Law Enforcement From Across WNY Attend Summit
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Police chiefs, Sheriffs, and District Attorneys joined federal officials for the second annual Law Enforcement Summit. They shared information and crime fighting trends and confronted problems that exist throughout much of the Western District of New York. It's an opportunity for agencies to learn from each other.
"What are the current threats that the different localities or counties or areas of these 17 counties are facing? Secondly, we try to discuss different strategies and techniques that have been used to address these sorts of problems that we are seeing," said William Hochul, U.S. Attorney.
It's also a chance to network with law enforcement leaders from other areas that an agency may not interact with on a regular basis. Police say that is key to preventing crime throughout the district.
"Being able to call down to Alleghany County and talk to the sheriff by name now because you meet him here, that collaboration that should put the bad guys on notice that we're all working together,” said Chief Todd Baxter of the Greece Police Department.
Since the first summit a year ago, various law enforcement agencies have worked together on a number of cases, including recent arrests for synthetic drug sales and sex trafficking.
Sex trafficking appears to be more of a problem in larger communities such as Rochester and Buffalo. There have been three cases this year resulting in a half dozen arrests in Monroe County.
Synthetic drugs, on the other hand, are common in both urban and rural areas. Smaller communities may need to reach out for help on issues like this because they lack the personnel.
"We're sandwiched in between larger counties,” said Joe Cardone, Orleans County District Attorney. “We have a lot of farming out in our area so we have a lot of transient crime as well and a lot of people coming into our county bringing these things in, so we have to work with our other jurisdictions and other law enforcement to be able to combat these problems."
State Police are also involved. Some perceive them only as a means of enforcing traffic laws on state highways. Many times, troopers are the lead law enforcement agency in rural communities.
"We partner with local law enforcement. In those areas that do not have local town or village police departments, we work in conjunction with the department. When I say we work in conjunction with, we are a primary law enforcement agency,” said Major Mark Koss, New York State Police.
After a day of sharing ideas, those attending the summit leave with collaborative solutions to the challenges all law enforcement agencies face, serving both large and small communities.