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Acting Erie County DA announces nearly $2 million state grant to fight gun crime in Buffalo

Thu, Jul 7th 2016 06:45 pm

Gun Involved Violence Elimination initiative will provide much-needed resources to Erie County and the City of Buffalo to battle gun violence

By Joanna Pasceri

Public Information Officer

Erie County District Attorney's Office

Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr. today joined Mayor Byron W. Brown to announce receipt of a $1.7 million state grant to aid the fight against gun crime.

The Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) Initiative grant will be shared by the Erie County district attorney's office, the Buffalo Police Department, the Erie County Probation Department, the Erie County Sheriff's Office and Erie County Central Police Services.

"This funding from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services will help my office and our law enforcement partners hunt down gun offenders and take them off the streets. With every violent criminal prosecuted, our county becomes a stronger, safer place to live," Flaherty said. "I thank Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Criminal Justice Services Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael Green for this tremendous support in our efforts to fight gun crime in our community."

"Reducing and preventing gun violence has been, and will continue to be, a top priority for my administration and the Buffalo Police Department. We welcome these targeted dollars from New York state, which will enable us to enhance our continued efforts to crack down on gun-related crimes," Brown said. "The nearly $577,000 designated for the City of Buffalo, in combination with added prosecutorial and other support services, is greatly appreciated."

Funding highlights:

  • Four prosecutors, an investigator, and an assistant crime analyst at the Erie County district attorney's office
  • Buffalo Police Department overtime for strategic police details in the high gun crime areas of Buffalo, enhanced investigation and debriefings by BPD detectives, and undercover operations and intelligence raids
  • Gun crime analyst at Buffalo Police Department
  • Two Erie County probation officers
  • Two Erie County sheriff's deputies
  • Firearms examiner and a junior programmer at Erie County Central Police Services
  • University at Buffalo research study on gun violence and social media

"We've worked tirelessly to combat gun violence across the state and prevent the senseless tragedies it causes," said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. "The GIVE Initiative gives law enforcement agencies the resources necessary to fight gun violence in our streets and helps create a safer and stronger New York for all."

"This funding provided by Gov. Cuomo and DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Green has allowed us to continue the important work that we were doing under the IMPACT grant," said Erie County Probation Commissioner Brian McLaughlin. "Under GIVE, two veteran probation officers are devoted full-time to working closely with our partners to reduce gun violence in our community."

Some of the strategies that will be employed as part of the GIVE grant include:

Hot-spot policing use data to help law enforcement focus resources in areas where crime is most likely to occur.

•Focused deterrence identifies chronic offenders and targets them for enhanced attention, enforcement and prosecution.

Street outreach programs employ community members to interrupt cycles of violence or prevent retaliation by connecting with individuals involved in violence and helping them change their behavior.

•The GIVE partners host notification sessions, most recently involving Central Park gang members, which are gatherings of high-risk individuals who are addressed by representatives from the district attorney, Buffalo PD, probation, U.S. attorney, Buffalo Peacemakers and members of the community.

The probation department also conducts custom notification sessions, which involve visits to the homes of probationers who are felt to be at highest risk of gun violence. Probation officers, often accompanied by members of the Buffalo PD, sheriff or Buffalo Peacemakers, conduct these visits. When possible, parents of the probationers are involved in the meetings. These visits serve to put the probationers on notice and also are an attempt to work with the probationers to stay violence free and out of jail.

This marks the third year of funding for the GIVE Initiative, which funds a range of law enforcement personnel to battle gun crime, as well as providing overtime pay, equipment, technical assistance and training.

Erie County received the highest amount of the $13.3 million in 2016-17 GIVE funds, which are being distributed to 17 counties across the state.

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