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City of Buffalo, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The commissioner of police shall be the head of the department of police.
The commissioner of police shall be appointed by the mayor, subject to confirmation by the council, and shall be removable at the pleasure of the mayor. On the removal without cause of a commissioner of police, who at the time of appointment as commissioner of police was a member of the department of police, he or she shall be restored at his or her request to the rank and duty held at the time of appointment. In the event of the death of the commissioner of police, or a vacancy in that office for any other cause whatsoever, the mayor shall appoint a commissioner of police to serve for a period not to exceed one hundred and eighty days, which temporary appointment shall not be subject to confirmation by the council.
The commissioner of police shall have either (a) a degree from an accredited college or university and at least five years experience in law enforcement; or (b) an equivalent of training and experience sufficient to indicate ability to perform the duties of this position.
The commissioner of police shall be charged with the power and duty of governing and disciplining the department and the members of the police force and all subordinates and employees of the department, and to that end may, from time to time, make and enforce orders, rules and regulations not inconsistent with this act or any general law, which orders, rules or regulations shall have the same force and effect as if herein specially enacted. Existing rules and regulations shall continue until changed.
[Amended 6-19-2003 by L.L. No. 9-2003,[1] effective 6-26-2003 ]
There shall be two deputy commissioners of police in the exempt class of the civil service, with power to act generally for and in place of the commissioner of police, who shall be appointed and removed at the pleasure of the commissioner of police and shall perform such other and additional duties as may, from time to time, be assigned to them by the commissioner of police. On the removal, as hereinbefore provided, of a deputy commissioner of police, who, at the time of appointment as a deputy commissioner of police was a member of the department of police, he or she shall, before such removal becomes effective, be restored at his or her request to the rank and duty held at the time of appointment.
[1]
Editor's Note: Section 3 of this local law provided that it would take effect 7-1-2003.
The deputy commissioners of police shall have either (a.) a degree from an accredited college or university and at least five years experience in law enforcement; or (b) an equivalent of training and experience sufficient to indicate ability to perform the duties of this position.
[Amended 6-19-2003 by L.L. No. 9-2003,[1] effective 6-26-2003; 10-3-2006 by L.L. No. 16-2006, effective 10-16-2006]
There shall be seven chiefs of police in the non-competitive class of the civil service, who shall be appointed and removed at the pleasure of the commissioner of police and shall perform such other and additional duties as may, from time to time, be assigned to them by the commissioner of police or a deputy commissioner of police. On the removal, as hereinbefore provided, of a chief of police, who, at the time of appointment as a chief of police was a member of the department of police, he or she shall, before such removal becomes effective, be restored at his or her request to the rank and duty held at the time of appointment.
[1]
Editor's Note: Section 3 of this local law provided that it would take effect 7-1-2003.
[Amended 9-2-2003 by L.L. No. 11-2003, effective 9-18-2003]
The chiefs of police shall be appointed from ranks not lower than lieutenant.
The department of police shall be charged with the power and duty to preserve peace and good order in the city, to prevent so far as possible violations of law, to detect and apprehend all persons violating the law, to protect the rights of persons and property and to safeguard the public health.
The police districts and the boundaries thereof, as now established, shall be continued with power in the commissioner of police to change the boundaries thereof, and with the approval of the council to add to or diminish the number thereof by order, rule or regulation.
The council shall designate by ordinance what employees of the department shall be deemed members of the police force within the meaning of this act.
Upon an emergency declared by the mayor, the commissioner of police may appoint extra police officers with or without pay to do police duty until the mayor declares the emergency at an end, when their employment shall cease. During such employment they shall possess all the powers conferred by law on peace officers.
Members of the police force shall possess all the powers conferred by law upon peace officers, and any search warrant or warrant of arrest issued by any magistrate of the state may be executed in any part of the state by members of the police force. Each member of the police force shall have authority to arrest without process any person committing, threatening, or attempting to commit any violation of an ordinance of the city.
The commissioner of police and each captain of police within his or her district may empower in writing any member of the police force to examine the books and premises of any pawnbroker, junk dealer or dealer in secondhand merchandise in search of stolen property or suspected offenders against the law, and a police officer so authorized having a pawnbroker's receipt or ticket in his possession may examine the property deposited thereon, but such property shall not be taken from the pawnbroker without due process of law.
All lost or abandoned property, or property stolen or suspected of having been stolen or property being or suspected of being the proceeds of crime coming into the custody of any police officer or of any court in the city shall be delivered to the custody of the police department by such police officer or by order of said court to be held pending determination of its ownership or other disposition and shall be registered in a book kept for the purpose containing among other things the name and address of the person from whom taken, a description of the property, the place and time of seizure with the general circumstances, the name and address of the police officer or magistrate by whom delivered, the name and address of the owner, if ascertained, and, if not, the claimants thereto and the final disposition thereof.
Lost or abandoned property so received and not stolen or suspected of having been stolen and not being or suspected of being the proceeds of crime shall be delivered to the owner upon proof of ownership and upon payment of the reasonable charges incurred by the department in connection with the taking and possession thereof, and the commissioner of police may require a bond from the claimant to indemnify the city and all members of the police force and employees of the police department against all claims, demands, suits, costs and damages arising by reason of or in any manner growing out of the delivery of the property to the claimant. If such property is of slight value or the possession of which by any person is prohibited by law or for the possession of which a permit or license is required by law, or the retention of which by the department might endanger public health or safety, the commissioner of police may order the destruction thereof.
Stolen property or property suspected of having been stolen, or property being or suspected of being the proceeds of crime, shall be held by the police department pending the determination of ownership thereof as provided in the code of criminal procedure or by other legal action or proceeding.
