Progress on Buffalo police accreditation

The Buffalo Police Department is getting closer to obtaining professional accreditation from the state, according to police representatives who spoke Tuesday at the Common Council’s Police Oversight Committee.  

As Investigative Post reported last year, the City Charter requires the police to maintain professional accreditation, a good housekeeping stamp of approval that ensures departments are following contemporary best practices. Over 150 departments across New York are accredited with the state’s Law Enforcement Accreditation Program

While the Buffalo police is updating its policies and procedures to comply with the state program  in areas like administration and property maintenance, changes to its training in the use of force and firearms will happen only once police move to their new headquarters over the summer.

All accredited agencies must regularly review the state law on the use of force and the program recommends including “interactive judgement” training, such as shoot/don’t shoot simulations, into the use of force review.   

Buffalo police do not undergo that kind of scenario-based training, where officers are put in life-like, adrenaline-inducing policing situations to practice making use of force decisions. Instead, as Investigative Post reported in 2016, Buffalo police take a multiple-choice pass/fail test and practice shooting at a firing range – neither of which prepare officers for what they’ll encounter on patrol.

“Real life force on force training is important, and we recognize it,” said Captain Jeff Rinaldo after the Police Oversight Committee meeting. The department plans to begin shoot/don’t shoot simulation training in the new police headquarters, he said, where they will have the space and resources to conduct such training.  

Police expect to complete the accreditation process later this year.