The Buffalo, N.Y., Police Department will get help from county, state and federal law enforcement agencies as it tries to end a rash of shootings, the Associated Press says. State troopers and Erie County Sheriff’s Department deputies will join Buffalo officers in a high-profile effort to round up drug dealers, confiscate illegal guns, and investigate violent crimes. “We always are working together … this is sort of a blitz,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Rocco Diina said.
Last month, police in nearby Niagara Falls enlisted state troopers and county officers to help cope with violence there. That city recorded an unusually high four homicides in July, bringing the total to seven since Jan. 1.
In Buffalo, there have been nearly 90 shootings since June 1, most of them on the city’s impoverished east side. Authorities blamed an increase in gang activity. As of Tuesday, the city had recorded 33 homicides since Jan. 1. Buffalo had 44 homicides in all of last year.
The Stop the Violence Task Force is similar to a five-week multi-agency effort undertaken in 2001 after Buffalo saw a record 19 killings in the month of May alone. Troopers are expected to take to the streets in about a week. The number of extra officers and how long they will remain in Buffalo have yet to be determined.