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Activists dicsuss possible changes for Buffalo police

Mike Desmond/WBFO

Last night, Free the People, Western New York held a meeting in the Belle Center to talk about policing and police. Under an order from Governor Cuomo, Buffalo must appoint a task force to study the Police Department and decide on what changes have to be made to update the agency and see how it handles racial issues.

"The percentage of what the Police Department already has when it comes to participatory budgeting is ridiculous in amount," said Free The People Co-founder Christian Parra who would like to see those funds spent on city education.

A familiar critic of the Buffalo Police Department, former officer Cariol Horne, says its essential there be a residency rule for officers.

"Any officers that live in the city, that know the people and not because they have locked them up but because they have formed a relationship with them to help when there is an issue," Horne said.

A residency rule expired with the expiration of the most recent contract between the department and the Police Benevolent Association. Many suburban police agencies operate under residency rules.


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.