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Reforming the BPD: advisory board releases new recommendations

Posted at 11:52 AM, Jun 10, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Calls for change are coming fast and furious within the City of Buffalo following demonstrations and protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

On Wednesday, the Buffalo Police Advisory Board (BPAB) released policy recommendations aimed at improving relations and increasing transparency between the people of Buffalo and its police department.

The BPAB is now calling for a new body, dedicated specifically to police oversight.
In its proposal, submitted to the Mayor and Common Council, the BPAB recommends the City of Buffalo model this new board after Syracuse's Civilian Review Board (SCRB) and its counterpart in New York City. According to details released by the BPAB, both of these entities hold the authority to "conduct independent investigations of police misconduct by experienced investigators who are able to interview witnesses and officers and review evidence." Both boards also have independent subpoena powers.

The BPAB is looking to create a board that has the authority to audit/monitor as well as intercede and discipline officers in cases of alleged misconduct.

This proposed board would also have the power to:

  • Review the Mayor's proposed budget and budgetary allocations for the police department.
  • Conduct public and private hearings at least once a year on Buffalo Police Department (“Department”) policies, rules, practices, customs, and General Orders.
  • Acting separately or jointly with the Mayor, remove the Buffalo Police Commissioner

According to the proposal, initial membership of the Buffalo Police Advisory Board shall consist of:

  • The membership of the Buffalo Police Advisory Board to the Common Council’s Police Oversight committee.
  • Membership thereafter shall be nominated by the outgoing Police Advisory Board members, undergo a background check by the city administration, and confirmed by the Buffalo Common Council.