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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2016 Archives > BPD Language Access Plan

BPD Language Access Plan

Buffalo Police Department adopts Language Access Plan for limited English Proficient Individuals to better serve the City’s growing diverse communities

February 29, 2016 – Today Mayor Byron Brown announced the adoption of a Buffalo Police Department Language Access Plan, focusing on further strengthening police interaction with limited English proficient individuals. The plan is based on a proposal submitted by various Buffalo ethnic communities, in collaboration with not for profit service organizations, and represents a collaborative effort between the City and its growing immigrant communities.  The plan sets policy for Buffalo Police Department (BPD) members to utilize a number of interpretation services: Language Line telephone service, Bilingual BPD Members, Civilian Interpreters, and professional contract services, including in-person interpretation.

“Buffalo has a very long history of welcoming newcomers and we want our City to get even better at helping immigrants build a good and fruitful life here.  Part of that involves building strong ties between law enforcement and all of Buffalo’s diverse communities. The BPD and I are committed to building those good relationships. We’re committed to listening to the needs of our City residents, and we’re committed to working together in addressing issues that affect safety and well-being,” stated Mayor Byron Brown.

Council President and Ellicott District Council Member Darius Pridgen stated, “We first heard about a language access plan a little less than a year ago when over 50 members of the refugee and immigrant community came before the Common Council to advocate for this policy. We are here today to turn that advocacy into policy. I applaud Mayor Brown and his administration for adopting a language access plan for the Police Department and I thank community for bringing this issue to our attention and for working with us to make effective change.”

Majority Leader and Niagara District Council Member David Rivera said, “I thank Mayor Brown, Commissioner Derenda and the Administration for their new policy on language access. It is our duty to provide access for City services and to eliminate barriers to these services, and this language access plan is a positive step towards being a fully-accessible City government. I also commend the refugee and immigrant community. They organized and collaborated to advocate for fair treatment and presented a plan to the Common Council and the Administration. This was a grassroots effort from our newest Americans to positively bring about change to our government. It is a beautiful example of how to affect local government policy and they should be celebrated for this accomplishment.”

The Language Access Plan is a result of long collaboration between Buffalo’s ethnic communities, advocacy groups, the City’s Office of New Americans and the Buffalo Police Department, who has been holding regular police safety and information workshops, outreach events and consumer education panels in these communities since November 2014.  The BPD’s policy includes efforts to inform members of the public that language assistance services are available free of charge to LEP persons.