Syracuse, N.Y. — Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner said Friday that he will serve in a “civilian capacity” atop the police department because he cannot pass a stringent physical fitness test required of sworn officers.
Buckner, who became chief in December 2018, said he is unable to run 1.5 miles in about 13 minutes.
“While I have improved my fitness and can complete the majority of the physical requirements, I am unable to finish the 1.5 mile run in the required time,” Buckner said in a statement. “With the next deadline approaching early December, I have decided at this time not to continue to pursue state certification.”
The lack of state certification does not impact the chief’s ability to serve, Buckner said in the statement.
But “out of respect for the certification process and all those who have completed it,” Buckner will not wear a police uniform while serving as chief.
Buckner, who was hired from his previous position as chief of police in Little Rock, Ark., came here on a provisional basis until he was able to get certified as a New York officer. In the meantime, he’s been afforded all the rights of a standard cop, including carrying a gun and badge.
The state’s Department of Criminal Justice Services allows one year for an out-of-state transfer to get certified here. That certification, for Buckner, included 386 hours of training as well as a physical fitness exam.
In November 2019, he was given a one-year extension to pass the certification requirements, but he announced Friday he would no longer seek the certification.
Buckner will no longer have arrest powers or be allowed to carry a gun, but he stressed that he will carry out all his administrative duties in charge of the department as before.
“I had my own private disappointment moments, but I thought it was important enough given my position in the city to be transparent,” he said of the decision not to seek the certification and why he announced it Friday. “… Everyone knows how tough it is to get in shape.”
Mayor Ben Walsh, at a news conference, praised Buckner’s performance as chief and said the lack of certification should not make the public doubt his ability to run the department.
“His ability or lack thereof to run a mile and a half in under 13 minutes has absolutely no bearing on his ability to do the job,” Walsh said.
The Syracuse police union has made an issue of Buckner’s certification. The union clashed with Buckner in early 2019 over public comments the chief made about officer behavior, among other things. Many officers refused to march in the annual St. Patrick’s Parade in a public display of discord with the chief.
Buckner’s full statement is below:
Today, Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner announced he would not continue to pursue New York State police officer certification. Under local and state law, the Chief is not required to be a sworn officer. Chief Buckner is able to
R-0 may be the most important scientific term you’ve never heard of when it comes to stopping the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 220,000 Americans have now died of COVID-19, Johns Hopkins University reported Monday, and global cases surpassed 40 million.
The United States has about 4.3% of the world’s reported population and 19.7% of the world’s reported coronavirus deaths, USA TODAY data shows.
The actual worldwide total is most likely considerably higher: Testing hasn’t been widely available, many have been asymptomatic, and certain governments have concealed numbers.
The U.S., Brazil and India are reporting the highest numbers of cases, and Argentina surpassed 1 million cases on Monday night.
Meanwhile, in a Sunday night interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was “absolutely not” surprised President Donald Trump contracted an infection after attending what he described as a “superspreader event” in the Rose Garden on Sept. 26. He also said the White House has blocked him from speaking to the media on a number of occasions.
In Washington, the clock is ticking for a stimulus relief bill ahead of the Nov. 3 election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday set a 48-hour deadline for the White House, insisting that a second round of $1,200 checks for Americans, expanded unemployment benefits and additional financial aid for the Paycheck Protection program “depends on the administration.”
Some significant developments:
- Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissed the idea of a nationwide lockdown on “60 Minutes,” saying the U.S. is “fatigued” by coronavirus restrictions. He also said he’d take a vaccine upon approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- More than 6 million households failed to make their rent or mortgage payments in September, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America.
- Amid a surge in cases, Italy implemented a new wave of COVID-19 restrictions but stopped short of curfews such as those imposed in France.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 8.2 million cases and 220,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data. The global totals: More than 40.3 million cases and 1.1 million deaths.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.
📚 Read this: The latest in USA TODAY’s Deadly Discrimination series looks at how systemic racism in the San Francisco Bay area is making COVID especially lethal for Asian Americans.
This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.
California to independently review FDA-approved vaccines before distribution
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the state won’t allow distribution of coronavirus vaccines until it is reviewed by the state’s own panel of experts — no matter who wins the presidential election next month.
The governor named 11 doctors and scientists to review any rollout of vaccines by the federal government or vaccine developers. The board members hail from top California top universities and medical providers, along with state and local public health
By Robin Foster and E.J. Mundell
FRIDAY, Oct. 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The number of new U.S. coronavirus cases topped 60,000 on Thursday, a tally not reported since early August, as health experts worried the coming winter might push the toll even higher.
The latest numbers have also sent the country’s total COVID-19 case count past 8 million, the The New York Times reported.
The surge is nationwide, with cases multiplying across the country: Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have higher caseloads now than in mid-September, and the new coronavirus is spreading across rural communities in the Midwest, the Upper Midwest and the Great Plains, the Washington Post reported.
On Thursday, Wisconsin set a record with more than 4,000 new cases reported, the newspaper said. Illinois also reported more than 4,000 cases on Thursday, breaking records that were set in April and May. Ohio set a new high, as did Indiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Montana and Colorado, the Post reported.
“We know that this is going to get worse before it gets better,” Wisconsin Department of Health Services secretary-designee Andrea Palm said during a briefing Thursday, the Post reported. “Stay home. Wear a mask. Stay six feet apart. Wash your hands frequently.”
Some hospitals in the Upper Midwest and Great Plains have become jammed with patients and are running low on ICU beds, the Post reported. Montana reported a record 301 hospitalized COVID-19 patients Thursday, with 98 percent of the inpatient beds occupied the day before in Yellowstone County.
In just the past week, at least 20 states have set record seven-day averages for infections, and a dozen have hit record hospitalization rates, according to health department data analyzed by the Post.
The reopening of many schools and colleges did not fuel a major spike in cases right away, as some experts had feared, but the numbers have steadily gone upward since, the newspaper reported.
The jump in cases and hospitalizations has been followed by a more modest rise in COVID-19 deaths, most likely due to better patient care from now-seasoned medical workers. The widespread use of powerful steroids and other treatments has lowered mortality rates among people who are severely ill, the Post reported.
Still, experts caution that most Americans remain vulnerable to COVID infection and the virus will likely spread more easily as colder weather sends more people indoors, where they might be exposed to larger amounts of the virus in poorly ventilated spaces.
“Inevitably, we’re moving into a phase where there’s going to need to be restrictions again,” David Rubin, director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told the Post.
Second COVID vaccine trial paused
A second coronavirus vaccine trial has been paused after an unexplained illness surfaced in one of the trial’s volunteers.
Johnson & Johnson, which only began a phase 3 trial of its vaccine last month, did not offer any more details on the illness and did not say whether the sick participant had