Scanlon seeks answers from Buffalo police leadership

Buffalo
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo Common Council President Pro Temp. Christopher Scanlon is calling for a meeting with Buffalo police leadership.

The names mentioned were Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood, Deputy Commissioners Barbara Lark and Joseph Gramaglia, and all other leaders in the department.

Scanlon says he wrote a letter to David Rivera, the chair of the Council’s Police Oversight Committee, calling for an emergency meeting with the leaders.

“As the days go on, I find myself with more questions than answers,” Scanlon says. “We have heard the public rallying cries of the need for police reform, yet we seem to only be given a vague understanding of the command structure and leadership makeup of the Buffalo Police Department.”

Here are the questions Scanlon says he would like answers to.

  • Who makes the determination to have units, such as ERT or SWAT, clear an area?
  • Does someone within the ERT act as a commander? Do they give orders?
  • What tactics are ERT members, and the department as a whole, trained to use during crowd control? What is the purpose of these tactics? Are they considered best practices? Who developed them?
  • In situations such as Saturday, May 30th and Monday, June 1st, when protesting turns to violence, who within the BPD is commanding the situation? Who determines how many officers are called in and where they are dispatched to? Who determines when tactics such as teargas or pepper bullets are used? What is the communication structure to ensure that from the top down, everyone knows exactly what they are supposed to be doing?
  • The Internal Affairs Division investigates complaints against rank and file members of the Buffalo Police Department – who oversees management?
  • Mistakes have been made in the past 10 days, what protocols are in place to prevent them from happening again in the future?

Scanlon’s letter was placed on the agenda for Tuesday afternoon’s Common Council meeting.

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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