“This was absolutely the decision of the Commissioner.” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown made it clear Wednesday: he isn't forcing out retiring Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda.
“I had no plans to ask him to step down. He has served the city well. He's done a good job,” Brown said.
Derenda's tenure isn't without turmoil. His retirement comes on the heels of a study accusing the Buffalo Police Department of unconstitutional and discriminatory practices. Brown has denied the claims in the past.
He appointed Deputy Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood to take Derenda's place on a temporary basis. The city charter says Lockwood can serve for 180 days without city council approval. “I thought he would provide a significant level of continuity of our police department and he's very well respected by members of the department,” said Brown.
In a statement, Buffalo Police Benevolent Association President John Evans said "we are looking forward to the change. Our relationship with commissioner Lockwood has been solid through the years. We are confident the communication between the P.B.A and the Administration will greatly improve."
Brown has 180 days to find a permanent replacement. Lockwood is among the candidates being considered. But, Brown said he isn't ruling out other members of the department.
According to “SeethruNY,” Derenda made a little more than $140,000 in 2017. He’s eligible for a pension. The Comptroller’s office said it could take weeks, if not months to determine how much he’ll earn in retirement.