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Residents pack second forum on police-community relations

Posted at 8:47 PM, Dec 17, 2014
and last updated 2015-12-12 20:47:54-05

Community members packed a meeting on police-community relations Wednesday night at the Frank E. Merriweather Library in Buffalo.

The meeting was organized weeks ago by Erie County legislator Betty Jean Grant, following unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City.

People shared their ideas on ways to improve the relationship between Buffalo Police and residents.  At times the meeting got heated, as a number of people were outspoken on different topics.  Among the things discussed were racial profiling, stop and frisk policies and police wearing body cameras. 

Legislator Grant says she thinks the cameras should be considered by the Buffalo Police Department, because they play two roles.

"It makes sure the police do not arrest somebody unfairly, or use unnecessary force," she explained.  "at the same time it protects the cops from allegations of being abusive.  So it helps the criminal and helps the officers as well."

A forum on the same topic was held Tuesday night by Mayor Byron Brown.  A that meeting, Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said he supported the idea of having officers wear body cameras, but he said the biggest issue in Buffalo would be the cost.  Derenda estimated it would cost $1.5 million to outfit the department initially.