Officials from the City of Buffalo decided earlier this month to shut down the Buffalo Police Advisory Board which was originally created to provide city officials with input from residents and community stakeholders about reforms that are needed within the Buffalo Police Department.

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Infighting within the Buffalo Common Council and the Police Advisory Board led several members of the board to resign their positions. Some have said that members of the Common Council have prevented the board from filling vacant positions, which had a limiting effect on their ability to accomplish their mission.

Before the board was disbanded, they had made a few significant suggestions that led to some reforms we're seeing within the Buffalo Police Department now. Requiring officers to use de-escalation tactics and give warnings before firing their weapons was key changes that we're seeing. However, many Buffalonians agree that this is not enough and more reform is needed. Especially with the recent police officer-involved shootings we've seen over the last few weeks, it feels we need a functional and effective advisory board more than ever.

During the March 8th Common Council Meeting, it was discovered that the Advisory Board had been operating without an approved set of bylaws. Bylaws, the legally binding rules that outline how the board will operate, are a key document this board needed to have, and perhaps that's why so many people decided to step away. By the end of the Common Council Meeting, Councilmembers passed a resolution to officially shut down the board and subsequently ordered the City Clerk to create a new one.

Members from the Common Council pledge to reform the group and are currently seeking new members for a new advisory committee. If you are interested in serving your community on the new Community Police Advisory Committee, you can submit your application to the Common Council online here, you can email your resume to them here, or you can drop off your resume to the Buffalo City Clerk at Buffalo City Hall on the 13th Floor.

You can watch the entire Common Council Meeting here.

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