After 23 years on the force, 6 of those years as Buffalo Police spokesman Capt Jeff  Rinaldo is retiring this week.

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Rinaldo made it clear, in an interview with NEWS 4 (WIVB-TV) his retirement has nothing to do with politics. It was a family medical decision that prompted his retirement.

Captain Jeff Rinaldo said it has been an honor and a privilege to be the face of the Buffalo Police Department, interpreting their work for the news media and sharing their stories with the public.

“Trying to explain things to the public, to make them understand that we are human beings. We are fathers and mothers, and brothers and sisters, and we have children to raise, and we want the safest community, just like they do,” Rinaldo said.

Clashes between police and private citizens, here and across the country have bred mistrust of law enforcement.

The injury to peace activist Martin Gugino made Buffalo police a television headline around the world. Two officers were suspended without pay and charged with assault,  those charges were later dismissed by a Grand Jury.

Rinaldo notes a number of the police reforms approved on the state and local levels were already in place here in Buffalo.

“We already issued body cameras for officers, we already re-wrote our ‘use of force’ policies. We were ahead of the curve on a lot of this stuff,” he says.

“It is when those reforms or those laws go too far and they start to handcuff the police that it makes it difficult for police, but it makes it dangerous for the citizens as well.”

In these days of calls for defunding police, Rinaldo believes the animosity against the police and the explosive growth of violent crime is no coincidence.

“Policing is a necessary component to society, and again, the better community relations we have, the better trust the community has in the police, the better job police can do,” Rinaldo added.

My experience with Jeff Rinaldo was that he always respected what media was trying to do, and did his best to accommodate our needs.

 

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