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Local agencies receive funding to fight gun violence

Local agencies receive funding to fight gun violence

The 2017 award is the max the county could receive under the Gun Involved Violence Elimination initiative formula
Local agencies receive funding to fight gun violence
DA Robert Carney and Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford appear at a news conference in March.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

SCHENECTADY - Schenectady County agencies received $800,000 in funding to fight gun crime, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced this week.

The funding is down slightly from last year's award, but still up from the two earlier years, officials said. 

The 2017 award is also the maximum the county could receive under the Gun Involved Violence Elimination initiative formulas, officials said.

Schenectady County is one of 12 in the state that received money to specifically target gun violence this year. The money focuses on areas where 83 percent of the violent crime outside New York City occurs.

The money funds a crime analyst and other efforts to focus police response, as well as two prosecutors and other programs that focus on gun violence.

Sharing the Schenectady County award is the Schenectady Police Department, $351,334; District Attorney's Office, $270,393; Sheriff's Office, $82,837; and Probation, $95,436.

The award is down just under $19,000 from last year, but still up about $7,000 from 2015 and about $78,000 from 2014's award.

The small drop forced some trimming, but Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford noted that the reduction is in part due to crime statistics.

"I guess we could say that we did a good enough job that we fell into a lower category," Clifford said. "That's all good news for us."

The department will continue to use the money to more focus their response using crime data and intelligence. 

They've been doing that for some time, but are continually looking at new ways and methods, Clifford said. 

The Schenectady County District Attorney's Office uses its funds to cover two prosecutors focusing on gun crimes and part of another prosecutor.

Those cases, Carney said, are "some of the most significant cases we have to deal with, people engaged in gun violence who should be separated from the community."

Albany and Rensselaer counties also received awards: $765,513 for Albany County agencies and $476,703 for Rensselaer County agencies.

The funding amounts to more than $13.3 million statewide.

"This administration continues to work tirelessly to combat gun violence in our communities and help prevent the needless tragedy that comes with it," Cuomo said in a statement. "The GIVE initiative provides law enforcement with resurces and training to bolster public safety, strengthen communities that are hardest hit by crime and create a stronger, safer New York for all."

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