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UNITED STATES v. CITY OF BUFFALO

July 3, 1979

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF BUFFALO, a municipal corporation, Thomas R. Blair, Police Commissioner, City of Buffalo Police Department, Anthony J. Colucci, Herbert L. Bellamy,Frank A. Stachowiak, Commissioners, City of Buffalo Civil Service Commission, Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CURTIN

On August 1, 1978, this court issued a decision which held that the police department of the City of Buffalo had discriminated against women and minorities. United States v. City of Buffalo, 457 F. Supp. 612 (W.D.N.Y.1978). In addition to finding discrimination in hiring requirements, the court determined that there was discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment. In its memorandum submitted in support of its suggested remedy for this discrimination, the United States proposed that an "Equal Employment Opportunity Board" be established within the police department to provide an internal mechanism to handle complaints of discrimination and to develop practical solutions to problems which arise subsequent to the court's order. On November 28, 1978, the court directed the City to develop its own proposal for a review board. When the court issued its comprehensive remedy decision and order on December 11, 1978, the issue of what form this review panel would take was left for future determination by the court. See Order of court, Civ. No. 1973-414, at 7 (December 11, 1978).

On January 9, 1979, the City submitted its proposal for handling departmental complaints alleging discriminatory treatment based upon race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The United States, in a response filed February 20, 1979, expressed serious concern about certain of the elements of the City's proposed procedure for handling such complaints. A hearing was held on May 3, 1979.

In the meantime, the Federal Office of Revenue Sharing ("ORS") initiated the process which leads to the cutoff of revenue sharing funds based on the court's August 1, 1978 finding of discrimination. On June 13, 1979, the City and ORS entered into a compliance agreement. Part of that agreement called for the police department to create immediately a review panel to handle complaints of discrimination within the department, subject to the further order of this court. On June 20, 1979, the department implemented the compliance agreement, essentially using the City's original proposal for an investigative procedure and review panel but incorporating certain changes.

 After giving careful consideration to the City's proposal, the government's critique, and the testimony taken at the hearing, the court believes that, subject to certain modifications, this proposal should be given an opportunity to work. By its order of December 11, 1978, the court has retained jurisdiction over this case to supervise the implementation of the remedies insuring equal employment opportunities in the police department. If further relief is required, appropriate action can be taken.

 THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:

 1. CENTRAL REPOSITORY

 The Police Commissioner's Investigating Unit ("PCIU") shall be the unit for channeling and recording all complaints against members of the department involving allegations of discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The PCIU shall have the responsibility for insuring that all complaints are dealt with fairly, effectively, and in accordance with all departmental policies and procedures.

 2. COMPLAINT PROCEDURE

 Any member of the department may file a complaint in writing with the PCIU upon forms to be furnished by the department. The complaint shall set out the conduct or actions of members of the police department which is to be the subject of investigation. The description shall be sufficiently detailed so as to enable the PCIU to conduct a full and fair investigation of the matter. Such statements shall be filed within ten (10) days of the occurrence of the conduct in question.

 3. COMPLAINT RECEIPT

 (a) If, at the time the complaint is received, the PCIU is on duty, the complainant shall be referred to that office.

 (b) If the PCIU is not on duty, the Inspector or Duty Officer receiving the complaint shall take a complete report with statements and forward, through channels, to the Commissioner, Attention: PCIU.

 (c) The PCIU shall then pursue the investigation to its conclusion, in accordance with the procedures ...


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