Social workers in Monroe County to follow law enforcers executing warrants
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In an effort to get the gun violence emergency on our streets under control, local and federal law enforcers are stepping up their warrant squads.
As News10NBC reported on Wednesday, over the next 60 days the “VIPER” task force will be looking to apprehend those charged with gun and violent crimes who’ve skipped bail.
Police say they have solid intel on who is responsible for the lions-share of shootings and murders happening in Rochester and they’re planning to spend the next two months laser-focused on finding them.
But, many of these suspects have parents, children, family members who aren’t the ones pulling the trigger.
“What’s going on in these houses, when we take a warrant suspect out of the house… we’re creating this huge vacuum right and there’s so much fear of police, there’s fear of their son or daughter going to jail, there’s fear of was he really carrying a gun and if so he’s probably going to die someday in a gunfight. I mean that whole house is at least changed quite a bit when we make a warrant arrest so what can we do to assist that household?” questioned Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter.
That’s why Sheriff Baxter and Monroe County Executive Adam Bello have created a new program that will send a social worker to a home following the execution of a warrant to follow up with the family of the suspect.
“[They will] look at it holistically… looking at finances, looking at the childcare issues, the transportation issues, looking at the school issues seeing what kind of resources and assistance are available. There are so many good people out there in the community willing to help but there’s really no system set up to get to the most grassroots level, the home front,” Sheriff Baxter said.
Jennifer Lewke (News10NBC) – Logistically, how does this look? If you come in and take dad who has an active warrant and he’s gone, how quickly will that social worker backfill?
Sheriff Baxter – We want to have a crime prevention officer and a community service member right there with us and possibly step right in that house. We realize that the first answer is almost always going to be no, these folks are not going to want to see another person in their house, they might have some issues with law enforcement, there are 1000 reasons so, we also wanna be able to go back the next day, the next week, the next month if they need or request us.
Jennifer Lewke – Have you ever tried a program like this before?
Sheriff Baxter – Not to my knowledge, I am a big fan of field testing things let’s try it. If it works well, we’ll do more to improve upon it, if it doesn’t work at least we tried.
So far, in 2021, the Monroe County Warrant Squad has served 191 felony warrants. They expect to be joined by social workers through a partnership with the county in the coming weeks.