- Buffalo Police officers will no longer have to wear badges that display their names.
- The policy change, which went into effect last week, was made to protect officer safety after threats were made against some.
- The local police union had been pushing for the change since officers were called out for taping over their names while at protests earlier this year.
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Police officers in Buffalo, New York, are no longer required to display their names on their uniforms after a policy change designed to protect cops was put into effect, according to WKBW and other local news outlets.
Police officials told WKBW that several police officers have been doxxed — had their personal information shared online resulting in threats — over the last few months.
"It is extremely serious, there has been some absolutely disgusting things said about officers and their small children, and threats to their well being on websites," BPD Cpt. Jeff Rinaldo told the station.
When announcing the policy change Thursday, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told WIBV he believed that the people responsible for doxxing police lived outside of Western New York.
"What we have seen is that some of these doxxing incidents are occurring from people that are not in this city, are not in this county, are not in this region, but people in different parts of the country, maybe internationally, that see a name on a uniform. And then go to work on the computer," Brown said.
Buffalo police came under fire early this summer when a graphic trending video captured by NPR affiliate WBFO showed two police officers shoving a 75-year-old protester to the ground and walking away.
The video also shows the officers' colleagues walking past the protester, who doesn't get up, as blood pours from his ears and onto the sidewalk.
The two officers were suspended without pay, but in the following weeks dozens of their colleagues resigned out of opposition to the punishing.
Since then, some officers had been photographed covering the names on their badges, which until last week was against department policy, WKBW reported.
The local police union had urged the city to change the policy.
Rinaldo told WKBW that more than a dozen Buffalo officers have received threats.
But critics of the policy change, especially those who feel the department needs reform, are outraged by the change.
"That is disturbing," India Walton of Buffalo, told WKBW.
"And the reason why we are calling for his resignation, and the resignation of Byron Lockwood the Police Commissioner, and the resignation of the District Attorney John Flynn is because we don't feel adequately represented, and we don't feel safe in our own communities," she added. "And allowing officers to not display their names, is another way of hiding the injustices that the people in our community face every single day, and we're so tired of it."
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