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City of Buffalo Press Releases

Posted on: January 22, 2020

Mayor Brown, Police Commissioner Lockwood Meet with Cities United

News - Cities United

Buffalo, N.Y. – Mayor Byron W. Brown, joined by Police Commissioner Byron C. Lockwood and representatives from Buffalo Public Schools, Buffalo Peacemakers, Say Yes to Education, and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, today announced that he was meeting with Cities United Executive Director Anthony Smith and Quaniqua Carthan, who traveled to Buffalo this week to learn more about the significant public safety initiatives and programs underway in our community that are helping to improve neighborhood safety citywide and reduce gun violence, specifically among African American men and boys.  City of Buffalo Chief Diversity Officer Shatorah Donovan and Kenneth Simmons, Buffalo’s Cities United Coordinator, were also in attendance at today’s meeting.

“There is no one strategy, approach or program that leads to a reduction in gun related crime, which is why my Administration continues to make a concerted effort to embrace the right resources, with the right people to achieve real results that make a difference in people’s lives,” said Mayor Brown, noting that since 2014, the overall number of firearm-related crimes in Buffalo has fallen significantly, and the number of firearm-crimes last year was tied for the lowest number it has been in a decade.  “I thank Cities United for coming to Buffalo to learn what we are doing, a positive sign that what we are doing works here.”

Cities United is an organization that was founded in 2011 by the Mayors of Philadelphia and New Orleans, and of which Buffalo is a proud member.  It’s dedicated to finding best practices to reducing gun violence and sharing them with other Mayors across the country.

Anthony D. Smith, Executive Director, Cities United, stated, “Since the beginning of 2017, Cities United has watched the city of Buffalo come together to tackle some of the city’s most pressing issues. Mayor Brown and his team have convened stakeholders from all sectors to help them come up with holistic solutions that put the citizens of Buffalo first. We are looking forward to continuing our partnership, as the city continues its efforts to make sure those most impacted by community violence are safe, healthy and hopeful.”

Since 2006, the Brown Administration has made a concerted effort to improve public safety in neighborhoods citywide and ensure that every officer in the Buffalo Police Department serves as a community police officer. 

A number of effective initiatives are in place including the following:

  • Custom Notifications and Mini Custom Notifications Program
  • This program that has received national recognition for its success; a special detail visits homes of individuals who may be the next shooting victim or suspect and provides them with employment and educational opportunities
  • In 2019, the Buffalo Police Department targeted over 300 individuals and performed 534 Custom and Mini Custom Notifications to individuals. In 2019, there were 45 less people shot than in prior years
  • The Buffalo Police Department is committed to increasing its Community Outreach Programs resulting in increased trust between the community and police
  • BPD Neighborhood Engagement Team (NET) is a unit in partnership with the Police Athletic League of Buffalo - that helps tutor kids after school, develops sports programs during summer months, organizes clothing drives and fund-raising events
  • Police and Community Together (P.A.C.T.) Citizen Police Academy is an 8-week program for City residents who learn first-hand what officers go through on a daily basis; 51 graduates in 2019
  • BPD21C
  • To reduce barriers to people of color who wanted to join the police force, Mayor Brown created BPD 21C, a first-of-its-kind police scholarship program that revolutionized community-based policing. Since its inception in 2016, 35 City residents and BPD21C graduates now serve as police officers and reflect the demographics of our community
  • Buffalo achieved full accreditation from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Accreditation Council; BPD is now the largest City accredited law enforcement agency in New York State

The Brown Administration’s strategy to reducing gun violence in Buffalo also includes major partnerships with City schools, community centers, block club leaders, pastors and other religious leaders, and young people.

Dr. Kriner Cash stated, "Our daily MBK Creed indicates our strong commitment to brotherhood, community, and leadership as we recite the following words, ’We are young men who respect ourselves and others, and are passionate about our family and committed to our community’. This well-developed belief system in the Male Academy program is indicative of our practices and strategies to deter gun violence in our community."

Strong partnerships and dedicated stakeholders, like the Buffalo Peacemakers, have helped Buffalo develop new inroads in the community and teach young people that there are alternative ways to resolve conflicts.

“Our city is on the rise and we believe all our residents should have the opportunity to take part and fulfill their highest potential, especially boys and young men of color. We are grateful for all the partners, locally and nationally, that are working to empower young men of color to be agents of change in our community. Together, we are creating a more vibrant and inclusive Greater Buffalo region with opportunity for all,” stated Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President/CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

“Only through a combined prolonged collaborative effort of government, education, nonprofit, philanthropy and community can we continue to improve our neighborhoods and provide greater opportunities for the young men of color and all youth in our city,” said Tommy McClam, Senior Director of Boys and Men of Color Initiatives for Say Yes Buffalo. “We are proud of the strides made here at Say Yes Buffalo through our ‘Breaking Barriers’ Youth Leadership Council for young men of color. Through this initiative, young men are learning that they have the ability to effect positive change for their community and have begun doing so in many areas where outcomes have been perpetually negative. We are on our way, and I am confident that through continued youth leadership development supported by the entire community, we will continue to move the mark on every issue affecting our youth, including gun violence.”

Additional public safety initiatives include the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment program, the Pre-Apprenticeship initiative, as well as the Buffalo Employment and Training Center’s Re-Entry Program.

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