BUFFALO, N.Y. — Due to the rise in crime in Buffalo over the past year, in part due to the COVID pandemic, the Buffalo Police Department is putting a heavy emphasis on community policing.
On Thursday, officers from the D-District went out into the community, alongside other first responders and community organizations, to meet and greet the people they serve.
The kids and adults in the community joined officers outside of the Elmwood Village Charter School on Hertel Avenue for a day of fun.
Chief Joseph Fahey says this is part of the city's effort to reduce violence.
"Community policing is the future of policing," Fahey says. "It's a big focus for the Commissioner and it's good for our officers to be out here."
Officer Christine Sikora has been a Community Police Officer in Buffalo for seven years, and she says her job is different than patrol, for good reason.
"I'm able to go into communities, form block clubs, get communities engaged on their block, go into more problem-solving techniques, do things patrol doesn't necessarily have time to do," Sikora says.
There was a backpack drive, dunk tank, K-9 demonstration, book drive, face painting and much more for families to enjoy throughout the afternoon.
Officer Sikora says, days like these are all about showing the community a different side of police work: the human side.
"A lot of the time police show up and it's a negative situation," Sikora says. "We want people to see police can be positive in your life as well. You know we're human beings we like to interact with them."
Different district have different community policing days, but their over goal, officers say, is the same: to bridge the divide.
Learn more about the Buffalo Reform Agenda, including police reform, by clicking here.