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BPD growing more diverse with new recruits

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The future of the Buffalo Police Department is looking more diverse. Recently, 40 new recruits were sworn in. Eight of them are part of a scholarship program titled Buffalo Police Department 21st Century. Launched in 2016, BPD21C is designed to help create a police force that looks like the people they protect.

Mayor Byron Brown said the program has been recognized by the federal justice department as a best practice in policing.

“We work consistently to build good community police relations,” said Brown. “That’s something that has to be worked on all the time, every single day, and it’s something that we really focus on here in the city of Buffalo.”

Some recruits of the BPD21C have already been to the academy and will be able to hit the streets in just a few weeks.

“They are recruited to reflect the diversity of the city of Buffalo so that we have a police department that mirrors the demographics and the diversity of our city,” said Brown. “There always is some attrition. We have a very experienced police department, so there will be retirements. So we need to have recruits that are trained and prepared to fill the ranks of the Buffalo Police Department.”

Recently retired Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda was replaced last week by First Deputy Commissioner Byron Lockwood on an interim basis. Brown said the transition of Lockwood has been extremely smooth so far.

“Commissioner Lockwood has been a Deputy Commissioner in the Buffalo Police Department for 12 years,” said Brown. “He’s been a member of the Buffalo police Department for 34 years, so he has been either Deputy Commissioner of Operations or First Deputy Commissioner. He has risen through the ranks of the Buffalo Police Department.”

So what is next for the Buffalo Police Department?

“We will be testing body cameras from two different companies to see how the BPD might employ that technology. We will be working toward accreditation to make sure we are an accredited department,” said Brown.

Most of the newly sworn in recruits will spend the next six months at the academy. That is managed through Erie Community College, where recruits will receive 30 college credit hours.

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