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Common Council abolishes city's Police Advisory Board, establishing a new one

Four Common Councilmembers sitting in chambers.
Mike Desmond
Common Council Majority Leader David Rivera (second from left) announced the new Police Advisory Board Tuesday in chambers.

Buffalo's Police Advisory Board is no more, but stay tuned for a new board.

The board was set up by the Common Council in 2018 to study and make recommendations about policing, in the wake of a series of violent deaths involving police around the country and some violent incidents in Buffalo. It did make suggestions, many of which were adopted by the Council.

In recent months, the advisory board apparently became involved in toxic in-fighting to the point five of the 11 members quit.

Speaking to the Council Tuesday, Majority Leader David Rivera said complaints of internal infighting led to an investigation which found a failure to follow the rules, like bylaws.

"The goals, the mission, the succession, the election of officers. So we promptly put together a resolution requesting that the advisory board submit bylaws to the Common Council and that any future members would be confirmed by the Council," Rivera said.

Rivera said He said there was a virtual meeting with the surviving board members about abolishing the board, and Council staff has already started to put together legislation for a new advisory board, including provisions for standard public agency operations, like bylaws and Council confirmation of board members, after background checks for criminal records and residency.

He said former board members did not want Council confirmation.

"We commit to putting together a board that will continue to do the work, to continue to engage the community that is diverse and reflective of all the city," he said. "I want to thank the board members, the previous board members, as well for all the work and dedication and commitment that they have shown over the years."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.