BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- A Western New York organization is working to improve the relationship between police and the community. Open Buffalo released the results of its policing survey on Monday in the wake of violence in Baton Rouge.
“We want to be proactive,” said Franchelle Hart, the executive director. “We want to be collaborative to make sure these issues aren’t going to happen here and they key to making sure that doesn’t happen is really relationship building.”
Over the last four months, Open Buffalo and volunteers have surveyed more than 2,000 people across 30 zip codes in the city.
“Men and women of different races, ages, genders and class statuses,” said Steve Peraza, a policy analyst with Partnership for the Public Good.
The results show 51 percent of people believe Buffalo Police officers will help them when in need. About 50 percent have a favorable impression of BPD.
Thirty-one percent think the police do not respect women, 53 percent think police do not respect young people, and 60 percent claim police do not respect people of color.
Open Buffalo said young people reported they felt targeted while elderly said they wanted to see more police officers on the streets.
Open Buffalo is now launching a community engagement series to open a dialogue about how the police can better serve the community.
“Trends in the data show residents want police to increase their involvement with community in non-enforcement settings, the police to communicate better and more frequently with community members and police to make concerted effort to respect men and women they encounter on duty,” said Peraza.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said the city welcomes the conversation.
“While we have made great progress, we know more work needs to be done,” said Mayor Brown. “We are focused, we are determined to partner with members of the community to do that work every single day.”
Mayor Brown said Buffalo Police do have a community policing program in place where officers attend block club meetings and neighborhood events just to talk with residents. He also told News 4 the district police stations are open once a month so the public can talk with officers.