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Erie County: DA Flynn, Crime Stoppers Buffalo & partners announce initiative to fight opioid epidemic


Mon, Mar 5th 2018 01:25 pm
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn and Crime Stoppers Buffalo Chairman Kevin Hoffman on Monday announced rewards up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and/or indictment of opiate dealers.
Flynn contributed $20,000 in asset forfeiture money to Crime Stoppers Buffalo to launch the initiative and to help fight the opioid epidemic in Western New York. Crime Stoppers Buffalo has committed an additional $25,000.
Flynn was joined at the announcement by U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, Commissioner Byron C. Lockwood of the Buffalo Police Department, Chief Daniel Granville of the Erie County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Unit, Maj. Edward Kennedy of New York State Police, Amherst Police Chief John Askey, Erie County Legislator Ed Rath, Erie County Legislator Tom Loughran, CEO of Crisis Services Jessica Pirro, Clinical Operations Officer at Crisis Services Robyn Wiktowski-Reynolds and Jessica LaFalce of New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy's office.
Tipsters are asked to call the Crime Stoppers tip line (716-867-6161) with information on opiate dealers. Callers can remain anonymous. If information leads to an arrest and/or indictment, the tipster will receive a cash amount up to $2,500. The Crime Stoppers board of directors will decide the amount of cash awarded depending on the severity of the crime.
"In order to stop people from using these addictive opiates, we need to get the drugs and the people who sell them off of the street. We hope that anyone with information on any drug dealer will be inclined to call," Flynn said.
Attorney Kennedy said, "On behalf of the federal government, my message to those who illegally prescribe, sell, or distribute opioids is simple: We will find you and we will lock you up. My message to the citizens of Western New York is that neither drug users, nor their families, nor their friends are powerless against this poison. The time for silent suffering is over. Each of us has a voice, and the time has come for us to use our voices to help to save lives. Make your voices heard. Call Crime Stoppers today."
Brown said, "As is the case with fighting all types of crime, information from the public is critically important. The establishment of this fund to provide an extra incentive for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of opiate dealers will be a great tool in battling the opioid crisis in Buffalo and Erie County."
New York State Sen. and task force co-chair Chris Jacobs said, "Stronger punishments and restricting the flow of illegal substances in our communities are important elements of the State Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction's fight against this deadly epidemic. Success in eliminating this public health crisis will take all of our resources and commitment - government, law enforcement and service providers - and I applaud the district attorney and Crime Stoppers for their launch of this reward program."
Sen. Kennedy said, "The opioid epidemic continues to be a national crisis, devastating families across the country. We need to do everything we can to curb the spread of these toxic substances, and that starts with eliminating access to them in the first place. I applaud District Attorney Flynn for partnering with Crime Stoppers on this important initiative, and working as one to remove these deadly drugs from our neighborhoods."
Rath added, "Going after the criminals who supply these deadly drugs is an important step in fighting the opioid epidemic from a preventative approach."
Loughran noted, "We are suffering from an epidemic. We need to approach it from a preventative standpoint that includes both law enforcement and treatment for those suffering from addiction."
Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard said, "My office, as well as other law enforcement agencies, have successfully utilized Crime Stoppers to help spread the word about wanted criminals for years. Now this tremendous initiative can help my Narcotics Unit investigate and arrest drug dealers in Erie County. We look forward to this using this new police tool."
Crime Stoppers is partnering with Crisis Services to assist any person suffering from an addiction. Crisis Services manages the 24-hour addiction hotline for Erie County, which provides immediate information and assistance in connecting people with addiction treatment services. The line is monitored 24/7 by counselors who can provide support and guidance for those struggling addiction. Call 716-831-7007 for help.
"Addressing this epidemic requires a multiprong approach, and this partnership will help individuals calling Crime Stoppers regarding a tip to also be connected with needed support or resources," Pirro said. "We are glad to be collaborating with the Crime Stoppers staff in how to identify callers that may be benefit from connecting to our 24-hour addictions hotline while also offering the Crime Stoppers number to those who may find some relief in taking such an action step."

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