BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — As the number of shootings continue to rise in the City of Buffalo, the fundamental differences between Mayor Byron Brown and democratic nominee India Walton in how to handle the violence, appears to be widening. Below, we listed a few main differences in their philosophies in the usage of police in the city.
Democratic nominee India Walton has repeatedly said that she would cut funding to the police department if she is elected. According to her, she hopes to put that money into mental health training among other things.
"Our police budget is as high as it has ever been and crime is up so obviously what we're doing is not working," Walton said.
Mayor Brown has said that he would not take funds from the BPD, but, inf act, put attention towards building relations.
Police patrols and presence:
Following Monday’s shooting on Donovan Drive that critically injured a three-year-old boy, Walton says the increase in police presence was problematic. She believes that social workers should be door knocking, not armed officers.
"Our response was to re-victimize them (the neighborhood) with another traumatic event rather than sending them in with social workers and mental health counselors to help them grieve, in addition to police activity," Walton said.
According to Mayor Byron Brown, that presence is what ultimately led to an arrest in the case. He says he backs having a large presence during situations like this.
"When we get good information and good cooperation from the community like we did in this case the police can solve these crimes very quickly," Mayor Brown said.
When pressed during a news conference this afternoon, Walton said the best way to prevent these types of shootings is through education and job creation. Walton says she has the statistical backing to prove why this would be effective.
"(We need) To pursue things like job training, community centers and violence intervention programs for our young people in the City of Buffalo."
During a rally held on Tuesday, Mayor Brown said that the programs, which typically are focused to youths, can be ineffective and have yet to stop the shootings.
"This is not about programs," Mayor Brown said, "All throughout the pandemic the same people you see here were out for education programs, let's not make excuses for inexcusable behaviors."
Mayor Brown has said he is hoping to promote more community initiatives for police and neighbors to interact, which is something Walton says is not enough.