ALBANY, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Friday, March 24 a new initiative and funding to help police departments solve more non-fatal shootings and prevent gun violence in retribution.
The Utica Police Department and Oneida County District Attorney will receive almost $90,000 in state funding to improve investigations into gun violence. The funding will also support overtime for officers and equipment until June 30. These will continue through the state’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative starting on July 1. Police departments in Buffalo, Rochester, Schenectady, and Troy, along with their district attorney’s offices, will also receive a share of the announced funding.
Cities were picked for the funding based on need and data on shootings, as well as submission a written plan for implementation, which included meetings with stakeholders.
The city of Utica was also a part of a research project – which this current initiative stemmed from – in 2016. That project brought in a team from the state Department of Criminal Justice to implement practices that would ensure thorough investigations into non-violent shootings. In all, clearance rates for those shootings after implementation rose to 36 percent, according to findings from the John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety.
The next step for the departments that receive funding will be to review the research briefs from Utica and the city of Newburgh, in Orange County. They will also begin implementation of the practices outlined in the research project, which include collection of data on non-fatal shootings as well as assigning and tracking of cases to an on-call district attorney.