BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Community leaders are launching a new foundation to support the city department.

Its goal is to fulfill public safety needs the department says are un-met. The question now is – why is a Buffalo Police Department foundation needed?

According to the city, last year the police department received over $91 million. In the 2023-24 adopted budget, it’s well over $94 million.

“There is a lot of equipment, a lot of training opportunities that sometimes the budget doesn’t allow. Sometimes there’s too many different angles to try to get what we need done. So, that’s where the foundations come into play,” Gramaglia said.

Foundations like this aren’t uncommon in the U.S., as comparable departments like Philadelphia and Columbus all have them. Gramaglia says this way of creating added funds doesn’t mean that public safety needs are not being met by the city.

“The city has done a very good job. The mayor has done a great job of getting us what we need,” Gramaglia said. “This is kind of a step above and beyond. There’s needs and then there’s wants.”

Some of those wants are added training, resources and specialized equipment in what they call ‘critical needs.’ But if they are so critical why is the city not providing them? And what type of message does this send to the city council and unions?

“The council, who also works within a budget, is going to be very happy to see that there’s outside entities that are going to help fund the police department,” Gramaglia said. “We talked about the purchase of new weapons and holsters. What comes in those new holsters is the signal sidearm that activates the body cameras through Bluetooth technology.”

The budget calls for only some of that new technology, but not all of it. They hope that the foundation can fill in those gaps for the additional resources.

An anonymous donor gave the first $500. That was matched by the Hope Rises network, specifically targeted to the BPD canine unit, going towards a monument being built to recognize the canines.

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Dillon Morello is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has been part of the News 4 team since September of 2023. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.