BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — According to members of the police advisory board committee for the Buffalo Common Council, Buffalo is the sixth most segregated city in the U.S.
“We brought this issue together because the community wanted this issue brought up,” said Orlando Dixon, who is a member of the Buffalo Police Advisory Committee.
Members of the Police Advisory Board presented information on white supremacist theories, or people who they say could infiltrate branches of government and police departments.
As a precaution, the independent, volunteer advisory board took up the topic of white supremacy in police departments Wednesday, and wants to know, if that were the case in Buffalo—how the department would handle it.
According to the Police Advisory Board document, presented to the Buffalo Common Council, “some residents believe white supremacist groups and individuals who mean harm, specifically to Black Indigenous People of Color have infiltrated the BPD.”
Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood says BPD has a rigorous and thorough interview process when bringing on new officers.
Lockwood says when bringing on new officers, BPD internal affairs:
-interviews neighbors in the area the new recruit lives
-interviews family members and others close to that person
-conducts an investigation into prior employment
-looks on social media and other forms of communication the officer has.
Lockwood says the department would first have to have a complaint of this type of behavior, and then investigate it. He says body camera footage is helpful in that. From there, Lockwood says if an officer accused has been on the force for more than 18 months, it would have to go to arbitration and and an internal affairs investigation would be done.
“We need to uncover a problem or discover a problem before it becomes a problem in Buffalo,” said Buffalo Common Council Member Ulysses Wingo.
Wingo says he believes the department does a great job of vetting officers, but says it goes further than just when they’re hired.
“What happens when the officer gets on the force is what needs more attention than the initial review,” he said.