Thursday 8 December 2022
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Local, State, Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Band Together to Combat Violence

By Tyronda James

Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter and supporters announce Anti-Violence Initiative. Photo by Tyronda James/Minority Reporter Media Group.

The city of Rochester has experienced its 35th homicide this year and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and community members are collaborating in an Anti-Violence Initiative.

The collaboration is a Task Force consisting of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), U. S. Marshals Service (USMS), New York State Police (NYSP),  Rochester Police Department, Greece Police and the NY State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

At a recent press conference, Monroe County Sheriff Todd K. Baxter detailed the two-phase inter-agency initiative to begin to counter the violence. The first phase of the initiative, “Operation Guardian” since being has resulted in 60 arrests since being launched May 17, five of those arrests were for homicides. 

“We have kids with AK-47s, AR-15s doing daytime assassinations utilizing team tactics. We’ve never seen anything like that. We must restore peace and safety to the streets of the City of Rochester,” said Baxter.   

“We’ve seen many years probably with higher homicides, but we haven’t seen a quantification of violence with assault, weapons, large caliber weapons using team tactics in broad daylight assassination of a mother with two kids in her car.” 

Baxter said the MCSO is committed to supporting all entities of law enforcement with what he calls ‘precision policing’ and going strategically and surgically after the people they know are carrying the guns and committing violence. Baxter said with omnipresence, will allow them to place as many police cars in the city of Rochester as possible. With this idea of partnership and collaboration in mind, MCSO has transitioned to the next phase of the operation where an unprecedented inter-agency approach will begin to counter the violence. 

Charles Salina, U.S. Marshal Western District of New York said the Task Force is successful because of the supporting agencies ongoing partnerships and collaborations.

“Everyone deserves to live, work and play on streets free from the terror of violent criminals,” according to a USMS and MCSO joint media release:

“These repeat violent offenders, not entire communities, must remain the focus of both police and prosecution. Prevention is just as important as response; therefore, the rest of the community will be of focus in the preventive programs, programs where law enforcement will take a back seat and let community leaders, non-profits, and government agencies address the systemic issues leading to violence with the full support of the law enforcement community.” 

RPD Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan announces plans to combat violence. Photo by Tyronda James/Minority Reporter Media Group.

Police Chief Cynthia Herriot-Sullivan of the RPD said she is thankful for the NYSP, the Sheriff’s department and other law enforcement willingness to partner with RPD to work on solutions to the rampant violence and homicides. Herriott-Sullivan said her goal for violent offenders with histories of violence that had get arrested more than once: to stay jailed.

“The goal here for me is simple: when people are arrested for violent, gun type incidences. I want them to stay in jail. It’s that simple,” Herriott-Sullivan said.

“That’s my position.”

Herriott-Sullivan said she went to Mayor Warren and to City Council and both were immediately supportive and all agreed that something must be done.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said she’ll continue to support the RPD, MCSO and the NYSP’s efforts to quell the violence. “I continue to pray for all of the families affected and I ask all those of faith in our city to join me.”

Herriott-Sullivan said her focus is simple and that she’ll go hard, because she feels it’s the right thing to do.

Herriott-Sullivan touched on the joint initiative between local, federal and state law enforcement agencies. She said she feels confident that assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service will result in arresting “wanted” offenders. The Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also in full support of the RPD.

“They’re going to give us more resources so that we can go after even more people, with the Sheriff’s department and the state police and the deputy chief,” Herriott-Sullivan said.

“I want us to be able to have our kids be able to come outside for school recess, to be able to come outside again, without worrying about whether the kids are going to be shot or attacked. We just have to do things differently.”