India Walton, Democratic Nominee for Buffalo Mayor, has outlined her Public Safety platform; a holistic approach of evidence-based, data-driven solutions that address root causes of violence and crime for a safer, healthier Buffalo overall.
Speaking from Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Monday, Walton shared plans for safe neighborhoods, safe schools, safe housing, safe hospitals, safe streets, and safety from gender violence and sexual assault. “For me, the issue of public safety is deeply felt, and deadly serious,” said Walton. “I grew up on the East Side. I have raised four Black boys in Buffalo. I know what it means to fear for the safety and well-being of my closest loved ones.”
Walton noted the housing, healthcare, and job insecurity, intensifying climate crisis, and still-raging pandemic that Buffalonians are still facing on top of devastating gun violence.
“Let’s not mince words: the rates of gun violence and homicide so far this year make it absolutely clear that the current administration’s approach to public safety has been an abject failure,” Walton said. “It’s time for a change. It’s time to get serious about public safety in Buffalo.”
The policies in Walton’s public safety platform are based on practices proven to work in Buffalo and elsewhere. Highlights are as follows:
•Safe neighborhoods: Walton’s priorities for City Hall here include a mobile crisis team staffed by trained mental health professionals as a non-violent first responder corps for calls involving mental health crises, and the LIFE Camp model, a multi-faceted approach to interrupting violence.
•Safe schools: Walton, a former school nurse, advocates for reducing class sizes and investing in guidance counselors, therapists, and school nurses, rather than the school-to-prison pipeline.
•Safe housing: An accomplished executive of a democratically-run housing development corporation, Walton believes in fostering Community Land Trusts to provide affordable housing on a permanent basis, and shifting homeless outreach responsibilities from the police department to social workers, community organizers, and other professionals trained in connecting unhoused people to services and housing.
•Safe hospitals: Given that
nurses like Walton and other
hospital workers suffer terrible
rates of workplace violence,
the Democratic nominee
proposes investing in
medical social workers to deescalate
tense situations and
working with organized labor
and Albany to win enforceable
safe nurse-to-patient ratios.
•Safe streets: Walton takes
the evidence-based approach
that infrastructure improvements
are greatly more effective
than routine traffic stops
at reducing traffic collisions,
and supports relocating collision
investigation from the
police department to the Department
to streamline life-saving improvements.
•Safety from gender violence
and sexual assault:
Walton, herself a survivor of
domestic violence, believes
in community-based supports
for survivors and noncarceral
practices to put those who
have done harm on a path
to accountability, amends,
healing and growth.
Find more information about
Walton’s plans at www.indiawalton.
com, Facebook, Twitter
at @indiawaltonbflo and
Instagram at @indiawaltonforbuffalo.