Syracuse's New Police Chief: What are the Expectations?
Kenton Buckner was sworn in as Syracuse's new Police Chief as many familiar faces looked on: Monday may be his first day on the job, but he's been busy getting the feel of the community, and has reached out to many residents and groups.
And, to Syracuse residents not at the morning ceremony at Syracuse's Public Safety Building, Chief Buckner had this challenge: "When we're right, I ask that you support us. When we're wrong, I ask that you hold us accountable."
As he takes over the Syracuse Police Department, we asked people how they will judge, and what they want to see with the new Chief. Here are some responses:
>Syracuse Superintendent Jaime Alicea: "Visibility into our schools, talking to students, talking to staff."
>NAACP of Syracuse & Onondaga County's Linda Brown-Robinson: "He actually already reached out to me and said he wanted to meet with the NAACP because he wants to partnership. (One of Chief Buckner's promises is to increase diversity in his force)
>New American Forum's Tai Shaw (himself a former refugee): "Touch our Community. Be a little more visible. The cultures (that many of us come from) fear the police. Police coming to your house is not good news"
>The Syracuse Police Accountability Coalition held a forum this past weekend to discuss priorities for the Police Department
Andrew Croon: " We hope that Chief Buckner will look at those policies and commit to actual changes of those policies"
Theresa Rocha Beardall: "And as an organization, some of the policies that we're deeply concerned about, in addition to the use of force, is the developing policy on body worn cameras."
Ultimately Chief Buckner will have to answer to those who've hired him. They, too, have expectations:
Sharon Owens, Deputy Syracuse Mayor: "First and foremost, obviously, is reducing crime in the city and ensuring our neighborhoods are safe."
Ben Walsh, Syracuse Mayor: " We're gonna be looking for innovative strategies, but while we're engaging with the community, we have to look at the numbers."
We'll all be watching crime statistics, and how Chief Buckner works to get the numbers down.