Buffalo, NY - Mayor Byron W. Brown today joined with Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen, Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron C. Lockwood and Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo to celebrate the official opening of the City of Buffalo Police & Fire Headquarters, at 68 Niagara Square.
The redevelopment of the former Michael J. Dillon U.S. Courthouse realizes Mayor Brown’s goal of creating a joint police and fire public safety headquarters. The ambitious retrofit of the former courthouse, also reflects Mayor Brown’s continued commitment to preserving and repurposing historic buildings, while increasing investment in Buffalo’s downtown.
“With the City of Buffalo Police & Fire Headquarters at the Michael J. Dillon U.S. Courthouse Building, my Administration has achieved the goal of bringing our police and fire department headquarters under one roof. The joint headquarters offers both Departments the technology and resources they to need meet our City’s increasing demand for critical public safety services,” Mayor Brown said. “This project also brings new life to this historic building, while making a substantial reinvestment in the heart of downtown Buffalo. I am grateful to our Department of Public Works for spearheading this important project.”
“This move translates to a safer Buffalo, and will allow the delivery of services to be more efficient. The creation of a joint headquarters for our police and fire departments will reduce the maintenance and overhead costs, which at the end of the day will save the City of Buffalo money,” Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen said.
Today’s ceremonial opening of the City of Buffalo Police & Fire Headquarters at the Michael J. Dillon U.S. Courthouse, started with the decommissioning of the Buffalo Police Department headquarters building. That building, located at 74 Franklin St., had housed Buffalo police since 1937.
“By combining Police and Fire Headquarters under one roof, in a building that’s been retrofitted to meet our needs in the 21st Century, we can serve and protect our residents more efficiently and effectively. Today marks the start of a new era for our department,” Commissioner Lockwood said.
“Having our command and administrative staff co-located with our counterparts from the Buffalo Police Department, greatly enhances our ability to plan, coordinate, and execute a multitude of complex interdepartmental initiatives, resulting in a more effective and efficient delivery of emergency services for our residents and visitors," Commissioner Renaldo said.
The City of Buffalo acquired the former courthouse in November 2016 from the U.S. General Service Administration at a cost of $1, and has spent the past two years redeveloping the 82-year-old former courthouse into a joint public safety headquarters.
Key changes to the 181,000-square-foot building include: construction of high-tech evidence, property, camera and training rooms for the BPD, creation of a media briefing room, , and installation of technology and security measures throughout the structure, including swipe card-only access to over 120 doors, state-of-the-art camera systems, and fire suppression.
The redevelopment also included asbestos removal, electrical and data rewiring and upgrades to the building’s HVAC systems.
While much has changed at the former courthouse, the original courtrooms on the 6th floor were retained, and are undergoing restoration to their original design and construction. The building’s ornate lobby was polished up and new exterior signage installed.
A new mural, titled City and Service, by Buffalo-based artist James Cooper III, has been installed in the lobby. A dyed-concrete, outdoor sculpture, by artist Jonathan Casey, will be installed later this fall. The work, titled Connectedness, is done in red, blue, and yellow-gray, representing the colors of the Police and Fire Departments, and fitting with the structure’s Art Moderne, sandstone exterior.
Built in 1936, the building, which is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, was prominently featured in the film “Marshall,” about the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.