BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo police Commissioner Byron Lockwood announced Monday the Buffalo Police Department is reversing its policy and will now require officers to display their names on their uniforms.
The department changed its policy in September 2020, only requiring officers to display an ID number and not a name. According to Mayor Byron Brown who spoke on the topic in September, the change was made due to ongoing concerns for officer safety.
Lockwood said the names will be on Velcro patches that can be removed but ID numbers must be displayed at all times. He also said there will be "progressive discipline" for officers who do not display their names on their uniforms.
The department is in the process of adding names back onto garments now. The only time names will not be displayed is during "civil unrest" but ID numbers must still be displayed.
The Buffalo Police Benevolent Association issued the following statement on the announcement Monday evening:
“Once again the men and women of the Buffalo Police Department have to learn about potential changes to a policy that could impact their safety, on and off the job, through the media rather than through the department’s top brass.The fact is that the Buffalo PBA has not received any notification related to potential changes in the current policy about wearing name badges on their uniforms. The department’s decision several months ago to remove name badges and revert to using badge numbers was due to officers and their families being physically threatened by protesters and members of fringe groups unsupportive of the men and women of the Buffalo Police. Unfortunately, the Mayor and police top brass are allowing themselves to be intimidated and placating to the interests of these fringe groups who have no desire to protect the men and women of the Buffalo Police and their families. And officers’ names are still currently provided on various items, including citations and appearance tickets provided to suspects. Regardless, when and if such a change in this or any policy is going to be further considered, the PBA should have a seat at the table with police brass and the administration to discuss it. In the meantime, the Police Commissioner should be more focused on how to better address the dramatic increase in crime in the city over the past year, including shootings and homicides.”