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Controversy, safety concerns surround Buffalo Police staffing changes

Posted at 6:04 PM, Jan 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-08 18:04:14-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo Police Department is trying to roll out plans to adjust schedules and assignments for some members of the police force. The move is drawing criticism from the police union and city lawmakers.

"The department does adjust manpower whether it's within a unit, squad or citywide based on calls for service and the needs of the department," Captain Jeff Rinaldo of Buffalo Police said Monday.

According to the department, it hopes to move some people between units to better respond to calls for service and also proposed moving detectives from evening shifts to daytime shifts. The department says no changes have been made yet.

That's at odds with what the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association says is happening. According to President John Evans, the department has already eliminated six detective positions and two captain positions through attrition.

Evans points to three narcotics detectives, two homicide detectives and one auto theft detectives, along with a 911 dispatch captain and an A District captain.

"The captain, he's basically you're quarterback on any calls," Evans explained. "He'll make the call whether to call in detectives for either statements or evidence collection."

Council Member Chris Scanlon is also raising concern over the staffing changes. He represents the South District which falls into the Buffalo Police A District.

"The people of the South District are people who take care of their properties, look after one another and they should be afforded the same protection by the Buffalo Police Department that anyone else in the city of Buffalo is," Scanlon said.

Scanlon and the other council members have issued a resolution calling the police department to explain what the staffing changes are, why they are happening and to answer questions from the council. No date is set for that meeting.