BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Police reform and spreading the city’s new prosperity seem to be the main issues in India Walton’s progressive agenda that resonated with voters. What does that mean to the police? And what does that mean to city lawmakers?
“What it is, is allocating resources to the places that we know naturally reduce crime,” Walton said.
Police reform has often meant “defunding the police,” but India Walton prefers to call it “re-allocation of resources.” To Buffalo’s police union — they are essentially the same thing. The bottom line, to implement her progressive agenda, the presumptive Democratic nominee will have to work with city lawmakers.
That seems to be Democrat India Walton’s philosophy for fighting crime and sharing the city’s new prosperity.
Calls for police reform have swept through America’s big cities since the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota which has often been interpreted as “defunding police.” Walton prefers to call it, re-allocating resources.
“Mental health services, community centers, afterschool programming, things like that will cause a natural reduction in crime,” added Walton.
Buffalo Police Benevolent Association President John Evans told us, “In my opinion, any reforms we have seen countrywide have been complete failures.”
Defunding police, re-allocating resources — it sounds all the same to John Evans.
Re-allocating means taking money from the police budget and giving it to other agencies. Evans says police reform has often led to more crime in other cities.
“Currently crime is off the charts in the city and I only see it getting worse,” said Evans.
Common Council President Darius Pridgen said, “I say the people have spoken, period.”
Common Council President Darius Pridgen says he is ready and willing to work with Walton if the stunning election night results hold up. But, as far as her progressive agenda, the council and the administration are co-equal branches of government.
“I am not afraid of any change happening that is going to bring the city to its knees, I’m just not. There is a whole process that things have to go through in order for things to get done,” added Pridgen.
Ironically, the Common Council was set to put the finishing touches on the city’s police reform program Tuesday, but city attorneys found some glitches in the council’s measure, and at the last minute lawmakers sent it back to the committee to get fixed.
Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here.