Buffalo, NY—Mayor Byron W. Brown announced that the preliminary draft of his Commission on Police Reform and Social Reconstruction’s recommendations are now available online for the public to review and comment on. The Mayor announced his intention to establish the Commission last summer as part of his Buffalo Reform Agenda. The Commission, which is comprised of community advocates, criminal justice reform experts, representatives from the District Attorney’s office, the Legal Aid Bureau, the NAACP, organized labor, Buffalo’s faith community, as well as members of the Buffalo Common Council and the Buffalo Police Department, developed this draft report based on their work and engagement with a wide variety of public safety and community stakeholders.
Mayor Brown said, “These recommendations are another critical step in my Administration’s ongoing effort to make the criminal justice system more restorative in nature and responsive to the experiences of historically over-policed Black residents and other residents of color. In addition to making concrete recommendations the City should undertake to improve the quality of policing, the Commission’s work also contains proposals that directly address the economic and social conditions which are at the root of the public safety and racial justice challenges confronting our City. I look forward to my continuing collaboration with the members of the Commission, the Common Council, and other partners in advancing these—and other additional recommendations—in our shared work of making Buffalo a more equitable and safer city.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order #203, the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, on June 12, 2020. The order requires local governments to convene a commission consisting of a broad group of stakeholders to examine policing efforts in their community and develop recommendations which would improve the quality of policing, help eliminate the mistreatment and discrimination Black communities have experienced too frequently, and adopt steps to end the racial inequities Black people face in the criminal justice system. In September of 2020, Mayor Brown announced the formation of his Commission on Police Reform and Social Reconstruction; something he had promised to do as part of the Buffalo Reform Agenda, and which would now serve as the local commission to develop a set of recommendations in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order.
The Commission has been meeting since November of 2020 and these draft recommendations reflect some of the reform efforts that have already been undertaken over the last year, which include: the banning of chokeholds, prohibition against unnecessary no-knock warrants, the formation of the Behavioral Health Team, the issuance of stop receipts, and ending the practice of detained arrests for low-level offenses, while also containing additional proposals the Commission has developed for the City’s leadership to consider. In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order, these preliminary recommendations are being made publicly available and residents will have an opportunity to submit comments. The draft resolution can be found on the City website’s main page at www.buffalony.gov. The public comment period will be open from Monday, March 22nd through Friday, March 26th at 11:00 AM and residents will be able to email their comments to PRC_COBCommission@buffalony.gov or call a dedicated City phone number, 716-851-5348 to leave a voice message.
Go to www.buffalony.gov/commission to download a copy of the draft resolution.