Council urges more visible markings on city police cars

Feb 10, 2014

Common Council members want the Buffalo Police Department to make sure there are visible numbers on the sides of all patrol cars, not just on top for airplanes and helicopters

The next time you see Buffalo police cars, you'll notice there is a number on the top of the car, which is there for communication among agencies. Council members say there should be numbers on the sides where they can be seen by someone standing on the street.

Councilmember David Rivera, a former officer, says it's hard for citizens to talk to the police about what an officer in a car did if the number isn't there for reporting purposes.

"It's not on the license plate anymore because the license plate says POLICE. So, if a resident wanted to call and say Car 27 just went past, it's written on the trunk. So, you would have to be above the car to look down on the car cause there is no identification on the newer police vehicles," adds Council President Darius Pridgen.

That number on top can be important. When the Erie County Sheriff's Department Air One was circling over Harvey Austin School on Thursday, the pilot could look down and see police car numbers. Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda says there are supposed to be numbers on the sides.

"They will be numbered. They are numbered and any future cars will be numbered on the sides and on the top," Derenda said.

Derenda is referring to police cars the city is about to borrow money to buy, with the bond sale due on the Finance Committee agenda Tuesday.