Following news this week that the Buffalo Police Department is disbanding its traffic division, a local coalition of advocates for defunding the police are calling for the city to stop police enforcement of traffic altogether.
“In order for us to shrink the size of the Buffalo Police Department we need to invest in other forms of safety and infrastructure for our people,” said Phylicia Brown, executive director of Black Love Resists in the Rust, which describes itself as a “political and organizing home for Black and Brown folks in Buffalo.”
On Tuesday, the department announced that it was eliminating its traffic unit, which has close to 50 officers. The officers are being reassigned to the five patrol districts in the city, police officials said.
The traffic division handled traffic enforcement and security at large events such as festivals, races and parades. But with no large public events planned for the foreseeable future due to Covid-19 restrictions, the department decided that the officers could be put to better use in the districts, Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said Tuesday.