A 2016 Open Buffalo survey of 2,000 residents in the city of Buffalo revealed a clear and distinct mistrust felt by the community; specifically, Black, Brown, and poor community members who are very often the targets and recipients of aggressive, biased, invasive, and ineffective policing practices, like the ones that led to the death of Wardel Davis and Jose Hernandez-Rossy last year. We believe that creating safe communities begins with fostering a positive trusting relationship between law enforcement and the community. This means that rather than broken windows style policing, we will embrace community policing, divest public dollars from the militarization of police, occupation of our communities and invest in community centers, youth mentoring, employment, and education. We believe that using diversion and lowest law enforcement priority policies will allow police man power to be better allocated by solving crimes and building relationships in the community.
The city of Buffalo police department should deprioritize low-level and non-violent offenses specifically those driven by substance use, poverty, and mental illness reducing the amount of people in jails for nonviolent offenses and minimizing race-based policing for nonviolent offenses by:
adopting and implementing Lowest Law Enforcement Priority (LLEP) for simple marijuana possession.
implementation of a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (L.E.A.D.) program to divert individuals accused of offenses driven by poverty, substance use, or mental illness into appropriate human and social service interventions.
To ensure that all police officers are held accountable, the city of Buffalo should implement a civilian review/advisory board with democratically elected appointees.
The Buffalo Police Department and Buffalo Common Council should work with the newly established Advisory Council and Police Oversight Committee to implement the policy recommendations that came out of the 2016 community policing survey and subsequent report produced by Partnership for the Public Good entitled “Collaboration, Communication, and Community-Building: A New Model of Policing for 21st Century Buffalo.” The top priorities, as voted on by the community, are listed below:
Bring Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) to Buffalo.
Use Fix-It Tickets for minor offenses, instead of arrests and fines.
Improve and Implement the Buffalo Police Department's Language Access Plan.
Improve transparency, information-sharing, and oversight, including through the new Open Data Buffalo Portal