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Common Council's Police Oversight Committee meets for first time in years

WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

The Buffalo Common Council's Police Oversight Committee met for the first time in several years Tuesday at City Hall. The panel was reinstated after some recent high profile incidents involving city police officers.

Common Council president and Ellicott District lawmaker Darius Pridgen stressed the need for officers to be more "customer service" oriented.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda appeared before the committee. Derenda state it will be part of the department's upcoming mandatory ethics training.

"And to make sure people treat people properly. As I said, you treat people the way you want to be treated. The way you want your family members to be treated," said Derenda.

Derenda said a recent agreement with the police union will allow the department to expedite disciplinary hearings.

"You have to be professional at all times and that's what we expect from our officers," noted Derenda.

Niagara District Common Council member David Rivera said it is the Council's job to provide oversight to ask questions about training, manpower levels and appropriation, but is not there to investigate.

"We're not going to be investigating the Buffalo Police Department. It's not our job," said Rivera. 

However, Rivera told reporters they will take complaints.  "We will pass them on to the appropriate authorities.  Nothing is going to get swept under the rug," said Rivera. 

The Commissioner and more than a dozen department brass attended the Police Oversight meeting.

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