ROCTAC: Local program to identify threats slated for funding in 2023 County budget

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A local program intended to identify threats to schools, businesses and the community before they turn deadly, is slated to get a big bump in funding. We’ve told you about the “Rochester Threat Advisory Committee” or ROCTAC before. 

Many communities have looked at how ROCTAC is doing things, when building their own similar programs. 

That’s why there’s an additional $700,000 pending in the proposed budget to expand ROCTAC.

The money will increase the size of the sheriff’s tactical unit in hopes of identifying threats before they become a reality.  When ten people were killed in a racially motivated shooting at a Tops in Buffalo, law enforcement there looked for ways to try to get ahead of these kinds of threats.  And they didn’t have to look far. They modeled their threat assessment team after ROCTAC.

“We need to be prepared for that. We want to avoid those types of incidents from happening before they happen. That’s what this investment in ROCTAC will do,” Monroe County Executive, Adam Bello said.

Thirty agencies within Monroe County make up ROCTAC. They meet every two weeks to go through cases and tips about possible violence to see if police need to intervene. The proposed budget would expand the team on a larger scale.

“What it helps to fund, is first, it increases the size of the sheriff’s tactical unit. And then it also increases funding for the ROCTAC program, and to help address emerging problems and potential issues before they start,” Bello added.

Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter says it took years to strategize ROCTAC. He says statistics don’t lie, through the team, police have already been able to do exactly what the program is intended for; prevention.

“ROCTAC has grown so fast, right in front of us. It was a concept, about three years ago we were studying the potential of it and now we’re up to about 50 cases, that means we’ve helped 50 people. As we get all these cases, comes a lot of work, a lot of follow up and case management, so we would have the ability to do that also,” Baxter said.

ROCTAC has been in communication with teams in Syracuse, Buffalo, and Albany to set up something similar.