If any property described in this section shall remain unclaimed for three months after its seizure, the commissioner of police, unless the property shall be money, shall cause the same to be sold at public auction on notice of the time and place of the sale published once, at least one week before the sale, in the official publication or publications designated by the council, and the proceeds thereof shall be paid to the director of the treasury accompanied by a certificate of such sale stating the sale price and the reasonable expense incurred by the city in the seizure and preservation of the property. The city may be a purchaser on such sale. If the property so held unclaimed for such period shall be money, it shall be paid by the commissioner to the director of the treasury accompanied by a report of the commissioner of the circumstances surrounding the seizure, retention and payment thereof.
Pursuant to section 1224 of the vehicle and traffic law, subdivision 6(a), as amended by chapter 795 of the laws of 1974, the city of Buffalo may convert in any calendar year up to one percent of its unclaimed abandoned vehicles not affected by subdivision 2 of section 1224 of the vehicle and traffic law or two such vehicles, whichever is greater, to its own use.
Police officers shall not wear uniforms, except while on actual duty or in going to or returning from their tour of duty. The commissioner of police may also authorize the wearing of the department uniform and use of other equipment deemed necessary for certain off-duty employment of sworn police personnel within the city limits.
The commissioner of police shall be charged with the power and duty to establish a citizen complaint process which shall include the following:
(a) 
Publishing a brochure precisely explaining the professional standards policy;
(b) 
Developing a standard complaint control form;
(c) 
Establishing and maintaining a comprehensive management information system which would record each complaint, the date of each complaint, action taken, referrals, investigations, disposition, discipline and response to each complainant including the date of each response;
(d) 
Publishing an annual report which is made available to the public, summarizing the activities of the professional standards division;
(e) 
Establishing a list of alternative sites where citizens may obtain standard complaint forms and where citizens may file complaints; and
(f) 
Establishing a conciliation process for certain complaints.
(g) 
Publish a semi-annual report on the department's use of exceptional police controls and deterrents including but not limited to sprays, dogs and special squads.
The commissioner of police shall seek, obtain and maintain accreditation of the department of police by an agency or organization generally recognized and accepted by law enforcement officials in New York for certifying compliance with generally accepted law enforcement training, policies and procedures and other relevant techniques and methods of operation.
No member of the department shall circulate subscription papers, sell tickets or collect money or solicit donations, prizes or gifts for charitable or any other purposes, except as permitted by ordinance. Any such member who shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall be subject to dismissal.
[Added 11-16-2004 by L.L. No. 10-2004, effective 11-24-2004]
1. 
The commissioner of police, on application of any person or corporation showing the necessity therefor, may appoint Buffalo Special Police Officers to do special duties required by the applicant, without any compensation from the city of Buffalo, provided that the person to be appointed submits proof of the following:
(a) 
U.S. citizen 21 years of age or older;
(b) 
A physical and mental health examination acceptable to and approved by the commissioner of police;
(c) 
Complete training to discharge his/her duties, specifying his/her knowledge, experience and ability to handle firearms as required by New York State law, and training as provided by the 120 hour basic Peace Officer Course with Firearms, acceptable to and approved by the commissioner of police;
(d) 
A current roster listing all Buffalo Special Police Officers, including the name, current address and phone number. The Buffalo Special Police shall be responsible for providing any updated information regarding its members within five (5) business days of any changes to the commissioner of police.
(e) 
All Buffalo Special Police Officer applicants must obtain a criminal background check prior to commencing any training for membership. A Buffalo Special Police Officer cannot have been arrested or convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense. If any Buffalo Special Police Officer is arrested and/or convicted of any crime, the commissioner of police may remove that member from the current roster, and relieve that individual of any duties or authority as outlined in this chapter.
(f) 
The Buffalo Special Police shall provide a list of the tour of duty for each officer, including but not limited to, the location and general district covered by that officer, and the general working hours assigned to that officer.
(g) 
Provide proof of an insurance policy in the amount of at least $1,500,000, with a maximum per claim amount of $100,000, holding the city of Buffalo, and any agents of the city of Buffalo, harmless of any liability incurred to any individual, corporation or any other entity, due to the actions or inactions taken by the Buffalo Special Police or any Buffalo Special Police Officers while performing their duties as outlined by this chapter.
2. 
The duties of the Buffalo Special Police shall be limited to the following functions as approved by the commissioner of police:
(a) 
Walk the beat, observe and report in the assigned areas as described in § 1(f) of this section, of any criminal or suspicious activity to the Buffalo Police Department;
(b) 
Under no circumstances shall the Buffalo Special Police attempt to perform the duties of a Buffalo Police Officer, impersonate a Buffalo Police Officer, or interfere with a Buffalo Police Officer performing his/her duties and/or conducting an investigation pursuant to his/her duties as a Buffalo Police Officer.
(c) 
Buffalo Special Police Officers shall have no additional arrest powers beyond that of an ordinary citizen, and do not have any powers reserved and/or performed exclusively by the Buffalo Police Department.
(d) 
Buffalo Special Police uniforms, including but not limited to shirts, pants, badges, coats, and hats, shall clearly indicate the Buffalo Special Police name and insignia, and must be approved by the commissioner of police.
(e) 
Buffalo Special Police vehicles shall clearly indicate the Buffalo Special Police name and insignia, and must be approved by the commissioner of police.
3. 
Any Buffalo Special Police Officer who attempts to impersonate a Buffalo Police Officer, or is found to have impersonated a Buffalo Police Officer shall be charged criminally for such actions and unauthorized behavior, and shall be immediately and permanently removed from the Buffalo Special Police.
4. 
The Buffalo Special Police Officers may be removed by the commissioner at any time at his/her pleasure and during his/her term of service.