The incidents of violence and gun related crimes have reached aggressively high levels in the city, with current violence activity racing to surpass previous record setting numbers reached in 2021.
Local Public Safety agencies of Monroe County are taking action by presenting a plan to invest $8.5 million to increase manpower on city streets and support the Rochester Police Department (RPD).
The plan will also add 11 new Sheriff’s deputies to give consistency to address crime trends anywhere in Monroe County without reducing the staff of the Monroe County Sheriff’s office.
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter were joined by Mayor Malik Evans and Rochester Interim Police Chief David Smith to announce a Violence Response Initiative covering a five-year plan to target gun and gang violence.
“Record violence and homicides are terrorizing innocent citizens who live in fear of gunfire and stray bullets. This is a crisis, and like the Mayor, Sheriff and Chief, I am outraged,” Bello said.
With the escalated rise in violence, RPD is experiencing more activity with a need for more support.
The plan calls for the Sheriff’s Office to work in coordination with RPD Patrol Section Investigations and Major Crimes Unit to support the city on violent felony investigations and continue widespread patrols.
“This violence needs the response of the entire community of Monroe. This is a common sense plan that includes multi-disciplinary violence prevention teams to intervene in the cycle of Violence,” said Bello.
Bello said deputies would target gun trafficking and gun violence, increase support for investigations, patrols and trace illegal gun networks.
“The City of Rochester is the heart of Monroe County, and it needs help,” said Baxter. “There were 81 murders in the city last year and more than 350 shootings, with each shooting potentially being just inches away from becoming another murder. We recognize our deputies are covering their primary patrol responsibilities while assisting RPD in the most violent neighborhoods. We also recognize this pace cannot continue without the proper resources and support. Prevention: prevention, enforcement, recovery.”
The plan also includes multi-disciplinary teams, connecting law enforcement, clergy and social workers to provide critical assistance for families directly impacted by violence. Additionally, it will provide support for jail services aimed at breaking the cycle of violence, such as the Focused Deterrence Intervention program, which provides direct engagement with violent individuals to reduce repeat offenses.
It also focuses on preparing incarcerated individuals for successful re-entry into our community.
“We cannot overemphasize the importance of prevention and we fully support the Mayor’s efforts, specifically the work Victor Saunders is doing in the heart of the City,” said Baxter.
The prevention efforts will create additional patrol positions and effectively double the size of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Unit, allowing officers to move quickly to respond and provide consistent staffing while improving resources for primary policing responsibilities. This will also increase the capabilities for digital forensic investigations and their partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to address violence.
The County investment for the $8.5 million plan will need to be approved by the County Legislature.
Additional County funding will help assist the City, towns and villages in illegal ATV and dirt bike enforcement.
The multi-year plan is subject to Monroe County Legislature approval. Funding for immediate MCSO support will come from the Monroe County fund balance.
“Public safety is my administration’s top priority,” Evans said.
“Success will require deliberate investments in prevention, suppression and intervention. This collaboration is a key part of our strategy, and my upcoming budget proposal will include millions in dedicated funding for expanded investments in violence prevention programs.”