Police Commissioner addresses riot preparedness

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo’s Police Commissioner voiced a strong statement as he fielded questions from Buffalo’s Common council Thursday during budget hearings.

“We do have plans to deal with any situation that takes place,” Commissioner Daniel Derenda said.

Thursday during City budget hearings some lawmakers vowed to free up more funds in the next budget if it is necessary to better prepare Buffalo Police to handle a riot situation like the violence that broke out in Baltimore.

The President of the Buffalo Police benevolent Association, Kevin Kennedy told News Four on Monday that he doesn’t believe the nearly 400 patrol officers have  had any recent training in handling riots, nor does he believe the City owns any updated riot gear.

“Buffalo has never seen a ten year block, a ten year decade when there hasn’t been protest or riots” said Kennedy.  In the nineties, there were the Spring of Life abortion protests. Just a few years ago, Police had to deal with Occupy Buffalo. But Kennedy says the force is not trained or equipped for what happened in Baltimore.

Thursday morning, the Police Commissioner was pressed on the issue by Council members.

“Either they are trained or they’re not trained,or there is the equipment of there isn’t, so do we have that training?” asked South District member Chris Scanlon.

“We do have equipment, we are working on a brand new unit,” said Commissioner Derenda. “Our officers have been trained in some riot training over the years. We’re planning on bringing  state of the art training, start another emergency response team and to train every officer. I’m not gonna get into a ‘tit for tat’ with the union president who makes erroneous statements.”

PBA President Kevin Kennedy says he’s looked and hasn’t found any riot gear or proof of training. “I don’t understand. Does he think he’s above answering these questions?”

Council member, David Rivera just wants a straight answer. “So, I guess the only way to do it is show us the documents or show us the equipment. We want to see it.”

“I don’t think we should wait a long time and the only reason is because Baltimore didn’t know Baltimore was gonna happen. It just happened.” said Council President Darius Pridgen.

Council Member Demone Smith will make a written request to the Police Commissioner to see exactly what kind of riot gear and training the City has available. If there is not enough, Smith suggest spending some of the $200,000 the City has available from asset forfeiture funds.

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