Monroe County town supervisors sign a bipartisan letter to Governor Hochul asking for help addressing crime

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Monroe County town supervisors sign a bipartisan letter to Governor Hochul asking for help addressing crime. Almost every town supervisor in Monroe County signed a letter addressed to Governor Kathy Hochul regarding the rising crime in Monroe county towns.

Webster Town Supervisor, Tom Flaherty did sign the letter after the version above was signed.

At least 18 of the 19 supervisors across the county signed this letter in an effort to get help with the rising crime we have seen in the county and their own neighborhoods. In the letter, they say that there is a significant rise in crime of various types within their communities and while the towns may not be as dire as in the city of Rochester, they still need help especially when it comes to confronting property crime in their neighborhoods.

Sweden Town Supervisor Kevin Johnson and Henrietta Town Supervisor Steve Schultz pointed out the rise in catalytic converter thefts among a top concern.

“Still, here in Sweden, we’ve had a major increase in property crime, and it’s a real concern for our residents. A lot of the crime seems to be organized, whether it’s the removal of catalytic converters from cars or it’s what appear to be organized break-ins with the same M.O. being used on multiple businesses in the same evening.” Johnson said.

They said this is important and they do not want to be left out of the conversation that appears to only be occurring in Rochester.

“I really hoped that this letter would be something that we as a group could sign, regardless of political affiliation, because it’s an issue that affects all of us in the effort was to call the attention of the county and also the state to this issue because it’s our feeling that most of us lack police resources ourselves. On top of that, we really don’t have the resources to do an in-depth study or understand this issue,” Johnson said.

“Let’s do something about the problem we’re seeing, because there has been a rise in crime, and in addition, there’s been an even larger rise in, I’ll call it insecurity that people feel that we’re less safe than we were,” Henrietta Town Supervisor Steve Schultz said.

“The big dramatic effect it has on us, obviously nothing to the extent of like we’re seeing with the shootings in the city, but property crime certainly isn’t victimless and certainly doesn’t leave people with a good feeling. It’s like I said that helplessness feeling is horrible,” Schultz said.

A spokesperson for Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said they did not get a copy of this letter.

We did reach out to Governor Hochul’s office for a comment we are still waiting to hear back.

Below is the exact response News10NBC got from Governor Hochul’s office about the letter:

Spokesperson Statement: “Governor Hochul’s top priority is to keep New Yorkers safe, which is why she worked with the legislature earlier this year to crack down on gun crimes and repeat offenders and further expand the types of cases where judges have the discretion to set bail. Over the past several months, the Governor has convened multiple meetings with Monroe County elected officials, community leaders, as well as many local, state and federal law enforcement entities to urgently facilitate collaboration and ensure all levels are working in concert to combat crime and violence. The Governor will continue to work every day with law enforcement and local officials to improve the criminal justice system, combat violence, and strengthen public safety in Monroe County and New York.” 

Additional information on background: 

