Under his three-year contract, Hilbert College professor Martin Floss will oversee the agreement's implementation and provide quarterly audits to the Buffalo Police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice.
The federal oversight agreement requires that an independent reviewer be retained by the city.
The agreement, signed in September, includes the Justice Department, Buffalo Police Department
, Police Benevolent Association
and the American Federation of State
, County, and Municipal Employees Local 264.These groups will work together to make changes in police training and policies, and will further examine the department's use of chemical irritant (CAP) spray.
CAP spray was the subject of a federal investigation regarding allegations of officers' excessive use of pepper spray.
...James Giammaresi, the Buffalo Police Department's chief of staff, said it is Floss' "overall knowledge of the criminal justice system and previous project experience with various police departments that makes him a suitable choice as reviewer."
...Floss, who is director of the Hilbert Institute for Law and Justice, will work with the police department and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to ensure the department's compliance with the requirements of the agreement.
"These requirements are based on substantial evidence indicating that CAP spray, when properly used, is an effective tool for law enforcement, particularly when compared to traditional methods, such as the nightstick," Floss said.
Another of Floss' responsibilities is to set up a system to track complaints made against the department and to keep tabs on behavior considered to be police misconduct.The system will be software-based and will use its input to flag individuals who fall into certain criteria.
"With the right system in place, we will be able to identify officers who are heading down the wrong track and take corrective measures to prevent future misconduct," Floss said.
wants a system that is preventative, not punitive.Such a system would assure a community that their police department is in order while helping police officers avoid behavior that could derail their careers. Floss has worked with the Buffalo Police Department before.He and two other Hilbert faculty members provided ethics training to the department's top administrative officers.Floss is also a member of an Erie County task force looking at ways to improve police services.
© 2003 American City Business Journals Inc.
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