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Mayor Brown signs Executive Order revising BPD 'no-knock' search warrant policy

Mayor says 'No-Knock' search warrant orders should be given only when there is a clear and present danger to the community or police officers.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown Thursday announced the latest additions to his Police Department and City of Buffalo Police Reform agenda.

The mayor announced he has signed an Executive Order revising the Buffalo Police Department's search warrant policy that includes limits as to when a 'No Knock' warrant can be employed. The change means the department will no longer request permission from a judge for a no knock warrant unless there is a clear and present danger to the safety of the police and/or the community. In the absence of that danger, officers will have to announce and knock and give those inside a reasonable amount of time to come to the door and respond.

"No knock’ search warrants are a tool that is best used infrequently, selectively, and only when there is a legitimate concern for community or officer safety. Overuse of that tool creates an environment that actually endangers officers and erodes residents’ expectation of constitutional protections within their homes. Protecting the constitutional rights of residents, and especially Black residents who experienced systemic racism, is a primary concern. That is why we are also establishing the Public Protection Detail to safeguard residents’ First Amendment rights.”

Mayor Brown also announced the formation of a Public Protection Detail (PPD) that will use each police district chief's existing community policing network to coordinate with groups and individuals who want to organize and hold a peaceful demonstration. The PPD will be overseen by Deputy Police Commissioner Barbara Lark, who said training is now underway for department member's who will be part of the detail.

The PPD will formalize the process of holding public demonstrations, representing a new approach to protecting citizens right to free expression. Department representatives will work with the city's Law Department and city community liaisons to move the process from one of enforcement to one of protection. 

The City community liaisons are:

• Shatorah Donovan, Chief Diversity Officer

• Oswaldo Mestre, Director of the Office of Citizen Services and Chief Service Officer 

• Jessica Lazarin, First Deputy Corporation Counsel and Director of the Office of New Americans

• Kenneth Simmons, Director of Youth Recreation Services and a Chaplain to the Buffalo Police Department

• Juweria Dahir, Community Engagement Planner

As part of the new detail, anyone who feels their rights were violated at a public demonstration can file a report with the Buffalo Police Department's Internal Affairs Division and marking it to the attention of Deputy Commissioner Lark. 

A summary of other initiatives that are contained in the Buffalo Reform Agenda can be found here.

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