Chief Buffalow Addresses Community
Jan 19, 2016
Chief Recognizes Need for Change
Dear Buckner Resident,
I'm Michael (Mike) Buffalow, your new Police Chief and I'd like to take a moment to introduce myself and inform you as to how we, as your Police Department, are moving forward. First, my introduction.
In 1970, I joined the Grandview, Mo. Police Department as a member of their Police Cadet Corps and following their initial training, I was promoted to the rank of Cadet Lieutenant. Then, in 1972, I attended the Reserve Academy at the Regional Center for Criminal Justice (Pre-Kansas City PD Academy) to become a Reserve Officer for the Grandview Police Department. In 1973, I returned to the Regional Center for Criminal Justice a second time, but as a deputy sheriff because by then I had been hired by Sheriff Kenneth Carnes, of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department. What I didn't know while standing inspection on that cold March morning was that more than 42 years and five Sheriffs later, I'd still be working for the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.
During my 42 plus years at the Sheriff's Office, I had the fortune of working in nearly every division and unit within the department. During all those years, I also worked with all the local law enforcement agencies within Jackson County and many surrounding counties. I spent hundreds of hours obtaining training from around the country, then brought that training back for the benefit of my fellow deputies and police officers. I was one of the original instructors in the Eastern Jackson County Law Enforcement Academy now associated with the Metropolitan Community College.
During my career, I discovered that I truly enjoyed working with and training young officers and deputies as they gained both knowledge and experience in the profession we call law enforcement.
Immediately prior to my assignment in Buckner, I supervised a squad of deputies assigned to the Patrol Division after first transferring from the Sheriff's Traffic Safety Unit.
In January of this year, at the request of City of Buckner officials, Sheriff Mike Sharp was asked if he could assign someone from the Sheriff's Office to act as interim chief of their police department during the absence of their current police chief. On January 26, 2015, I was notified that I was being reassigned to the City of Buckner and to the position of interim chief. Honestly, it was a position I had never given a moment's thought of holding. As it turned out, I was very grateful for the opportunity.
Upon assuming the assignment of Interim Chief, I quickly discovered that the officers that serve your community are like so many of the officers I have trained and worked with across this state and country. Some are relatively young in age and lack extensive experience. But, all are also very eager to gain knowledge and experience in their chosen profession. And each of them are eager to protect and serve their community and make a difference. To be quite frank and honest with you, I feel very fortunate to have such a great group of officers to continue working with and leading.
I have also discovered that your team in City Hall, and your political leaders are very supportive of the Buckner Police Department, and have expressed a desire to move the department in a direction that I might describe as being basic in law enforcement and more community-friendly in its approach to serving. Although not a "blogger" or Facebook user myself, I have read and heard many comments made regarding some of the past officers and believe I understand the desire for a change. But like most things done right, it will take time, patience and training. I'm asking for the time so that training and experience may be gained, and your patience to let it happen.
I retired from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office on July 31 and began another career as your full-time police chief on August 1. So now, what are some of my ideas and goals for the future of your Police Department?
First and foremost, I wish it known that we will treat everyone in a fair and impartial manner. You will also be treated with respect and in a professional manner. It comes with the hope and expectation that you will return that same courtesy to our officers.
Further keeping in mind my goals, we will do our best to proactively patrol your neighborhood, identify those persons whose behavior and/or actions indicate a need for our "attention," conduct thorough investigations with criminal case submissions to the Prosecutor's Office when sufficient evidence support such filings, traffic-law enforcement, whether by warning or citation and where and when necessary. In all cases, it is my goal that our officers remain approachable, professional and courteous to those they come into contact with. We will give respect and hope to get the same in return.
I tend to be a realist too. I know and fully understand that not everyone will be happy with the level of service they may receive at any given time, or during any given incident, especially in situations surrounding traffic-law enforcement. As for criminal-law enforcement, I have been the victim of a crime and know what it's like to be on the other side of the badge, and not get the level of satisfaction I had hoped to receive. But I make this commitment to you, I will make myself as available as possible to discuss whatever topic or incident you wish to discuss. And, although we may conclude our discussion of the incident by agreeing to disagree, I will assure you that it will be in a professional and courteous manner. Please keep in mind, I like hearing the good things our officers are doing, too! As is often the case, earned praise goes as far as corrective criticism when moving an organization in a more positive direction.
Chief of Police
Chief Buffalow Recognizes the Need for Change
Chief Buffalow told The Buckner Clarion that the decision to stay in Buckner was influenced by the environment the city offers. “It was a cordial and friendly atmosphere. The officers, the administration, the citizens and political leaders of this town gave me a great feeling of being welcomed,” he said. “I am grateful to be here and blown away by the friendliness and atmosphere of this community. So far it has been a pleasant experience and a great surprise.”
After serving as interim chief, he had a decisive plan on how he wanted to advance the Buckner Police Department. Among the changes: the reputation and image of the department. “The previous image of the Police Department as being less than professional is an image that I would like to change. We want people to know that we do care about them within our community as well as care about the people passing through our community,” he said.
Change implementation has started with his officers. “I have changed the way we do reports, I am working on better equipment, as well as more training,” he stated.
Chief Buffalow has also set goals to increase the effectiveness of the department. “First, we now have in- car video in every vehicle. Our reason for this was to meet the expectations of our community and achieve a level of transparency. Second, the property room was in need of organization. That, too, has been accomplished. Currently, we are working to improve the computer capabilities within the city and the police department so that we can increase resources.”
When asked where he would like to see Buckner in one year, his answer was simple–a better Buckner. “I would like to see our image prevail in a positive manner. I would like to see our goals of working toward the infrastructure equipment accomplished. We are also developing better relations with surrounding departments. Crime doesn't stop at the city limits. It is important to work with other agencies to develop unification,” he said.
Finally, he adheres to an open-door policy. He encourages citizens to talk with him as well as other city officials, to let their needs and concerns be heard. "I'm not going to throw anyone out of my office because of a disagreement. I hope we will be able to resolve a situation and walk away as friends."