Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter Announce Violence Response Initiative

May 12th, 2022

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Five-year plan targets gun and gang violence — supports City efforts

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Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter today joined Rochester Mayor Malik Evans and Rochester Interim Police Chief David Smith to announce a proposed multi-year effort to combat the current escalation of violence and homicides. If approved by the Monroe County Legislature, the County would fund $8.5 million to add 11 new Sheriff’s deputies to give consistency to address crime trends anywhere in Monroe County, support and back up the Rochester Police Department (RPD) and to keep Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) zones fully staffed.

“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,” said County Executive Bello. “This violence needs the response of the entire community of Monroe. These added deputies would target gun trafficking and gun violence, increase support for investigations, patrols, and trace illegal gun networks. This is a common sense plan that includes multi-disciplinary violence prevention teams to intervene in the cycle of violence.”

Under the plan, the Sheriff’s Office will work in coordination with RPD Patrol Section Investigations and Major Crimes Unit to support the City of Rochester on violent felony investigations and continue omni-presence patrols. These additional patrol positions will effectively double the size of the MCSO Tactical Unit, giving agility and providing consistent staffing while improving resources for primary policing areas of responsibility. This will also increase capabilities for digital forensic investigations and their partnership with the ATF to address violence. Additionally, it communicates their dedication to prevention efforts.

“The City of Rochester is the heart of Monroe County, and it needs help,” said Monroe County Sheriff Todd K. 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. We cannot over emphasize 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. Finally, on recovery, in the Monroe County Jail, we have proven intervention and comprehensive programs which are paramount to successful corrections.”

The plan includes multi-disciplinary teams, connecting law enforcement, clergy and social workers to provide critical assistance for families directly impacted by violence. Additionally, it provides 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.

"Public safety is my administration’s top priority,” said Rochester Mayor Malik Evans. “Success will require deliberate investments in prevention, suppression and intervention, and I am thankful to County Executive Bello for providing this support from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. 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.”

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 MSCO support will come from Monroe County fund balance.