuses on eliminating barriers that have traditionally hindered opportunities given to young men of color in their pursuit of success.
Finally, the Mayor continues to invest in youth through his Summer Youth Internship Program which provides employment opportunities for youth to “earn and learn” over the summer months.