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Rochester, N.Y.- Rochester's mayor and police chief announced Tuesday, "Operation Cool Down," a public safety effort designed to curb violence during the summer months, is now underway.
"During my State of the City Address, I said that we need to pay attention to the potential for escalating violence during the summer and we are following through on that," said Mayor Tom Richards. "We have a three-point plan to address violence which includes engaging neighbors and youth and targeting gangs. The RPD is doing an excellent job interacting with our youth and targeting gangs and we will be putting into place a citizen based budgeting plan."
Last year, Mayor Richards created Operation Cool Down to enable Rochester Police to take a more proactive role in keeping neighborhoods and citizens safe during the summer.
This year's Cool Down effort will be directed towards known offenders, gangs and specific areas where increased incidences of gun violence have occurred. Cool Down details will consist of three components:
Place-based tactics in areas of high firearms violence will include:
-The use of rolling task forces, which are comprised of four to six police cars patrolling together in addition to multiple officer bike patrols; traffic safety and DWI checkpoints, focused community and residential outreach in person and by telephone, and house party details.
People-based (individuals & groups involved in firearms violence) tactics will include:
-Gang enforcement initiative (multi-agency), violent dispute intervention and Operation Impact patrols.
Community engagement tactics will include:
-Police -- community meetings in all 4 quadrants, increased use of hyper-reach reverse 911 system, community appeals to assist with guns and dispute intervention, promoting the use of 428-GUNS for tips, planning a gun buyback, and CrimeStoppers assistance.
The Mayor has provided $300,000 in additional funding to the Rochester Police Department from an anticipated surplus in the 2012-13 budget. Additional funding from the State's Project Impact will be sought to help pay for the operation.
"I think I speak for the community when I say enough is enough," said Chief James Sheppard. "We are going to step up our efforts to crack down on illegal guns and violence. We are not going to let our residents live in fear, nor will we let unruly gangs dictate where our citizens can go and what they can do to enjoy the amenities of our city."