BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo police could be doing a better job of community policing, according to a local non-profit that released a months-long study on the topic Friday afternoon.
But both law enforcement officials in charge of the department’s community policing efforts and the group that conducted the study acknowledged the department should build on recent successful efforts.
The Partnership for the Public Good said Buffalo police should focus on five main areas.
Those include: Promoting community policing through culture change, training, incentives and policies; increasing diversity and cultural competence; improving transparency and information sharing; promoting alternatives to arrest and diversion programs for vulnerable populations; and, increasing the use of crime prevention through environmental design.
Members of the group said the department should take a less aggressive approach in some instances, including with its public housing taskforce.
“The way I should feel about the police officers who secure my community, it should be the same as how I feel about my neighbors, my mailman,” said community leader Denise Walter. “There should be a relationship there, a trusted relationship, a respectful relationship. And I’m hoping to see that shift happen here in the city.”
Buffalo police say they’re always interested in hearing from the community about the job they’re doing.
“It’s a philosophy, and we want everybody to to feel good about it,’ said Buffalo Capt. Steven Nichols, who leads the department’s 13 community police officers. “And we want the community to feel that they can partner with us, and we want to empower them so that they can share the responsibility of keeping their neighborhood safe.”
The Partnership for Public Good will host a forum to discuss the report’s findings at 5:30 p.m., Monday at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 724 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. The forum will include a discussion of the report as well as ways to learn more and get engaged in efforts to improve community-police relations. It’s free and open to the public.