  • On July 29th, Governor Hochul convened a meeting with Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter, US Attorney for the Western District of NY Trini Ross, Rochester Mayor Malik Evans, Rochester Police Chief David Smith, representatives from the FBI and the ATF, and former Lt. Governor Bob Duffy along with administration officials to discuss public safety in Rochester and Monroe County. 
    • Follow-up meetings occurred on August 23rd and October 26th  
  • Among the state investments to assist Monroe County: 
    • $2,039,755 through GIVE, shared by the Rochester P.D. and DA, Sheriff and Probation in Monroe County; this is $250,000 more than last year (funding cycle runs from July 1, through June 30). 
    • Monroe County is home to one of the 10 Crime Analysis Centers supported by DCJS in partnership with local law enforcement and the Governor secured a $15 million, dedicated funding stream for these centers in the FY23 budget. In 2021 alone, these centers responded to more than 60,000 requests for assistance, providing critical support that helps law enforcement agencies deter, investigate and solve crimes. 
      • The Monroe Crime Analysis Center receives $1,050,043 and handled 16,405 requests for assistance in 2021. In addition to state-funded crime analysts, the following agencies assign staff to the Center: Rochester Police, Monroe County Sheriff, Monroe County Probation, New York State Police, New York State National Guard, and New York-New Jersey HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area). Staff will assist any law enforcement agency with Monroe County’s borders or beyond upon request.
    • The state allocated $2,757,688 to Monroe County for 2022-23 costs related to discovery. The county has not yet applied for this funding and did not apply for $2,735,532 available for 2021-22 discovery costs. 
    • The District Attorney’s Office receives $395,739 in aid to prosecution funding; the Probation Department, $1,764,972 in aid to probation funding; and $701,024 in aid to crime lab funding from the state. 
    • The state also currently provides $334,064 to support the Monroe County Re-Entry Task Force, one of 20 in the state that assist individuals returning to their communities after serving prison sentences to reduce recidivism and increase public safety. 
  • Governor Hochul recently announced $50 Million in public safety funding at 2022 Division of Criminal Justice Services Symposium 
    • $20 Million for New Technologies for Local Law Enforcement Agencies 
    • Additional $10 Million for up to 5,000 Body Cameras, Storage, Software, and Accompanying Equipment for Police Departments and Sheriffs’ Offices 
    • $20 Million in Pretrial Services Funding Distributed to Counties Outside of New York City to Promote Public Safety, which includes $1,365,615 to Monroe County. The county received that funding earlier this month. 

Additionally, Governor Hochul addressed Rochester and Monroe County along with other public safety investments during her remarks at the 2022 public safety symposium, relevant portions highlighted below. 

Governor Hochul: But what happened was they had a breakthrough, what had been institutional silos. And I know you all know what I’m talking about. It happens in all professions, but people get territorial. You have local, you have state, and you have the federal government. All of them are on the same page with the objective. But if they’re not willing to collaborate, share leads, work together on a prosecution or a big bust, and then ultimately share in the numbers because everyone’s judged by how many numbers, how many individuals they can account for, then we don’t have a system that’s working as finally healed as it should be. I have brought that message to cities across the state – New York City, Syracuse, Rochester. I’ve done convenings.  

The Marshals, the ATF, FBI, bringing them to work in concert, and knowing the power they have with even more stringent laws on illegal guns. Any gun that comes in a crime in the State of New York is very likely to have crossed a state line to get here, meaning that there is a federal nexus, meaning that it could be a federal crime, and there are minimum sentences for gun laws at the federal level. But if that system is working in concert with the local DAs and the local police officers, then you’re on the same page and focusing on a common objective, which is to eliminate crime in our cities and our streets and our suburbs, and our rural areas.  

So, that is what I’m hoping we can continue. I’ve been the convener and the person at the top saying, “Make this happen, it has to happen,” and we’re starting to see sleeves being rolled up and more work. And I know in other areas it’s already gone successfully, and I commend those of you who’ve already had that level of cooperation. But that’s what I’m going to continue pressing for. I’m that hands-on in wanting to see results and making sure that we leave no stone unturned. But we continue to deal with other issues related to recruitment. It’s hard, we’re going to be having more classes of State Police recruits. I’m going to be making sure that we have the opportunity. We also have to go out there and talk about the nobility. The nobility of this form of service to others where you’ve literally, as the Bible says, been willing to lay down your life for others. And I want people to understand the power behind that, and the decisions that are behind that, and how we have to respect that more than people have felt has been the case for a long, long time. So, that is why I’m going to continue focusing on that as well.  

And in my budget, my very first budget as Governor, had an opportunity to just put down the marker and say, “I will make this a priority, making sure that our police service has everything you need.” And we put $227 million, that is the largest investment in public safety in a generation. It was the right thing to do. And as part of that funding, today I’m here to announce another $30 million. $30 million to support local law enforcement and invest in new technologies. We always have to stay steps ahead of the criminals. This will help solve crimes as well as build trust between communities and their police departments. And I want to make sure that you have the best and the brightest. License plate readers, the body cams, the gunshot detection devices, fixed and mobile cameras, robotics, drones, whatever you need to help us with our hotspot policing, which is what really makes a difference when you think about it. It’s about being targeted.  

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