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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2014 Archives > December 2014 > Forum On Community Police Relations

Forum On Community Police Relations

MAYOR BROWN, CONCERNED CLERGY COALITION OF WNY HOST FORUM ON COMMUNITY- POLICE RELATIONS


An action-oriented meeting, giving concerned citizens an opportunity to address issues and concerns as the city continues to review and update its policing policy, procedures and training programs; feedback from the meeting will be incorporated into upcoming training programs and reforms

December 16, 2014 – Mayor Byron Brown and the Concerned Clergy Coalition of WNY, joined by members of the Buffalo Police Department, BPD Internal Affairs, U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, National Federation of Just Communities, Erie County District Attorney’s Office, Erie County Sheriff’s Office, NFTA, Peacemakers and the City of Buffalo Commission on Citizens’ Rights & Community Relations along with other elected officials and youth representatives, sponsored a special forum at Mt. Olive Baptist Church today to get community input as the city continues to review and update its policing policy, procedures and training programs.  More than 400 citizens turned out for the event.

“I am thankful that so many members and leaders in our community are here today, trying to help us bring people together to get the right kind of dialogue going so we can continue to make positive change,” said Mayor Brown.  “An important national discussion is underway and today in Buffalo we are having a conversation to bring about continued dialogue between the community and local law enforcement as the city continues to review and update its policing policy, procedures and training programs.  We must stand together for peace in Buffalo, Ferguson, and in all cities across the country and that begins by listening to each other to gain better understanding.”

Since 2006, the Brown Administration has focused on two equally important goals: to keep neighborhoods safe - strive to make them even safer - and to create that mutual respect that every citizen be treated with respect and every citizen treat the police with respect. Recent reforms include:

  • Mayor Brown re-established community policing to improve dialogue between the community and police officers in 2010.
  • Monthly community meetings are held at each district with the chief.
  • Under the Brown Administration, the city has been pro-active in holding police accountable when questions arise.
  • Citizens can file complaints at any police district, at police headquarters and at a City Hall satellite office; complaints can also be filed via 311 or the City of Buffalo website.  www.city-buffalo.com.
  • To be more engaging, the city teamed up with the faith-based community and Peacemakers
  • To assist at risk youth, Mayor Brown added additional youth employment opportunities, along with Game Changers.
  • In Buffalo, Mayor Brown has promoted a focus on diversity and inclusion as core values as a way to produce a healthier and more economically vibrant city.
  • The city has become more and more transparent via initiatives including Citistat.
  • Ongoing police training has been an essential catalyst for an overall reduction in crime of nearly 25% since 2005.
  • Policing policy, procedures and training programs are reviewed regularly and updated.

Today’s forum followed Saturday’s peaceful rally on the steps of Buffalo City Hall on policing issues. Panel members at today’s forum included:  BPD Commissioner Daniel Derenda, BPD; Deputy Commissioner Kimberly Beaty, BPD; Deputy Commissioner Bryon Lockwood, BPD; Inspector Harold McLellan, BPD Internal Affairs Division; Captain Barbara Lark, BPD Internal Affairs Division; U.S. Attorney William Hochul for the Western District of New York; Trini Ross, Assistant US Attorney’s Office, Western District; Brian Boetig, Special Agent in Charge FBI, Buffalo Office; James Bargnesi, Erie County District Attorney’s  Office; Mark Wipperman, Erie County Undersheriff; Chief George Gast, NFTA; Members of the Concerned Clergy Coalition of WNY; Rev. Kenneth Simmons, Chair, Commission on Citizens’ Rights & Community Relations; Sheila Wallace, Commission on Citizens’ Rights & Community Relations and Chair of the Police Oversight Committee, CCRCR; Rev. James Giles, PEACEMAKERS; Rev. Mark Blue, President of the Baptist Ministers Alliance and Rev. Cary Beckwith, President of the African American Methodist Ministers Alliance and youth representatives Tatyiana Nelson, NAACP and Lamone Gibson, Peacemakers.