Mayor Byron Brown, on Monday, made his first comments about WBFO photos that show Buffalo police officers covering their name tags with tape while guarding the mayor’s Hamlin Park home.
Brown said he didn’t know that at least three Buffalo police officers were blocking their name tags while guarding his house last Wednesday evening.
“Again, I’m not aware of it. Police officers should not cover their name tags,” Brown said at a press conference. “It’s my understanding during this time we’ve seen instances of that here and in other parts of this country.”
The Buffalo Police policy manual specifically states that name tags must be displayed by officers while on duty. In addition to tape over their name tags, thin blue line patches were also spotted, with the policy manual also banning the addition of unauthorized patches or insignias.
“It shouldn’t happen and I’m sure the police management will address it,” the mayor said.
John Elmore, a former New York State Trooper turned attorney, has been active in teaching young people of color how to deal with police interactions. He said uniform regulations are important for police transparency.
“The reason there are police regulations requiring name tags are to protect the public from police abuse,” said Elmore. “So that police officers, if they are out of line, the public can identify them by their name, and by their badge number.”
Elmore said the blocking of name tags is telling.
“It makes you wonder how much control the mayor has over the police department that he’s in charge of when they’re openly defying him in front of his house,” Elmore said.
WBFO has reached out to the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association for comment but it has not responded.