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When to arrest and when not to arrest? New guidelines start for Buffalo Police

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Wednesday marks the first day of Phase One of the City of Buffalo's Reform Agenda, including a change in police policy regarding arrests for low-level offenses. While this will cover many cases, Mayor Byron Brown indicated during the announced rollout that there will still be occasions when suspects will still be handcuffed and taken into custody.

The most obvious exceptions are cases involving sexual abuse or violent acts. Brown, summarizing the change in police policy, says there will be other exceptions as well. (Click here for more details on General Order #2020-009.)

"Any situation that requires an arrest by state law, an arrest will still be made," he said. "But there are volumes of other situations of non-violent crime that do not require a custodial arrest. And in those cases, an appearance ticket will be processed. It is still technically an arrest. But the police will explain to an individual that they will have to appear on their own recognizance at some time. They will get an appearance ticket, and they will be allowed to go on their way."

The call to end arrests for most low-level offenses was first announced by the mayor on June 10, when he stood with community leaders, Buffalo Police representatives and two National Football League players to call for social reform in the interest of eliminating racism in several sectors, including criminal justice.

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