Mark Schroeder, candidate for mayor of Buffalo, has released his plan for “Safe Streets,” the third point of his four-point “Compass Plan” for Buffalo, which focuses on increased training for police and emphasizes community policing.
“Everyone deserves a safe place to live and raise their family. As mayor of Buffalo, I will make sure every street is safe,” he said. “Our police union has said officers are starving for training – but they are being ignored by City Hall.”
“Under my administration, our police will have the best training in the nation, helping them to de-escalate dangerous situations, deal with drug addiction and mental illness, and work in tandem with residents to keep our streets safe,” he said.
Schroeder said he will implement continuous training for officers on use of force, defensive tactics, first aid, de-escalation, report writing, and use of firearms.
“Currently officers only receive baseline training with their service weapons once per year at a firing range,” said Schroeder. “I will give our officers firearms training every three months with high-tech simulators that mimic real-life situations. These include shoot/don’t shoot scenarios and night-time shooting familiarization, which many other departments have successfully implemented.”
Schroeder also said officers, citizens, and even the Common Council, have for years requested non-lethal options for police, including Tasers, but they have been ignored.
“Tasers can be a very useful option that can protect the safety of officers and suspects,” said Schroeder. “If I’m elected mayor, officers will have Tasers and the training to use them properly.”
Schroeder’s plan also emphasizes community policing models that work toward strengthening the bond between police and residents. His plan would double the amount of Community Police Officers, the neighborhood liaisons who do everything from working with block clubs to refereeing basketball games for youth.
“Community Police Officers are very popular in the neighborhoods, and they give residents an easy way to interact with police and share their concerns,” said Schroeder. “But there are less than a dozen across the city, in a department with hundreds of employees. I will start by doubling the number of Community Police Officers in every district, and potentially add more in the future.”
Schroeder also said he will re-institute a Career Criminal Taskforce that had success curbing gang activity in the 1990s by gathering intelligence and working with other law-enforcement agencies.
“With the gang violence in this city, it’s inexplicable why this taskforce is no longer in place,” said Schroeder. “As mayor, I will bring back the Career Criminal Taskforce, and enhance it with successful strategies used by other law enforcement agencies around the nation.”
In addition to combating gang activity, Schroeder said he will look to improve everything the police department does by searching far and wide for nationally-renowned programs with proven track records of success.
Sometimes, he said, the answers can be in our own backyard.
“The Rochester Police Department has implemented strategies that have been successful, and that we can learn a great deal from,” said Schroeder. “As mayor, I will never stop working to improve our police department and our city.”
Last week Schroeder unveiled the second point of his Compass Plan for Buffalo, “Employee Excellence,” which was preceded by the first point, “Neighborhood Development.” Next week he will introduce the fourth and final point, his “Workplan.”
“The four-point Compass Plan will bring my new vision for Buffalo to every part of the city – North, South, East, and West,” said Schroeder. “Under my plan, no neighborhood gets left behind.”